For those of you keeping track there was no post for Day 8. I took the day off to rest because I was tired. I hope each of you took the day off, rested, and are ready for the upcoming week. Taking a day off, a day to yourself is important. This rest is not only important during this collective challenge, but important in our lives to maintain ongoing balance between our work and our life.
Recently at work, a few people from another department were heading to lunch together and saw me in the parking lot. They shouted out to me.
“What is the deal with that SKOOK sticker on your back window? We noticed some members of your team have it too.”
“It is a long story, come and find me later.”
They found me later that day.
It all started a few years ago. My team and I spend a lot of time in the car driving all around New Hampshire. Just north of Franconia Notch there is a road sign. It reads: Skookumchuck Brook. To give you some perspective it is just under 100 miles from my house.
Over the years it became a ritual when you passed that sign to stop, snap a photo, send a message, or call the team and yell “SKOOK!” SKOOK was our way of saying, “hey, I am 100 miles from home, but working hard, finding opportunities, and most likely putting in extra hours to make this happen.”
Everyone who received the message would chime in with encouragement and sometimes a little taunting, and it became a little club, or almost a subculture. We would notice the times of these messages: 6:00 AM meant someone was on the road around 4:00 AM, 6:00 PM meant that someone still had a few hours until they were home again.
Striving to be a SKOOK on the team meant you thought about each day, how to make a difference, and how to maximize the opportunities right in front of you. Being a SKOOK required a little more effort, a little more dedication, but the reward of knowing that each of us was giving their all to a cause larger than ourselves made it worth it.
After about a few years of this, I was searching the web and found a website that sells SKOOK stickers. Apparently Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania (the Coal Region) has a nickname: SKOOK. And they sell merchandise! And from that moment forward we have stickers on our cars.
There is another week before us. We have a choice. We can let the time pass by like any ordinary week, or we can try to be a SKOOK. We can make the choice to see each day, each hour as an opportunity to make things happen. An opportunity to make a difference. Let’s get out there and earn our stickers!