The Ripple Effect of Rita

ripple

“Rather than focusing on how you can get more out of your people, consider helping them discover, grow and share all they have to offer.”— Misti Burmeister

Several years ago, Rita, an executive for DuPont, sat in one of my leadership workshops and tactfully argued with me about the cause of generational conflict. I don’t even remember exactly what we disagreed about, but I definitely remember how much I enjoyed that back and forth with her.

Our discussion was so lively that it spilled over into an hour-long conversation after the workshop ended, and sparked a lifelong friendship.

A few weeks ago, my partner, Yvette, and I headed down to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to visit and vacation with Rita, who’s now retired.

On our second evening with her, we ate at The Tale of the Whale, a restaurant with one of the most spectacular views, and delicious food.

Toward the end of our meal, Rita excused herself to use the restroom. When she sat back down, she noticed that her dinner companions were now a strange man, eating dinner with his lovely wife. “Oops,” she chuckled. “I must have sat down at the wrong table!”

Laughter ensued and Rita quickly made her way back to our table. Moments later the woman joined us at our table, nudged Rita over to make room for herself, and proceeded to laugh hysterically.  

She returned to her table after a few moments, and we all continued to laugh for the rest of our meal.

When the bill came, I heard Rita whisper something to our waitress, who was also their waitress. I wasn’t at all surprised to learn later that she had taken care of their bottle of wine.

Emulating Remarkable

I keep thinking about Rita’s generous nature, and I’m struck by the ripple effect of knowing her. As a result, I find myself wanting to emulate that level of generosity in my life.

It’s left me asking myself a few simple questions, like:

  • What behaviors do I encourage in others by the way I behave?
  • How can I gain that same great feeling afforded by Rita’s way of being?
  •  In what ways can I share my resources?
  • Am I generous? How do I know?
  • When am I stingy, and why?
  • How to I spend more time with people who inspire me the way Rita does?

Sure, Rita is retired from her leadership role at DuPont, but she’ll never be retired from her leadership role in life.

Rather than focusing on how you can get more out of your people, consider helping them discover, grow and share all they have to offer. What is your remarkable ripple?

Join The Conversation: What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned from those you admire? How do you pass that learning on?

Thanks to Dexter Britain and Gillycuddy for their music contribution and LN Lurie for producing this podcast.

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