Picture this: You’ve had the worst day ever. Your job had multiple call-outs, so you’re super short-staffed, you’ve wanted to scream and/or cry more times than you can count. Just when you are ready to throw in the towel, you get an email from management that there is an all-you-can-eat ice cream sundae bar waiting for you in the staff lounge, with every topping you can imagine. (If you are lactose intolerant, please imagine something that you can enjoy…without the gas). On top of that, they are throwing a puppy party where you get to cuddle and play with the cutest puppies you’ve ever seen!
After filling up on ice cream and getting your overdue dose of puppy cuteness, how do you imagine you’d feel as you leave? Would that day stick out for you? A year from now what would you remember, being short-staffed and overwhelmed or…PUPPIES! Even the most negative person among us, would still remember the puppies and forget the chaos after time had passed.
Every day we have the opportunity to make our day (and the day of others) special and unique in some way. In fact, I highly encourage you to make this challenge for yourself, or if you are in a position of power at your workplace, make that a goal for your team. We can’t always afford to do things like plan a huge puppy party, but sometimes the best things require you to think outside the box and use your creativity in a way that perhaps your job doesn’t usually tap into. In fact, encouraging employees to use these strengths is another way to make employees feel valued and want to stick around.
In the book, “The Power of Moments,” Chip and Dan Heath write about this very concept. “Transitions should be marked, milestones commemorated, and pits filled.” They describe “pits” as, “negative defining moments, moments of hardship or pain or anxiety.” A “filled pit” could be a committee at a workplace who makes sure that people going through a loss in their life, have meals taken care of, childcare help, and support from the job.
What would have made your first day of work spectacular? Transitions are never easy even if you are looking forward to the new job. Can you imagine a scenario where your first day would remain a positive moment that you looked back on fondly? Perhaps you are taken out to lunch, or the head of the company makes a point to stop by your desk and introduce themselves. None of these actions require much money or time, but they are enough to make a person feel seen during a transition that usually is overly stressful.
Why should we work to create these moments? Because that’s where we find the beauty in life. When we make room for joy, gratitude, silliness, healing and beauty, we are waking ourselves up from the mundane and reminding ourselves of the miracle of being alive.
Take care of YOU.