Thank You

The phone rang.

It was a long-standing client.

I was quick to answer the call. I assumed they needed something right away.

They only said two words.

“Thank you.”

I was not sure how to respond besides “you’re welcome” so I also asked if they needed anything.

Nope. We just wanted to say “thank you” for our call a few weeks ago. We were a little stuck and needed some direction and talking it through really helped. We also realized that we typically call when we need something but don’t really ever call afterwards, but it seemed important to say “thank you.”

After that call I felt more inspired. More energized.

They didn’t have to make that call, but they did. They didn’t have to say “thank you”, but they did. And it made an impact. My work felt more meaningful, more important.

Where can we make those calls, and use those words? Who is helping, guiding, or assisting us in our journey? Who needs to hear from us?

Try it out today, make at least one call. Be grateful, say “thank you” and imagine the impact we can make.

Gift Appreciation Mode

Comparison.

Comparison is a thing I do.

Comparison happens when I interact with you and cannot help but observe how smart, funny, insightful, amazing, determined, gifted, and completely awesome you are, and then measure this against myself and find a deficit.

This comparison deficit transforms itself into insecurity.

This insecurity finds ways to interfere with other aspects of life, including my relationship with you.

But during a recent conversation with a friend, I discovered a better option.

What if I just started to look at your smart, insightful, amazing, determined, and completely awesomeness as a gift?

A gift that you have to bring into the world and make it a better place.

What if I just spent the next few weeks or months in Gift Appreciation Mode?

Would Gift Appreciation Mode help rewire how my brain works?

Gift Appreciation Mode would allow me to just watch your smart, insightful, amazing, determined, and completely awesomeness, and instead of comparing or judging, I would just sit and appreciate it, like a fine work of art.

Gift Appreciation Mode could act like a ticket to the best museum of awesomeness around me, and all I have to do is walk around, view the exhibits, and appreciate those gifts for the beauty they bring into the world.

Comparison is harmful.

Gift Appreciation Mode brings healing.

Comparison excludes and separates.

Gift Appreciation Mode opens and connects.

I hope the Gift Appreciation Mode museum of awesomeness has a gift shop at the end, or at least one of those cool audio tours. I wonder who we could get to do the voice…

Mourning the loss of who you thought you would be

cemetery 8

(Image Courtesy of the Great Robin Lake)

We start out in life thinking we are going to be a certain thing.

We make plans. We make choices. We move in a direction. We become invested in who we are going to be.

Sometimes dreams don’t work out. Plans change. Choices are made. Sometimes we fail. Maybe we succeed at different things. Our journey took us in interesting directions, and the people we met and experiences we had created forks in the road. We took some of those forks.

We are “here” today, right where we ended up. Not to say that “here” is a bad place.

In some ways “here” is better than we expected, in other ways maybe not as good.

However, there was a lot of us in the original plan. It was part of our story. Part of our narrative about who we were, and how we described ourselves.

And if, as I recently realized about my own original plan, it was wrapped up in a healthy (or unhealthy) dose of ego and pride, part of it remains with us years or decades later.

A few recent events triggered some interesting emotions surrounding an old plan. What I thought was long gone, had just been lying dormant. The freshness of the ego and pride associated with these events caught me a little off guard.

But I had to ask,

“Why are these emotions still here years later?”

“These plans, or goals are long dead, how did they return?”

It was in asking the questions that the answer came into focus.

Long dead.

What do we do when someone or something dies? We mourn.

Mourn:to feel regret or sadness about (the loss or disappearance of something).

When we don’t mourn, losses remain.

Even when we move forward, un-mourned losses lay dormant.

I never took the time to mourn the loss of who I thought I would be. Life moved forward, the plans changed. Life turned out better than the original plan.

But the un-mourned losses remained.

Where has your life taken you? Where have your plans changed, and your dreams shifted?

Where should you be mourning the loss of who you thought you would be?

Mourn. And may mourning help you move forward in your journey.

Celebrate Events

Flags in DC

(Image Courtesy of My Daughter, and the Washington Monument)

A few years ago I wrote about lessons I learned from my mom.

They were simple lessons:

Be Tough. Work Hard. Celebrate Events.

Last week, I was able to share these lessons with the crowd of family and friends that gathered for her memorial service.

More than just the words, or the lessons. We decided to put one of her lessons into practice: Celebrate Events.

We decided to make this 3,138 mile journey memorable and celebrated events along the way.

Car Trouble.

Mountain views.

Hershey Park.

Fast Rides.

Park food.

Visits with great friends.

Sushi. (Arguably the best I have had.)

Long days in the car.

Audio books.

Car Dancing.

Hotel pools.

Traffic.

Food. Food. Food.

Hugs from those who are close.

Tears, memories, and more hugs.

Connection with those you love.

Ocean.

More driving.

Sea World.

Cousins!

More rides.

Florida rain.

A round of frozen drinks to toast the one we lost.

Driving still.

The meal at the Bull.

Washington D.C.

Gluten Free Grilled Cheese!!!

Memorials that move you.

Remembering great people and great events.

Walking. Walking. Walking.

Museum.

More road time.

TRAFFIC.

Family.

Driving still.

Home.

Despite the loss, despite the sadness, we celebrated.

Great new memories.

New stories.

Mom, we will miss you.

Thanks again for the lessons.

 

Savoring the Quirks

IMG_1128 IMG_1129

Everyone has quirks.

Some quirks are endearing.

Some quirks are irritating.

Why don’t they replace that roll?

Why do they wait until the recycling is overflowing?

Why do they always bring up that thing when you visit?

Why do they [insert our issue, pet peeve, history, expectation, or offense] here?

Recently we have experienced some loss.

Recently those around us have experienced some loss.

Recently we got news that more loss is coming.

Loss causes a shift in perspective.

What was once irritation now causes comfort.

An empty roll means they are still here. Maybe just a few moments ago.

Messy toys on a table, way too many wet shoes piled in a heap by the back door, fingernail polish on the coffee table, the piercing pain when you step on a LEGO, the fuel gauge left on empty, piles of unopened mail, the strange pile of receipts by the phone, clutter on the stairs, jackets on the backs of chairs, modeling clay in the carpet, gum in the driveway, mystery stains on the kitchen floor, the overflowing hamper, the heap of clothes by the shower, whatever gets stuck in the drain, loud voices downstairs in the morning, slurping noises while drinking, loud crunchy chewing, and the list goes on, and on, and on.

Today you have all these things. Someday they will cease.

Instead of irritation. Choose savoring the quirks.

Maybe these quirks can be reminders of what you have.

 

Thanks for the Delay

flight-rights_1910974b

(Image Courtesy of http://www.telegraph.co.uk)

A solitary airport employee stood behind the small podium looking back and forth between the screen, and their own hands. As I approached, their gaze looked down towards the floor. Any attempt at eye contact seemed impossible.

A few minutes earlier, as most of us prepared to board the flight, the announcement was made. Due to delays for an inbound flight, our flight was going to postpone boarding and wait 30 minutes.

Sighs, frustrated words, angry looks, and tension filled the boarding area. Some of which was directed at this solitary employee.

I waited.

Another employee joined that employee and some softer words were exchanged. Finally, they both looked up at me.

“Can we help you?”

“Yes, I just wanted to say Thanks for the Delay.”

They paused.

“Please let me explain. The last time I flew with you, my plane was a late. Storms caused us a delay, and you held my connecting flight, just like you are doing right now. So, Thanks for the Delay. I know what it feels like to think that you will be stranded, and you took care of me.”

Smiles. Relief. More Smiles.

“Well, you are welcome. Funny, someone who came up here was explaining that someone else’s delay was not their problem at all.”

I smiled, waved, and went for a walk to get a smoothie (before the delay, there was no time to get one). As I was leaving I overheard them speaking to each other.

“You know, we may just have to remember that.”

I hope they do. More so, I hope we remember that sometimes planes wait for us. Sometimes you are the customer getting help. Other times, you may have a slight inconvenience when they are providing the same level of service to someone else.

At the end, due to a combination of winds and a flight crew that pushed a little harder on the gas, the flight arrived only 15 minutes later than originally expected.

15 minutes was all it cost so that a handful of people were not stranded in a strange city overnight. Seems like a pretty good trade.

Thanks for the Delay.