How quickly things change. It was only 3 years ago that I was spending Christmas totally by myself. My wife was working out of town and couldn't come home, my mother was sharing Christmas with others, and my grandmother had passed away months earlier. It was kind of a sad and lonely Christmas day, and yet not that much different than many other days I was having at the time.

Me and cup

Three years later and things are much different. I'll be spending Christmas Eve with my mother and much of Christmas day, then spending the rest with my wife and some of her friends for dinner. I had a wild ride of a year with all my travels and, as I was looking back at some things last night, I realized that I'd had lots of travels in 2013 also.

What a year I had. I had one client where I did a lot of work with for the year and that was special. I had another client I did a little bit of work for, that has decided not to pay me for the last bit of it; won't respond to letters or email... nada, zip. Not sure what I'm going to do with that but it doesn't negate the other.

I had a breakthrough and finally finished the major edit of my second book, which I have people reading right now. It's a compilation of my earliest newsletters on leadership and some of the early blog posts from here. Turns out I had to rewrite most of the early ones, some turning into two posts, which explains why it took so long to do. Still, it's done and I have some people reading it to make sure it's easy to understand.

And I met a lot of new people, almost all of them wonderful and grateful at the same time. I mean, last Christmas I was tipping almost everyone $20 for what some might consider mundane things, including fast food orders. Yeah, that probably wasn't the smartest thing to do, but I wanted to show gratitude in my own way for people being so nice and helping to make my life more enjoyable.

At the office, even though I was in a different type of consulting mode, I still bought cakes for both the office and people at the hotel, and it was smiles all around.

Whether you're in a leadership capacity, client yourself, friend or even a casual stranger, it never hurts to be nice to people, and when you have an opportunity to be even nicer, good things come to you in ways you'll never imagine. For instance, by tipping this one guy $20 at a small restaurant in the airport in Washington D.C., every once in a while over the year of 2014 he'd see me, wave me over, and give me a small tub of chocolate gelato absolutely free; isn't that nice?

Nice always goes a long way. I wish nothing but the best for everyone this holiday season, and I hope you give "nice" a try. You'll be amazed! 🙂