I’ve been thinking a lot about respect, trust, and value this week.  I bet, in your own way, you have too.  The wake of violence and tragedy leaves us with thoughts we weren’t considering the day before…Even deciding whether to write about my thoughts has been a struggle. I know I don’t have words eloquent or adequate enough to honor the victims, their loved ones, the first responders, the ORMC Level One Trauma Teams, and the countless others impacted and involved in the aftermath of such horror.  I decided to write, because these feelings and events are too important to ignore.

The heart ache started Friday night, as the news broke of the murder of Christina Grimmie. The fact she was shot to death, as she happily and graciously signed autographs for adoring fans, was hard to accept.  Friends who were at the concert shared that her final performance was beautiful, and her sweet heart and love for people was palpable.  It’s difficult to not get lost in the endless “why?”.

Then came Sunday morning.  We were having coffee with friends, peacefully enjoying the sound of waves lapping onto the shore, from the beach-front condo.  Our phones started ringing, as loved ones called to make sure our families were safe.  That’s how we learned of the unfathomable horror and loss at Pulse.

Profound sadness, fear, anger, confusion, compassion, and a need for action intertwine, as we grapple with horror and loss.  What do we do now?  What can we do now? This is where respect, trust, and value enter the picture for me.

I often talk with clients about our common needs to feel respected, trusted, and valued; how impactful it is when we honor these needs; and really, how easy it is to meet them.  The formula for accomplishing wide-spread respect, trust, and value is simple:

  • If you want to be respected, treat others with respect.
  • If you want to be trusted, be trustworthy.
  • If you want to be valued as a friend, colleague, professional, family member, human… value others.

On Sunday morning as we began processing the horrific news, we talked about how, with so many injured and killed, we were probably going to learn we had a personal connection to the tragedy. Sunday passed. No news surfaced about anyone we knew or even a friend of a friend.  Monday passed, and I began to believe I was going to be sparred any direct connection.

You know what comes next… Tuesday afternoon, when picking up mail at “my” UPS store, the notice was on the door. One of their beloved team members, Peter O. Gonzalez-Crus, had been killed in the attack at Pulse.  I stood starring at the note with tears welling up, as I’m sure many others did as well.

Peter – “Ommy” – was a bright light.  Every time I walked in the door, even if he was helping another customer, he greeted me with a big smile and enthusiastic “Hi Ms. Karen!”.  Peter never let me carry my packages to my car – and we get a lot of packages.  On the many walks to my car, we chatted about nothing important, just friendly banter. Before he walked away from my car though, he always flashed me that big smile, told me he hoped the rest of my day was great, and said he’d see me “tomorrow”. Tomorrow…

Peter was special. He made me feel special.  He embodied the practice of treating others with respect, trust, and value.  Every encounter with Peter made me smile.

As we carry on and the tragedies of the second weekend of June, 2016 get further away, I invite you to notice the people you encounter everyday. Please, follow Peter’s lead and make an effort to treat each of them with respect, give them reason to trust you, and look for what you may value in them.

Photo cred: Adrees Latif / Reuters, Holding sign reading: Orland Strong; More Love, Less Hate

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