I love to read. And other than movies it’s where a lot of insights come to me. As I was reading this morning there was a sentence in my book “ I realized that Southern hospitality not only came from the heart but was a practiced art that had been passed down from one generation to the next - like fine silverware or china.“ “Southerners had a way of doing things that made you feel special…”
As a transplant to Charleston, I remember my first taste of that when a clerk in a store said as I was leaving, “Have a blessed day.” I could feel that it was sincerely meant and it melted my northern heart. I will never forget that. I have had so many examples of that. One day I was having a pretty bad day and I was in a store. When a clerk came up to me I was short with her. I realized what I had done and went to find her to apologize. As I was doing that I explained that it came out of the bad day I was having even though that did not excuse my behavior. Right there, this older woman, who obviously had some physical disabilities stopped everything and asked me what was wrong. I was so touched. Here she was probably in physical pain, older and not in a very ennobling job willing to listen to a woman who had spoken harshly to her.
I was so deeply touched. I went out to buy her a treat and found a beautiful cheesecake. When I returned with it she had gone. I only hope that she knew how she had changed me. Her generosity of spirit touched me deeply. That is another memory I cherish.
This has been my experience ever since coming to Charleston. Where I come from up north people who have been gently raised have good manners and those who are less fortunate do not. And, sometimes even those gently raised are only superficially kind. It often comes from what is considered “good manners” rather than from the heart.
I have heard a few Charlestonians say they worry that the influx of Yankees will change Charleston. But I want to let all of them know that the culture of kindness, graciousness and hospitality that is Charleston is so deeply engraved in its very foundation that will never happen. What does happen, and you can see it all around you, is that Charleston has softened our Yankee edges. It has slowed us down. It has made us appreciate life more. It has changed us in the best of all possible ways.
Us Yankees have brought entrepreneurship, in large part, and a new energy to Charleston. But Charleston has changed all of us. And we are so much better for it. Bless Charleston’s southern heart. (In a good way!)
Now let’s bring that same graciousness into our businesses. It’s amazing how much ore gets accomplished with kindness and consideration.
Let your heart shine through even in business. It's a world changer.
My best to you,