A very challenging year begins to wind down. One can count the number of business holiday parties on one hand. In fact, people are almost surprised to be invited to one. I have been through one of these cycles before. We go from extreme extravagance to pot luck lunches. Why does this happen, I ask myself, knowing full well the roller coaster ride is part of the thrill of life for some. This time, for many, there will be no thrill to look forward to. People are losing their homes, their careers, their life savings, their dignity. The shoes keep dropping… and there is more to come, I am sure.
We, like many teams and companies, made a very conscious decision not to exchange gifts this year, but rather to support someone in need. Through the organization known as Roots and Wings, we found someone in need. Imagine living your entire childhood life in foster care, moving from one home to the next, and finally having to transition out into the real world, with little support of any kind. We will never meet our adopted friend. We know he is a young man who at 18 needs to move out of the system and on his own. Time to move from dependency to self sufficiency, which for many young men his age would be an exciting venture. We find out he has virtually nothing. The list is long. We get together and buy him a coat, scarf, gloves, boots. We buy him sheets, towels, supplies for his new home. And we give him an IPod as a special surprise. As we reflect, it dawns on us there are many people experiencing temporary hardship right now, but many more who have experienced hardship all of their lives. It feels good to have helped. We hope we have made a difference.
I treated the team to a small outing for some pizza and drinks. They all commented that it was more fun than a big formal dinner. So, it’s true… one doesn’t need to spend a lot to have fun! We agreed to give each other Gratitude Boxes with hand written notes thanking each team member for something positive. Wendy saw the idea on Oprah. It was a humbling experience for each of us to write the notes. In the end, no one felt compelled to take their box and read the notes, it was enough to know there were secret messages inside.
As we began to wind down for Holiday time with our families and friends, I notice we have all become a little closer as a team, and grateful for all that we have. This makes me feel proud.