I created this essence board for a project called the Great Work. In order to create this, I had to pick the images from feedback that other people gave me. I sent out a survey to a variety of people with questions like “how do you feel when you are around me?” “If I were a vegetable, car, etc . . . what would I be?” And so on.
It was interesting to hear what others thought about me. I am sunshine and light. I am calm and confident. I am funny. I am compassionate. I encourage growth and strive for success. I have a strong sense of justice and fairness. I am a good teacher. I listen without judging. I bring fun and light into my corporate world while getting the job done. Etc.
One of the comments I remember best came from my husband. He said that if I were a vegetable, I would be a carrot. The orange color of the carrot symbolizes my sunny nature. And the fact that a carrot is rooted into the ground symbolizes that I am deeply rooted, grounded, and live by my values. I thought this was an awesome way to explain me. I am a carrot.
My son and I were driving to church on Sunday night for youth group. We were running a little late and talking about getting ready for Christmas. I told him I wanted him to go the mall with me and between my schedule and his schedule we were having difficulty coming up with a day that worked.
My son said “This is the first year that Christmas is like a chore and I don’t like that”. He is seventeen. My heart sank. I became silent for a moment as I considered his comment.
Christmas should not feel like a chore for anyone, regardless of their age. Yet somehow we get caught up in the stress of meeting deadlines when we have presents to buy and wrap, cookies to bake, lights to hang and a tree to decorate.
So this Christmas season will not be a chore. It will be my time to appreciate what I have and what I believe. It will be my time to help those in need. It will be my time to reconnect with people I care about but don’t see often. It will be my time for family and my time for reflection. Most of all, it will be a time for peace.
The best decision I made this year was to go back to school and finish my Master’s Degree. My degree is in Leadership with a focus in Leader Development. I am excited to be back in school!! I am a “leadership nerd”! I am learning new ways to approach situations. I am trying out different coaching model with my employees – Shhhhhh! don’t tell them! It’s a secret. 🙂
What I am learning the most is that there is no one process for every situation. There are principles that can be applied, but how you handle each individual situation has to be – well – individualized. Individualizing your approach makes each interaction meaningful and useful to both parties. Employees feel heard, seen and validated. And that is important. We all want to be heard, seen and validated. We all want to be understood.
So what is the best decision you made this year?
Maybe it’s not fair to post the same picture that appears on my website, but honestly, I spent a lot of time this year in self-reflection. I knew that I was not satisfied doing the same thing for my career, so I explored what I do want. I want to teach leader development so that companies can build cultures where employees are engaged, empowered and motivated. With all the downsizing and buy-outs, employees can become paranoid and cautious. I want people to have fun at work again.
When you are far away, I can only trust that you are okay.
Sometimes I hear joy and laughter bubbling up and out of you like a fountain.
Other times I hear uncertainty and confusion as you are caught up in new experiences.
Occassionally I hear wistfulness and nostalgia and a walk down memory lane.
Often I am overwhelmed by your depth and self-discovery.
At all times I am proud of who you are and who you are becoming.
We are all a work in progress. Let us never stop learning.
From my wonderful mentor Shiloh Sophia McCloud:
The Prayer Wall
Prayers tonight for those who feel like
they are not enough.
May we understand that we are loved
and truly….Enough. Just as we are.