Zig Ziglar shared this story a few decades ago,
“Growing up on a farm, I’d have to be up way before dawn and one of assignments was to milk the cows. The cows did not know that it was their job to let me get milk from them. My assignment was always tougher in the winters of the great state of Texas. The milk inside the cow, in my mind, was usually frozen. I hated the job and hated the cows.
Over time I realized the more frustrated I was at the job and the cows, the harder my job became. And, I am sure the cows also went out of their ways to make my life miserable too. Then I decided to change the way I looked at my job. I decided milk was good. It brought health and nutrition and income for the family. I began to look at the cows with kinder eyes. I even went out of my way to have a chat with the cows before I even touched them.
“Sally,” I’d say to the eldest of the cows, “you look good today! It seems like you had a good night’s rest.”
“And Martha,” I’d say to the youngest, “that smile on your face is gonna’ take you places, y’know!”
“You cows have no idea how much we enjoy and appreciate all that you do for us. If not for you guys, our breakfast tables would be dull and boring. Thank you. Really, thank you!”
He had no measure for it but Zig Ziglar was sure that on the days he appreciated the cows and thanked them for being who they were, he usually picked up a few extra quarts of milk.
People at work and, in life, aren’t any different. All of us need appreciation and grace from each other. All of us need to learn regard each with respect and kindness. When we look at each other, when we behold each other our eyes need to zero in on the potential and grace that lays hidden in each of us. Yes, it does!
The moment we seek, zero in and stay positive about that hidden potential our attitude and our outlook becomes the water and sunshine that unleashes that potential. When we change the way we look at people, the people we look at will change and grow into and fill the frame we perceive them through. This is powerful medicine. It is the truth and it costs nothing. Nothing at all! In fact, it is like oxygen to your own wellbeing and happiness.
On those cold, wintry mornings the cows, I hear, also returned the favor to Zig Ziglar with a “Thank you for a warm hand on a chilly morning.”