Take action now and do a good job because whether you realize it or not, there is always someone watching you. It reminds me of the words from a song from my childhood, “I always feel like somebody’s watching me. Can’t get no privacy.” Since this is the case, always do your best at whatever you do.
When my eldest daughter was three or four years old, she loved to pretend to answer the phone in her “mommy voice.” It was a cute little voice and she would say, “Hello and thank you for calling the law office of Janeane M. James, this is Euphoria Davis, may I ask who is calling.” She sounded so sweet and so cute as the words rolled off her tongue. She did an incredible job of imitating my words, tone and attitude. She was watching me, paying attention to how I handled things at my law office and creating behavior of her own. She was watching me. Even without planning to, even without working for it, I had taught her how to answer the phone. She knew to identify the company the caller had reached, to identify herself and to ask for the identity of the caller. More importantly, she learned to answer the phone on the first ring. Last summer she put all those skills she learned as a tiny, little girl into practice at her first real job and impressed her boss and the entire management team.
In millions of other ways, I knew I was a role model to my daughter. I modeled what a wife should be like, a mother, a friend, a Christian woman. In all those areas I sat down and took my job and responsibility as a role model seriously and worked to do a good job. It was interesting to me that the thing she copied first was my behavior as an attorney, as a woman in business. That was the one area where I was not trying to be a role model. In that area, I was not trying to set an example for her. Yet, that is the area of life where she imitated me first. Over the years, I have seen other young women watch me and imitate my behavior. For example, there is a crowd of girls my daughter went to school with who still walk to the pool with a towel wrapped around their waists because I told them when they were nine years old that they could not go to a swimming pool with their “junior juice” aka booties uncovered.
In business, I always made sure to speak to my clients in English rather than legalese or consultantese or bloggerese. By doing this, I showed them respect and all the people who worked in my office learned to speak to clients in regular English rather than trying to impress them with industry-specific jargon. By treating clients with respect, courtesy and allowing them to maintain their dignity even in difficult circumstances, I gave an example for my employees to follow without ever having to give the specific words. The young people who worked for me saw how to behave when they had clients of their own for whom they were responsible.
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