A few days ago I had the pleasure of meeting a retired hand surgeon. I asked him what was most memorable about his medical career and without hesitation he said, “The children.” He went on to tell me how he had done hundreds of reconstructive hand surgeries over the years and how each time, he made it a point to give the child a stuffed bear dressed as a surgeon. He would tell the children that the little bear would be with them as he or she drifted off to sleep and would still be there when they awoke. The surgeon would tell the children that while they slept (or underwent the surgery) the bear would be there and would help him with the operation.
The surgeon chuckled as he recapped the story to me saying, “It was just a little thing. A little bear. But you’d think I had given them some big amazing gift.” He went on to say, “I heard dozens of stories for years about what those little bears meant to the children. One patient wrote me a letter 10 years after the surgery to say the bear meant so much to him that he even took him to college with him where he was studying pre-med.”
This story reminds me that gestures of kindness, compassion, and empathy make lasting memories. You don’t have to buy gifts or make elaborate gestures. Every day is full of opportunities to do something nice for someone else. It could be a warm blanket, a cup of coffee for a visitor, or just a gentle touch that makes a lasting impression. In our training, Power of One, we teach that everyone has the power to make a difference. We ask participants to plan their power moves—small changes that will make a difference to others. They leave the room excited by the challenge and ready to touch lives. Do you have a power move? What will you do today to make a difference?