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Who are your ambassadors?

We often hear that politicians, celebrities and sporting figures like footballers are the ambassadors for our countries. And they may well be, but do you know what? They aren’t the main ambassadors.

So who is?

Everyone makes an impression on others. One person in the right – or wrong – place in a bad mood can ruin a day for everyone else. A grouchy ticket conductor can spread misery by not being nice and polite. A grumpy bus driver being unhelpful can ruin the day for hundreds of people before they even get to work. There’s a reason people say ‘misery loves company’.

Now just think if it’s your first time in a country and a train conductor or bus driver is unhelpful. And then you get to your hotel and they are unhelpful (for example: wanting something to eat 5 minutes after breakfast/lunch is no longer served). Shop staff saying “that’s sold out” without checking to see if there’s somewhere else you can get it. You aren’t going to be impressed at all.

The truth is this: it’s the people in the public’s frontline that are a country’s best or worst ambassadors – taxi drivers, bus drivers, ticket conductors, shop staff, police, parking wardens, the public.

You and me.

And it doesn’t just apply to visitors to a new country. We’re all visitors somewhere – a new office, a new building, a new shop, a new relationship. Equally, we’re all indigenous to somewhere – but we should remember others won’t be, so we should help them out and treat them like we’d like to be treated.

So think about that the next time you moan about rotten service from someone else. Are you always on your top game, helping others, going the extra mile? Every action you do reflects on you as an ambassador for your work, your family, your culture, your country, you.

There’s no better ambassador for you, everything you are and everything you represent than yourself.

(Partly inspired by this post by Kevin Gilmartin)

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