We all know what a nightmare it can be to find the right Christmas gift. Here are some suggestions for ending the nightmare.
First, make sure you avoid the kind of mistake I usually make: I leave things to the last minute and then I’m desperate to find something suitable. So I rush out and end up making a dumb impulse decision to buy a gadget like the Vinturi Wine Aerator. You read the reviews and see that it builds on the fact that decanting a wine generally enhances it. The amount of time depends on the age of the quality of the wine. If the wine is no good to start with, aeration won’t help much. With an old wine, say, a 20 year old Bordeaux, the wine is at its best shortly after it is decanted. But if it is a younger wine, say, a 2005, then you might have to wait half an hour to an hour before the wine is at its best.
So, in today’s rushed world, you can save that half an hour by using the Vinturi Wine Aerator: you pour the wine through it into a glass and it speeds up breathing process by instantly aerating it. A fun item for parties and good for making conversation. But let’s face it: it’s a stupid useless gadget that the recipient will probably chuck out in a week after the novelty wears off. And worse, it sets you back $35.90
You could save twenty bucks if you aerated your wine the old fashioned way and decanted the wine into a shapely Bormioli Rocco Loto Wine Decanter (less than $15 on Amazon). Then you would also have the pleasure of spending the half-hour experiencing the “blossoming” of the wine in the glass, an experience that is beginning to verge on, if not attain, beauty.
Of course, in these difficult economic times, you might even have difficulty springing for $15. So then you begin to wonder: what can I give that is beautiful and free? An easy choice would be a bundle of my 25 most popular posts of all time. About a hundred pages of pretty good stuff, free, but perhaps not truly beautiful.
Or if you follow Dave Moran’s advice, and give The Leader's Guide to Radical Management to your boss, (“A great book to give to your manager” says Dave), you can also get an amazing array of free gifts (many hundreds of pages worth of stuff). Useful, but again perhaps not truly beautiful.
All these fall short of a gift that consists of gesture of genuine heart-stopping eloquence. You don’t want anything that’s slick or gadget-like or trendy. You want something truly beautiful.
Fundamentally, to achieve that, you have to think: what is giving all about? To me, the most beautiful gift in the world is to tell someone you love why you love them. Take them to coffee, invite them for a glass of wine, or make a phone call. If you’re old fashioned, you could pick up a pen and do something really cool: write them an elegantly penned letter! Don’t have time for that? Well, at least send them an email that speaks from the heart.
What is true in the personal sphere is equally true in the world of work: the biggest thrill is to get some recognition when you least expect it, particularly if you are working on something difficult, something worthwhile, something with obstacles, something where you are getting pushback or even ridicule, perhaps something with which the powers that be are not happy. You are struggling away, worried to death about all the problems you have and the imminent risks of disaster, when suddenly, out of the blue, someone you respect gives you some unexpected recognition. Varoom! The heavens open and the angels sing! Suddenly your heart is filled with new energy and optimism. Once again, you are ready to take on the forces of evil.
We all know leaders who are performing wonders, making the world a better place, inspiring those who work for them and delighting those for whom the work is being done. These people are the true heroes of the human race, and yet, so often they get little genuine recognition. You can do something truly beautiful and transform their world by giving them some unexpected recognition.
Again, you can take them to coffee, invite them for a glass of wine, make a phone call, or send a letter or an email. Or if you’d like to do it publicly, use the RecognizeALeader.com website and tell their story in a way that will encourage your leader to pay it forward and themselves recognize other leaders so that great leadership and management spreads throughout the world.
But however you do it, do it: give the most beautiful gift in the world: go out and tell someone you love why you love them!
See also in this series: