Dec 21

Being a gift to others may be easier than we think

Teamwork isn’t just for the sports field or the workplace – 2020 has shown we need to work together in all aspects of our lives.

A big part of teamwork is the give and take of gifting our time and talent, with perhaps a little bit of treasure sprinkled in. In this season of gift giving, I’m reflecting on the ways I can be a gift to others in my professional and personal worlds well into the new year and well beyond the pandemic.

I have a pretty great start with my Sabo PR team. We live by a commitment to work as a cohesive squad and to leave egos at the door. We also pledge every day to do our best work – never expecting our colleagues to pick up the slack. These reasons – among so many others – are why I traded my SPR alumna title for current employee status.

Be present

It’s only appropriate that present – another word for gift – tops the list of ways I plan to be a better colleague, spouse, daughter, sister, aunt and friend. This seems like a no-brainer, but it can be really challenging to be present at the end of a busy day when all you want to do is unplug and avoid another phone conversation, video call or text exchange with another soul – no matter how much you love them.

This challenging year has taught us the importance of taking time to reach out to colleagues and loved ones to check in and truly listen to what’s on their hearts and minds. Whether it’s a quick “how are you” text with a commitment to follow up with a conversation, a handwritten note letting them know you’re thinking about them or a check-in call to see how you can help, being present matters.

Listen more, talk less

My three sisters and I learned early on to speak up and be heard. The “Snow Girls” are known to be a force as a team and as individuals. This, coupled with my experiences as one of the few women at the decision-making table in professional roles, is why it’s sometimes difficult for me to sit back and simply listen.

The adage seek first to understand speaks loudly to me on this one. For me, it starts with clearing my mind of all that’s on my to-do list, how I’m feeling and all my experiences. And being a good listener goes well beyond Chris Tucker’s “Listen to the words coming out of my mouth” philosophy. Although, this movie line will score me some points at home.

It’s about asking “how are you” and diving into the answer and asking “how can I help” and really being ready to lend a hand, an ear or your heart.

Take care of ourselves

I know what you’re thinking, this is counterintuitive. Isn’t this about taking care of others? Yes, but we can’t take care of others if we don’t take care of ourselves.

For me, this means unplugging while I exercise so I can truly reap the mental health benefits of moving my body. It also means listening to my body and my mind when I need to rest and relax – not easy for an uber Type A who feels lazy if she’s not productive. It’s about recognizing that a better me equals a better gift for others.

It’s time I grab one of the books you can see on the shelf behind me on Zoom calls and spend a weekend  afternoon reading – something I loved doing as a young girl – or veg out on the couch and watch something other than a news channel. I can relax. I can relax. I can relax.

Meantime, I must self-report: I’m writing part of this on my phone as I bang out an hour on the elliptical. In my defense, though, the new year hasn’t started.

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