On Recognition

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Home for the holidays.

My dad was a bigtime hockey player growing up and in college. He’s owned this trophy shelf since before I was born. My brother and sister and I used to love to play with the various cups and medals and trophies.

As we started to win our own trophies growing up, my dad made space for us on the bottom shelves to display our awards.

I wasn’t a particularly athletic little kid under the age of ten. My brother and sister received soccer trophies each year at the end of year pizza parties. I remember feeling a little sad not have anything to put on the shelf. My only athletic pursuit was riding horses, and I didn’t compete in shows. I just liked horses.

My parents once bought me a horseback riding trophy from the trophy store so I could have something to put on the shelf.

As I got older, I  began competitive sports and entering contests. I’ve now won my fair share of ribbons and medals and trophies for the shelf (Pseudo-awards like Most Inspirational and Most Improved? Got em both). My parents still keep the shelf displayed upstairs in our house, old high school awards getting a bit dusty.

Though I guess I liked the trophies, I’ve always been more about verbal affirmations. Whatever feedback my coach would give me after a race mattered so much more than the ribbon I’d be mailed after the fact. How much feedback I got from my teacher on an award was far more important than the prize or certificate.

Just a big metaphor for what we know already: salaries and bonuses are great, but we often all we really want is recognition from the people we work with. Do we matter? Are we making a difference? Are we doing good work? Are we uniquely important?

These are the trophies we really want.

Tis The Season

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Tis the season for Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter and rainy weekends spent at Costco sampling. It’s dark at 5:30pm and cold enough for a jacket.

I realized lately that I am really proud to be myself in this season of my life right now. I’ve been challenged every day but I am experiencing the best kinds of challenges. There is very little emotional turmoil and just a lot of external company stuff coming my way. It’s mentally taxing but totally fun. I’m not wrestling with personal stress or family/health problems or any kind of major life changes. Just a lot of new professional challenges, which I love dealing with because every step is an opportunity to learn and grow my abilities.

When I am faced with these kinds of professional challenges, I love to get outside my brain and listen to podcasts. Though I listen to podcasts daily regardless of my stress levels, when I am in an exceptional state of exhaustion or overwhelm, it is like I am uniquely primed for some kind of breakthrough. At these moments, my protective and naturally cynical layers are thin and something someone says on a podcast can really hit me just right. Once an idea or a thought is in my head like that, it can shake around in my brain for weeks.

This happened recently on an episode of The Tim Ferris Podcast interviewing Youtuber Casey Neistat. He emphasized how hard and yet worthwhile it is to practice being a positive-minded person. I’ve always felt that way personally, but hearing him say it out loud made it feel like a challenge I could respond and step up to. I’ve been thinking about action steps to keep negativity out of my mind and out of my reactions.

It’s an exciting stage we are entering at Wild Friends and I feel like doors are opening everywhere we look. Very exciting for Wild Friends and so fulfilling for me after four years of trying to figure out what is even going on in this crazy business world. I am still completely confused at the bottom of a tall mountain but at least I am slowly figuring out which way is up.