“Thank you,” I wrote in an email last Friday. The recipient was one of a group of women who have graciously offered to read early drafts of my book. I complete chapters and ship them off for review and critique. I wait on pins and needles to hear their response. What comes back always requires me to do a lot of re-work. While humbling this couldn’t be a more energizing experience. In the moment that I wrote that email I realized just how inadequate the phrase ‘thank you’ seemed. Thank you.
How many times per day do you use the phrase? Does it hold weight for you?
Recently I read, “Fully Alive: Discovering what matters most,” by Timothy Shriver, son of the late Eunice Shriver. Shriver serves as Chairman of the Board of Special Olympics, an organization founded by his mother that focuses on acceptance, inclusion, and respect for individuals with intellectual disabilities in all corners of the globe. In the book Shriver tells two stories in parallel; his involvement with the Special Olympics, and his growing self-awareness.
Many years ago Shriver worked with troubled youth in New Haven, CT. A Rabbi whom he befriended at the time challenged him to radically change his approach. He asked Shriver to, “be the unique person you were created to be.” (Alive, pg 118) With this lesson Shriver realized that he needed to practice recognizing the uniqueness of each kid. Up until that moment Shriver viewed his work as ‘fixing kids’ not accepting them.
Of his new goal Shriver said, “I needed to reach <the goal> with my heart, not my head.”
Shriver’s words reminded me of a Voices of Transition interview I did early on in Novofemina’s history. Maria, a U Chicago MBA and tech start-up veteran, went through a transition off and on for over a decade. She had a similar realization to Shriver. In moving through her transition she had to trust another side of herself, her heart. Her conclusion after a decade process? “We always come back to ourselves, only better.”
I recognize that the gift for which I am very thankful this holiday stems from trusting my heart. For this gift I credit each of you who offer me a glimpse of your transitions as you walk patiently with me through mine. I also credit the readers who give me so much more than their time and their feedback.
This holiday season I wish for you two things: to understand the magnitude of simple gifts and to trust yourself on the pathway to becoming the unique person you were meant to be.
Prior Novofemina Thanksgiving Posts……
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