18 Jun 2015

The Power of a Smile :)

By Samir Makarem –

As Sami was getting ready to depart to one of the countries in the region for a training assignment, he posted a status on his Facebook page saying: “On the way to Kuwait for a training assignment”.  Within few minutes, he gets a message from a previous colleague, Jad, letting him know that he too, will be heading to Kuwait for some other project as well. So, Sami and Jad exchanged messages and agreed to meet up once in Kuwait, for a get together.

Once there, the plan was to meet up at one particular coffee shop.  To Sami’s surprise, he found out that another previous colleague, Randa, is to join them as well, as she also happened to be in Kuwait.  And so, the rendez-vous takes place.

After going through the usual chit chat, Jad pulls out his phone and asks one of the waiters to take a photo of them 3 together.  Within seconds, the photo is posted on Jad’s facebook page, with Sami being tagged of course.  ‘Likes’  and comments stared pouring in from friends and family members, in addition to current and previous colleagues as well.

Weeks go by, projects completed, everybody back to their bases, and life goes on….until one day, Sami receives an email from someone by the name of Jane. In her email, Jane introduces herself of course, reminds Sami of being a previous colleague, and goes straight into discussing an opportunity to work together again on an upcoming assignment in the region.  what was really intriguing in that email, is when Jane mentioned to Sami that she had only remembered about contacting him once she saw that photo on Jad’s Facebook page, when Jad, Sami, and Randa met at that coffee shop back in Kuwait. Wow, a job opportunity thanks to Facebook???

Story fast forward, that project turns out to be one of the most interesting and most rewarding projects Sami had ever worked on.  Although it was not directly related to his field of work, the project was so fascinating, he never even thought that something like that even existed in this world.  The experience and knowledge Sami gained during those 2 weeks were just indescribable.  Long hours of work were way beyond the norm, but Sami enjoyed each and every minute of it.  the people involved were just superb and the mission of that project was one of the most noble he’d ever been exposed to.

All throughout those 2 weeks though, Sami never got to see Jane, as she stayed in the UK working on her part of the project from back home.  However, all along, he kept on wondering why would Jane consider him for such a project.

The day before the very last, Jane flew in from the UK to take part in one of the last workshops in the project. During breakfast, Sami finally popped the question and asked Jane what made her think of him to take part in such a project, and why would she think that he would be a good candidate for such a role.  Jane’s answer struck him by surprise when she said: “Sami, I still remember, when we worked on that massive project 4 years ago, how you were always able to keep a smile on your face for all that time, and through all the s**t we went through, working with such a tough and demanding client.”  And then she goes on and says: “When I saw your photo on facebook, I truly believed that If there’s anyone who can help us facilitate such workshops, it would surely be Sami”.  Obviously, Sami was so flattered, but he couldn’t believe that she would remember all that in him, 4 years later!

Once the project was all over with, Sami and I got together one day and he shared that wonderful story with me.  As he was proudly going on and on with his story, I was not surprised at all that he would be picked for such a role, as I was able to relate his personality to a very simple concept on “Personal Success”.  That concept is called “KSA”.

“KSA” simply stands for Knowledge, Skills, and Attitude!  And, although it is imperative to be knowledgeable and skillful in your line of work, Success’ main secret ingredient is to have that right attitude.  And that’s exactly what landed Sami such an opportunity!

In my view, Knowledge is easily attained to the most part.  All we have to do is open a book on whatever topic we need to learn about, read about it, research it, and get to master it.  The information is out there at our fingertips.  So, it’s quite easy to become knowledgeable about anything you might think of.

Skills fall in the same category as well.  To be skillful at something, all we need to do is go through the techniques, some training, practice, practice and practice…and voilà. With time, we have the tendency to become experts at certain skills if we practice enough to apply those skills properly.  Just look at all those trained animals out there doing all kinds of tricks.

Attitude, on the other hand, is a different story.  Attitude is not something we can learn and apply overnight.  Positive attitude needs a completely different mindset.  Attitude is a life time journey.  Attitude is a mixture of feelings, beliefs, behaviors, reflections, how we perceive things, how we interpret things, how we accept other opinions, how we react and respond to things beyond our control,  listening versus hearing, accepting other peoples’ opinions or not, how we deal with others, how we carry ourselves, and the list can go on and on.  Imagine putting all those into a juicer and mixing it up to come out with some juice.  That juice is attitude.  It can be sour or it can be sweet. It can be negative or it can be positive.  In Sami’s case, that positive attitude he had always adopted was reflected by his genuine smile he kept on his face and of course all those memories and feelings he left in peoples’ minds.

This only reminds me of a quote by Zig Ziglar: “It’s your attitude, not your aptitude, that will determine your altitude.”

Samir Roger Makarem,

J&R Business Consultancy