Recognise This! – Irritating, exhausting situations can be made better by those around us who choose a good attitude. Find a way to thank those who make your day better.

A large part of my role as a consultant on strategic, social recognition is travel. And when travel is part of your work, you end up with travel horror stories. I had one myself earlier this week.

I was in Brussels leading a workshop on how to build a winning culture of recognition. My flight home to Dublin was scheduled to leave at 9:40pm for a planned 1 hour and 15 minutes…and then I landed the next day at 1:00pm! We’ve all been there with these Planes, Trains and Automobiles travel stories. Weather closed the Dublin airport, so redirected to Manchester, with bus transfers at 3:30 in the morning, a brief four hour rest in a …ahem… lovely hotel room, back to the airport, re-board, wait on the tarmac, etc.

I shared my travel travails with my team members because I had to cancel a scheduled meeting. As we commiserated together, sharing our own travel stories, one colleague suggested a recognition award for the worst travel story! While a funny idea, I think there may be merit in this.

Hear me out. One thing I notice every time I’m caught in a travel snafu is the camaraderie of many of the people caught in the same situation with me. Fellow stranded travelers – strangers one and all – tend to open up, club together, find ways to help each other. When I returned to the airport from the hotel, I noticed many folks greeting each other like long lost friends, though we’d only met the night before. It’s very much a sense of “we’re all just humans in this together.”

Think how our workplaces would be changed if we all behaved in this way towards each other more often, especially in stressful situations that just aren’t going our way.

Perhaps the award should be “Kindness Under Stress” or even “The Golden Rule Award.” After all, we choose our attitude, regardless of our circumstances. An exhausting, frustrating travel experience was made far more endurable (if not actually enjoyable) by the relaxed, friendly attitudes of those I happened to be lucky enough to have as impromptu travel companions.

Two questions for you today:

  1. What’s your worst travel story? Did anything – or anyone – help to make it better?
  2. If you could create a special recognition award, what would it be for?