Three Tips from a Not So Ordinary Tuesday
As the year winds to a close, I thought it might be fun to share the insights that come from a regular day on the job. This was a day not too long ago. It was a regular Tuesday by many accounts, and not so regular by others. Monday, as Mondays often are, had been filled with plenty of commotion, lots of work, a few unfinished tasks, a fair amount of stress, and a handful of things not working out quite the way I wanted. But it was a new day. It was Tuesday! I was on my way to teach for a client that I have enjoyed working with for many years. I was teaching some of my favorite curriculum, and being the holiday season, I was even going to take advantage of an opportunity to pick up treats from a beloved bakery to take home to my family at the end of the day.
As I got out of bed that Tuesday morning, a little bit earlier because of the drive and the classroom setup time, there was already a spring in my step. I knew that I was looking forward to the day. I managed my morning time fairly well and made it out the door with plenty of time to stop at the bakery before going on to the training location. While in line at the bakery, there was another gentleman in line. I recognized this man, but I couldn’t quite put a name to the face. I fleetingly wondered if he might be attending the training later that day, but just wasn’t confident enough in who he was to say hello. Instead I proceeded with my order, stashed it away to bring home later that day, and proceeded to the client site.
As I was setting up at the client site enjoying the easy comradery and conversation that comes from years of relationship building and the sheer joy of doing what I love, the man from the bakery entered the room and extended his hand in greeting. He then shared some kind words and apologized for not saying hello at the bakery, as he just wasn’t certain that I was who he thought I was. It’s funny, isn’t it? We had been just steps from each other at the bakery, not quite sure if we should say hello, both wondering the same thing. And, here we were a few minutes later, having a laugh about our mutual reluctance. My already energized step got even lighter as I thought about how, with just a few positive words, we had both brightened each other’s day. I went on to teach, and by the responses in the room, I would say it was a successful day.
Being the ‘tip-seeker’ that I am, I wanted to share three tips from this anecdote.
1. Do what you love in the service of those who love what you do.
I believe it was Steve Farber who coined this phrase, but I’ve internalized it as something really meaningful. I love to teach, inspire, and encourage, and I especially love to do it for those who love to be taught, inspired, and encouraged. As I grown my business and seek out opportunities, I intentionally and carefully choose to work with those who love the kind of work that I do and the purpose that we serve as an organization. It’s so much more fulfilling to go to work when you know that the work you are doing is making a positive impact in the lives of people who appreciate what you’re doing. I know that’s a luxury that not everyone has, and I am humbly grateful for it. If you have the opportunity to do what you love for those who love what you do, even for some small portion of your day, I encourage you to it wholeheartedly.
2. Make time for treats.
With all the focus on wellness these days, we are often reminded of the importance of keeping our bodies healthy, well fed, properly hydrated, and appropriately exercised. And I am supportive of all these things. But even still, sometimes a little treat can be a big pick me up. Knowing that I had stopped at my favorite bakery to bring home treats for my family brought me joy throughout the day. It’s certainly not something we do every day – our waistlines and pocketbooks couldn’t handle it! But an occasional treat, and more powerfully, being able to pick out someone else’s favorite thing and know that it was selected just for them? What a treat!
For us it’s Jaarsmaa Bakery in Pella, Iowa. About an hour drive from our house, it’s not really a place that you go every week, or every month even. But, we have an unspoken rule in our family, that if you have the opportunity to be in Pella you make time to stop by Jaarsmaa and pick up everyone’s favorite treat. In our day-to-day lives we don’t have time to do this randomly. Trips to Jaarsmaa are planned intentionally and thoughtfully. But that’s just my point here. Make (thoughtful and intentional) time for treats and see the joy that comes with them.
3. Just say hello.
I look back at that exchange between me and the gentleman in the bakery. We were both almost sure that we knew who the other person was, but we weren’t quite willing to take the risk. What would it have hurt if we had? What would have happened if we had just said hello? There in a small town and a small bakery, early in the morning with only a few people around, would it really have been so hard to just say hello? Maybe the hello would have caused either one of us to lean in and say, “Hey, aren’t you…” and we would have had those few extra moments of shared recognition and shared appreciation.
I am so grateful to him for stopping in the room, as he must have seen me as he walked by. He stopped in to say hello. It wasn’t a huge time commitment on his part, and it wasn’t a huge detour, but it was a few extra steps. It was a meaningful moment when he just took the time to say hello. I recently had the opportunity to hear the musical duo Big Little Lyons at a house concert hosted by a friend. One of their songs is about a woman living in a big city missing the human connection and wondering if we could just say hello. This song and my encounter with the man in the bakery have been great reminders that next time we should just say hello!
And there you have it. Three tips from a Tuesday. Here’s hoping your day is wonderful!