I love to tell this story of how a quiet person like me can affect another quiet person.

About 25 years ago on my first day of work at IBM, my manager took me around to meet all my new co-workers. An older engineer walked quickly by us with his head down, and my manager said, “That’s George. Don’t worry about him; he never says hi to anyone.” Apparently, since he never said hi, everyone just ignored him.

But after that, every time I passed George in the hallway, I would say, “Hi, George.” Even though he never said anything back, I continued to say “Hi, George” every time I passed him in the hallway. After a while, maybe months later, George started saying hi back to me. A few months after that, he started talking to me about different things. Pretty soon, George was saying hi to other co-workers in the hallway. Then he started talking to everyone in our department. And my co-workers said it was all due to me.

I always taught my sons that you can’t force someone else to change—you can only change yourself. But sometimes when you change your own behavior, you can affect how someone else behaves.