Today, prior to coming in to work, I attended a Hop-a-Thon to raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Let me tell you, there are few things in this world that are cuter than a group of three to five year olds hopping their hearts out inside of hula hoops for charity. Seriously, adorable. So, my job as one of the volunteer “coaches” was to stand by one of the hoops and count how many times each child hopped in one minute. One by one, they came up to accept their challenge – Rodney, Jake, Shae, Taeya. One by one, each waited for the bell. And when it rang, they began. Now, for a four year old, a minute is an eternity. So, “Coach Marci” counted and yelled. “TEN! TWENTY! THIRTY!” As the numbers got higher, they hopped faster – wanting to hit a hundred. And when they passed one hundred and heard “ONE TEN! ONE TWENTY!” they hopped even harder. The crowd of parents and classmates cheered louder. When the bell rang after the minute was up, our exhausted and elated athletes stepped out of the rings with huge smiles of achievement on their faces. And many of them stepped up to try it again, hopping for a second or even a third time. Even a few of us Moms joined them. Go, Team Mom!
When the last hop had been hopped and the parents began to disperse, one of the members of Team Mom stopped me. Out of the blue, she mentioned this blog. She gave me such a wonderful compliment that I never expected and I walked away on air, my spirits lifted and creative juices flowing. Truth be known, all week, I’ve been having a bit of writer’s block about this blog. I haven’t felt very creative. In fact, I’ve been in a bit of a funk in general – feeling undervalued, underappreciated etc. Once that spiral of under-whatever starts, it’s easy to start seeing it everywhere you look: at work, at home, in life. Everything seems to validate that negative thinking or emotion.
I was a “coach” this morning, and I’m a coach often at work and at home. I’m a big believer in positive reinforcement as a primary motivational tool. I consciously make it a point each and every day to speak words of appreciation to my husband, my kids, my coworkers and employees. I specifically look for something to sincerely compliment when I’m out networking with strangers; it opens doors. But it looks like I forgot this week that I need positive reinforcement too. I also forgot to listen. Good feedback was there from my husband at home, but I have been so busy having a mini-pity party this week, that I didn’t hear it. I’ve been on the road a lot lately, so I haven’t really spent that much time with my boss. But if I was feeling unappreciated at work, all I needed to do was pick up the phone and share what I was feeling professionally. Mentoring and coaching was out there. I just missed that opportunity.
I probably would have kept on missing it, kept stewing in my funk, if it had not been for one thoughtful, sincere compliment this morning. It’s easy to get caught up in the business of work or life. We dedicate blood, sweat and tears to whatever we are focused on and forget that we need a little nourishment ourselves. As leaders, we constantly give. It’s okay to receive too. In fact, it’s mandatory if you want to stay sane and to grow. And it spurs us on, giving us the energy to hop higher, work harder and accomplish great things.
If you’re feeling stifled, down or looking for motivation and it’s not coming to you, get up. Go out and find it. It’s waiting for you. Seek out advice. Ask questions. And start listening. TEN! TWENTY! YOU CAN DO IT!
Thanks, Jennifer, for helping me get my head on straight and reigniting that fire.