A handwritten note.
A really detailed review.
The well-timed boost of encouragement.
The coincidence that signaled the universe was on your side.
The main character has a pivotal moment in every great story (remember books?). It's that moment of transformation when things are suddenly no longer the same.
But it's not just the movies. These same things also happen to us in our personal and professional lives.
Looking back at past successful and unsuccessful projects, you can clearly see the critical moment, meeting, or decision that determined the course of events.
If you're feeling brave, take a look back at some of your relationships. What turned a friend into an enemy? A conversation into a relationship? A challenge to a new perspective on the world?
There are many such moments, but only one that had the most significance.
Gambling on Moments
Knowing what we know about the past, what can we do on a go-forward basis to change the future of things that are important?
I believe we can strategically over-invest in ordinary moments to change the future trajectory of relationships, or work, of life in general.
This approach doesn't mean treating every task with the same intensity -- after all, then the intensity would be normalized (or, in the case of a relationship, really awkward).
Instead, learning to recognize and capitalize on key moments has the potential for exponential impact.
Small Actions, Big Impacts
Responding to Customer Feedback: A personalized, thoughtful response to a customer query can transform a casual user into a loyal advocate.
Following Up: Instead of just saying thanks, share some of the other great ideas that came to mind, add more content, provide links, or just be authentically grateful. We all have too many meetings, so win the follow-up game.
Networking Opportunities: Sometimes, a casual conversation at a networking event, if nurtured with genuine interest, can lead to significant collaborations.
Social Media: A well-crafted, timely response or DM can build a relationship, land a job, or massively grow your audience.
The Shout Out: Recognizing someone else's effort -- privately or publicly -- can turn colleagues into allies and just make someone's day.
Expectations, also happen to us in our personal and professional lives, and Execution
Critically, we can't be looking at these individual moments as... ...being intentionally massive. You have to do the work without expecting anything in return. It needs to be a surprise and a gift. Something that you give with zero strings attached. People can tell when it's not.
The timing also matters. For me, it's that internal energy or buzz that I have about a moment, a person, or a meeting.
This can't be manufactured. You simply can't make yourself fired up about something. But if you are, you should act on it.
And execution really matters. Bringing someone some soup on a cold winter day when they're not feeling well is a very nice gesture. Also, bringing a box of chocolates, a bouquet of flowers, and your favorite book is...not the way.
I wish I had a direct answer for you, but this is going to be the magic that you need to bring to this moment.
You'll learn over time.
The key? Don't wait to start betting on the power of small moments.