I met with someone recently. She is a senior member of the judiciary in Malaysia and I was first introduced to her ten years ago when I first started work as a trainer in LexisNexis. She was an officer in the Attorney General's Chambers and I was a fresh graduate with a brand new LL.B who thought Lexis.com was one of the coolest things on earth.
At a time when online legal research was considered new technology and unfamiliar to many, this person was determined to master the art of online research. We both embarked on a tentative journey; me - the fresh faced young teacher who was in awe of her student and her - the wise student who knew she would reap the benefits of her lessons. She would call me when she was baffled by something and I would agree with excitement when she invited me to lunch after our lessons.
The years passed and I undertook other roles within the company. We kept in touch as she moved to other posts within the civil service. After many years, we met again. It was a wonderful reunion and we began to catch up on what we had done since our last encounter. After I had updated her on my life, she quietly listed every move and every post she had been assigned, leading up to her current post. She took pains to explain how she incorporated research, both international and cross-jurisdictional into her work and how she in turn successfully pushed for change and improvement in the way legal research was conducted in the various institutions she was working in.
I listened intently, perfectly happy learning how her life had turned out and was simply glad she was willing to share it with me. At the end of her story, she paused, looked me right in the eyes and said "Gaythri, do you see what difference you have made in my life? I would not have been inspired to do all this if it had not been for you, patiently guiding me along when I needed it."
It was the most wonderfully shocking statement anyone has ever made to me. Perhaps because it was so unexpected or maybe because it was coming from someone whom I respect and admire immensely. It choked me up (still does) and all I could say was a sincere "Thank You". I touched her life in the tiniest manner ten years ago and what I thought was a day at work turned out to have a life-changing effect on someone.
It renewed my determination to have passion for my work and in all that I do. It is never routine and it is never fleeting, the imprint you leave on others - so long as you care and give your best to it.