Katja Boytler

This morning when starting my computer, the desktop paper read, “Because people matter”. It made me think who matters to me? And, who do I matter to? I thought about how it has become important to me to matter in my adult life. Perhaps it was because I was bullied as a child and teen during the school years? But what does – to matter – actually mean?

matter verb [ I ] – To be of importance

I would think to be of importance matters to all people. To feel we matter. Being in higher education at INSEAD, we have a unique opportunity, and I would even go as far as to say responsibility, towards one another, the participants and the wider community, to make sure we contribute to the feeling of mattering. So how can this be done? A wonderful woman – Maya Angelou, an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist said the following;  

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  

When delivering the Careers Core sessions for the MBA class of 19J, I introduced Poll Everywhere. I let students ask questions live in the amphi. Some of them told me that they loved the opportunity to have a voice as they did not feel comfortable speaking up in class. Without knowing it, I had let them feel they were of importance. Their opinions mattered. Today I received a message on LinkedIn which read;  

“I recently moved to Asia. I was offered the Head of Logistics position in one of the tech companies in the region and I took it. Just wanted to thank you for your tremendous support during the tough months at INSEAD. I wouldn’t have been able to make it if it weren’t for positive people like you around me.

You were right on multiple counts: 1. At the end it all works out - everyone gets a job. 2. INSEAD alumni are the greatest resource for finding jobs compared to any other job portal. I got my job through an alum who connected to me another alum and that person is now my boss. 3. Positions are created for you. The position I currently work for was created a few weeks ago and I was the first and last person to interview for that position. I just thought you should know this. Thanks again and keep doing what you are doing. Do let me know if I can do anything in a way it pay it forward.”

What hit me was the importance of support during tough months at INSEAD and positive people. He writes about how I made him feel.

I firmly believe that we can choose our attitudes. We can choose to put people first and remember that they matter, they are of importance. It comes back to you tenfold as the message above shows. I have been positive and kind to many others without receiving messages in return, but the occasional ones, are enough to remember that I do matter. Luckily, I learnt that I do matter growing up and that I was of importance, thanks to a loving mum, who never let me have a shred of doubt on that account.

Next time you talk to students, colleagues, family and friends think about your attitude, your words and your listening. Do you show them they matter? That they are of importance?