Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day and Happy St. Joseph’s Day! Both, significant reasons to celebrate!
St. Patrick’s Day is a joy-filled day in our house. Fully adorned in green because of our Irish heritage, we have always celebrated the day. Twenty-eight years ago, we added to the celebration by bringing a new “wee one” into our family. Sean O’Brien, weighing in at 11lbs. 4 oz. Maybe not so “wee.” I did not have a cesarean section, so on this date, I remind myself that I CAN DO ANYTHING!
And so we celebrate.
Celebrating, and more specifically, celebrating others, is a key leadership skill that differentiates good leaders from great, yet rarely makes it to the top of the competency list. It is so vitally important. For many of us in business, our busy-ness minimizes our ability to see the everyday successes in others. In addition, our culture is competitive. We aren’t always encouraged to look for the greatness in others if those “others” are potential competitors.
What do you think could happen if every day, we looked for opportunities to celebrate the greatness in others? I’m not talking about giant-ness. I’m talking about just being aware, just noticing, just looking for the good? Do you believe it could ultimately change how all of us show up in our own worlds?
Last week I observed greatness in a female leader who, in my opinion, is rarely recognized for her good work. I was at Camp Global in Florida. Camp Global is a space that our company owns which we utilize for coaching, individual growth plans, and retreats. It is on a golf course, has tennis courts, a couple of pools, and is simply an oasis for pausing, creating, and ideation. There is a female General Manager named Wendi who, in my opinion, has a very difficult job. She is the first female GM of the Club. She serves a clientele represented by mostly white, later aged, men and women. The golfers, mostly men, question whether Wendi, as a female, has “what it takes” to run this Club.
There was an event at the Clubhouse that I attended while there. Calypso night. Good food. Dancing. Great fun with friends. A situation happened at this event that could’ve been incredibly disruptive. I witnessed Wendi in action-oriented leadership.
When I arrived at the event, the major dining room where the event was happening was already filled. My group took a seat at one of the tables in the bar adjacent to the dining room. Dinner, a buffet, was presented as the steel drummer created an ambiance of the tropics. Shortly after dinner was completed, two people, who had been at the bar for the entirety of the event, walked over to our table. They wanted to know how they could get dinner. We explained that dinner was over, causing them great frustration. It became evident that they had consumed an interesting amount of alcohol when they sat down at the table next to ours. Shortly after that, I looked over and realized that one of the two was face down on the table. I watched Wendi quickly approach. We both were assessing how we might help.
It was at this point that I watched what I thought was extraordinary. I could see that Wendi saw the possibility of this situation turning ugly. Without words, she took charge. She quickly put her body between the two people and those in the dining room, keeping the two from moving to the larger room. She then called one of the servers to help her. She didn’t yell. She didn’t cause a scene. In fact, none of the people in the dining room knew this was even happening. Wendi protected the Club. In tandem, she protected the integrity of the two. I offered to drive the two people home.
While I went for the car, Wendi stayed with the two, talking calmly. Then she walked them outside. She was kind. She did not judge, and later, she did not continue to talk about the situation.
As I reflected on this experience, I realized that likely, similar circumstances happen on a regular basis when events are mixed with alcohol. Probably few people take the time to write to Wendi’s superiors to celebrate her leadership. I’m certain patrons and members of the Club take the time to express any unhappiness. I decided to take the same amount of time to celebrate Wendi. I wrote a letter to the Club’s Board of Directors, describing my experience and the impressive, action-oriented stance Wendi had taken.
Is there someone today whom you could celebrate? Someone for whom you could write a good word? Don’t miss the opportunity to celebrate someone else.
In addition, celebrate you! Consider the goodness of your own life… all that you are … all that you can do! While I was out taking a walk last week at Camp Global, several people came from behind and passed me. At first, I was disappointed. I felt sorry for myself that I am so slow, that I have this darn steel rod in my hip, a residual effect of the cancer that ate away at my bones. I’m competitive. I don’t like looking at the back of someone’s head when earlier, they were behind. Then I stop myself. I realize how far I’ve come. I celebrate that I am upright. Walking unaided. Walking at all. And I celebrate.
Your homework: Every day this week, look for the goodness in someone else and in yourself. And CELEBRATE. At the end of the week, notice the good that you’ve created in the world. Then, continue in the days and weeks ahead. You’ll be amazed at how you feel when you look for and celebrate the good. Know that as you do, I celebrate YOU!