If you’ve seen Jaap live, you will undoubtedly be familiar with the concept of the “Carlos Moment”. These moments are a running theme in his life and his work. But what are they exactly, those Carlos Moments?
The concept of the Carlos Moment is named after the Portuguese nurse who made a big difference for Jaap when he ended up in hospital after his diving accident. By doing something that was completely normal for him, but that added enormous value for Jaap. Jaap was lying there in an unfamiliar country, in an unfamiliar bed, in an unfamiliar body. The only thing he could still feel was panic. But they were used that there, diving accidents are a common occurrence in that part of Portugal. As long as he kept shouting, someone would come to check the monitors, only to then turn around and leave the room again. Standard procedure. Until one night nurse Carlos entered the room, when Jaap was having another one of his panic attacks. Carlos did read the situation well, walked over to Jaap, put his hand on his shoulder – where Jaap hadn’t lost feeling – and said, “It’s okay.” He saw Jaap and not just another diving accident victim. It made all the difference for Jaap. “Simply” by truly putting himself in Jaap’s shoes, Carlos gave Jaap that small push he needed to realize that he was still alive.
Jaap believes that there is a Carlos in all of us and that we can all make a difference in our own way. The thing is that you often don’t even realize you’re doing it, because you’re “just doing your job.” But those Carlos Moments – big and little wins – deserve to be highlighted and celebrated. If you do that, you will see how they can make your job, and your life, even more fun. So, the next time you’re in a team meeting at work, in the company cafeteria, or standing by the coffee machine, look at what’s going well. Did you see how a co-worker just made a difference for someone? Did anyone maybe make a difference for you? Make sure everyone knows about it. And when someone pays you a compliment, don’t play it down, enjoy it. You deserve it! And remember, it doesn’t have to be something grand!