When Memory Fails: The Response That Surprised Me

When Memory Fails: The Response That Surprised Me

This week’s inspiration comes from another new friend – even though I couldn’t remember her name. In fact, that’s where the inspiration comes from!

I knew I had met her several times, but for the life of me I could not remember her name when I saw her last weekend. She approached me and told me that she was reading my book and was planning to attend my upcoming talk.

I winced as I looked at her smiling face, embarrassed I couldn’t remember her name. I took a deep breath, returned her smile as brightly as I could, and asked, “Would you remind me of your name?”

“Jean,” she said as kindness deepened her smile. “It’s Jean.”

“I’m so sorry. I’m not very good with names.”

“Oh, don’t apologize. I consider it an honor when someone asks my name.”

“Really? An honor?”

“Of course. You want to know my name. It’s an honor.”

“Oh my,” I chuckled. “Well, you may be honored again a few more times in the future! I’m really terrible with names.”

She laughed, a gentle laugh. One that said very clearly that indeed she would be honored.

Unlike my father and my hostess-with-the-mostest mother who seemed to remember names so easily, I struggle. I try. Really try. I write them down. Try to associate each one with specific details. Even review my name list before I go to an event.

And yet, I still fail.

But Jean inspired me. As I wheeled away from this lovely woman, it occurred to me that I’d experienced a shift in my thinking. I always felt it was awkward to ask someone to repeat their name, especially when I thought I should remember it. I thought they would somehow think less of me for not remembering.

But Jean’s response gave me a new idea. Instead of embarrassment, what if I approached it as extending an honor? What a difference that would make in my habits, my attitude, and even my view of failure.

After all, my intent is sincere. Names are important; I know that. It’s just hard to admit it’s a struggle for me.

Maybe this shift in perspective will give me the confidence to wince less and ask more. Hopefully, everyone will feel honored in the process.

How about you? Do you remember names easily? Have any tips to share? Tell me about it. I’d love to know.

My best – always,

Becky  (Neehah! Note the new name!)

P.S. The WOW program below is postponed until next Wednesday 1/24/18 due to weather. Hope to see you there!

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