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Respect: The Universal Currency

Updated: May 14

Respect unlocks the doors to stronger relationships, develops a collaborative spirit that fuels innovation, and paves the way for success on both a personal and professional level.


Forget the towering skyscrapers or the Michelin-starred restaurants. The most unexpected takeaway from my recent business trip to Singapore wasn't found in the heart of the city's bustling commerce. It wasn't on a spreadsheet or scribbled on a whiteboard. Instead, it emerged from two human interactions, as different from each other as the island nation's colonial architecture is from its futuristic gardens. These encounters reminded me of a fundamental value I hold dear: respect.

The Power of Respectful Connection

The first encounter was a masterclass in respectful interaction.


The gentleman I met exuded a quiet confidence, his handshake firm yet gentle, and his words thoughtful and considerate. We discovered a surprising number of shared values, leading to a conversation that flowed effortlessly.


He listened intently, acknowledged my contributions with genuine respect, and I did the same. I mirrored his active listening, offered thoughtful questions that built upon his points, and acknowledged his expertise in his field.


This mutual respect created a truly collaborative environment, encouraging a stimulating exchange of ideas. It was a powerful reminder of the positive impact respect can have on any interaction, leaving me feeling energised and inspired.

Beyond Accomplishments: The Importance of Mutual Respect

The second meeting, however, was a masterclass in what not to do.


This lady, undeniably accomplished based on her resume, carried herself with an aloofness that felt dismissive. Her tone was sharp, laced with barbs that seemed designed to belittle rather than build bridges. She interrupted others mid-sentence, and punctuated her points with condescending laughter.


It wasn't just me who noticed. Throughout the meeting, I saw others exchange uncomfortable glances, their body language mirroring my own – stiff and withdrawn. By the end, it was clear many were looking at her, not in admiration, but with a mix of pity and amusement.


Witnessing how her disrespect overshadowed her accomplishments solidified my belief that mutual respect is essential for any positive interaction.

Respect: The Cornerstone of Everything

These encounters solidified my belief that respect is the cornerstone of everything. It's the foundation for building trust and collaboration, and creating a positive environment.


Respect flourishes when it's mutual. Just as I strive to treat everyone with dignity and courtesy, regardless of their background or position, I value receiving the same respect in return. It's a two-way exchange that creates a ripple effect.


When we show respect, we acknowledge the inherent worth of the person in front of us. This simple act encourages them to treat us with respect as well. It promotes a sense of mutual understanding and appreciation, leading to more productive interactions and stronger relationships.

Respect Breeds Class

This is where the concept of "class" comes in. The definition of "class" can be subjective, and others may emphasise different qualities. But for me, being classy is about embodying respect. It's about conducting yourself with grace and consideration, acknowledging the dignity of others while remaining true to yourself. It's about leaving a positive impression, not through boastfulness, but through genuine and respectful interaction.

Respect: The Currency of Everyday Life

The lessons of respect translate beautifully into both our personal and professional lives.

In our personal lives, showing respect ensures deeper connections. It allows loved ones to feel valued, appreciated, and heard. Imagine the difference a simple "please" and "thank you" can make! These small gestures acknowledge the effort and consideration behind everyday actions, strengthening bonds and nurturing a more positive and harmonious environment for everyone. Respectful communication, where we actively listen and consider different perspectives, builds empathy and understanding. With respect as the foundation, we can turn disagreements into opportunities for growth, and celebrate each other's victories with genuine joy. This builds a truly supportive and enriching space where everyone thrives.

Professionally, demonstrating respect through thoughtful communication and considerate conduct elevates your personal brand in a significant way. It shows colleagues, clients, and superiors that you value them and their contributions. This builds trust, a cornerstone of any successful collaboration. When colleagues feel respected, they are more likely to share ideas freely, leading to innovative solutions and improved outcomes. Respectful communication also creates a more positive work environment, boosting morale and productivity. In client interactions, demonstrating respect through attentiveness and genuine interest builds trust and loyalty, making a lasting positive impression that can lead to long-term success. Respect is more than just courtesy, it’s a strategic investment in a thriving professional life.

The Takeaway

Class and respect have nothing to do with luxury cars or fancy suits. They're a reflection of our core values and how we choose to interact with the world.

Respect, like a flame, grows brighter when shared. When we prioritise it, we ignite a ripple effect of positivity and enrichment that transforms every aspect of our lives.


This business trip, while focused on the usual hustle of deals and contracts, yielded an unexpected dividend far more valuable: a profound reminder of the importance of respect in one’s life. Personally, respect has always been the universal currency of connection. It unlocks the doors to stronger relationships, develops a collaborative spirit that fuels innovation, and paves the way for success on both a personal and professional level.


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