It’s spring. Temperatures are already uncomfortably warm, school is wrapping up and dreams of the sound of crashing waves or the sensation of a cool breeze through mountain trees dance in our heads. But there’s no rest for the weary because we have too much to do: spring galas and golf tournaments, fiscal year-end telethons (UNC-TV’s “Race to the Finish” always leaves me feeling slightly anxious), quarterly direct mail appeals and, for many of us, getting every gift and performance review in before June 30 make the idea of taking a break feel like a distant and unattainable goal.
But this week, I was reminded that, even with all the pressures to get everything done at this time of year, spring is the perfect time to take a deep breath and look back at the road most recently traveled. I suggest we all take a moment to appreciate our accomplishments even before all the pressing tasks have been completed. By doing so, we will likely have all the energy and drive we need to race to the finish.
I’m serving on a committee that is charged with doing some very fundamental work for an organization I volunteer with: deep analysis and soul-searching, redefining mission and vision, looking at history and trying to set a course for the future. Our team has been together for over a year and already accomplished a great deal. But in the hallowed tradition of seeing the glass as half empty, we rarely take a moment to say “look how much we’ve accomplished in the last year.” Rather, our bi-weekly meeting agenda this past Tuesday was, as usual, filled with the urgent next steps to keep us and our organization breathlessly marching forward.
By contrast, and on the very same day, at my part-time temporary workplace at the University of North Carolina, we spent this quarter’s staff meeting thanking each other. Each member of staff was thanked for accomplishments large and small, big gifts secured, surprising relationships developed, new ways of working implemented. The incoming board chair of the foundation for which I work commented that coming to this meeting gave her a completely different view of our work from that afforded by formal board meetings that tend to focus on financials. She said she was most impressed by how well we supported each other and was clearly truly moved by the team-work and mutual appreciation shared by all.
So which situation do you believe I found more satisfying? I’m sure you agree that no matter what time of year, no matter what deadlines we face, no matter what professional disappointments we encounter, a simple and sincere “thank you, well done” from a boss, mentor, co-worker or staff member can make a world of difference.
So, I’d like to say to you, thank you! You have done and continue to do a wonderful job providing important and meaningful service to our community. Well done! Take a moment and take it in. You’ve earned it.