Work like it’s everyone’s last week?

There’s that phrase that we hear quite a bit, and see on inspirational/cheesy memes, saying “Live life like it’s your last day”. This week was the last week of my job at NHS Digital. I’ve been there nearly four years and it’s been an amazing period of personal and professional growth, and I’ve had the privilege of working with some incredibly talented people. As I came home today on the train I was reflecting on some of the conversations I’ve had over the past few days.

Go with me on this one, because this is genuinely not an attempt to say how marvelous I am, cos those who know me well can attest that is not the case. However, let me explain. During the interactions and various good-byes I’ve had this week, many people were incredibly kind and generously said encouraging things about our time together, how I’d helped them or we’d how we’d worked to solve a common challenge. Some people said things to me I’d never heard or realised before and I was truly humbled. In turn, there were countless memories I was able to remind people of how they’d helped me, supported me in difficult times, made everyone laugh or inspired me to try something different. I suspect sadly that some of those positive things that I said were the first time I’d said it to some people. I’m pretty sure that in most cases, both parties came away from those conversations feeling 10ft tall.

I also noted that I didn’t sweat the small stuff or get cheesed off by the things that would normally mildly annoy me, I went around in this state of acknowledging how brilliant those around me were — seeking to see their strengths only.

As the train headed away from Leeds, it made me think about what it would be like if we operated in that spirit all the time? What if we approached every working week with the aim to seek out and acknowledge to someone’s face what they mean to us and how working with them brightens our day? What if in this spirit of seeking out what is good in others it was easy to set aside petty annoyances. What if we all worked as if every week was our last one at our organisations?

Something worth trying or am I just talking fanciful nonsense at the end of an emotional week?