It is raining today. Storming. The rain is so bad that grass everywhere is flooded. You get soaked even if you do have an umbrella because the rain is blowing sideways. Apparently there is a tornado in San Marcos right now.
Schools, however, are packed. A few private ones started at 10:00 am, but all public schools started right on time. People asked if we should cancel meetings and our manager’s meeting was cancelled. But a surprising number of Austinites were still on the road, making it into the office by 9:00.
You know what? Today was a FABULOUS day.
Kindness shows up when in times of disorder. Once I braved leaving my car, I was escorted into our office building by a gentleman holding an umbrella. Wow! He walked me all the way to the door. He clearly was watching out for people coming in and escorting them in. As the rain was blowing sideways, he had gotten wet in the process. But he didn’t stop. That made my heart sing.
Office relationships still matter. As I got off the elevator and walked into our lobby, there stood the men of our office, talking and listening to a walkie-talkie with the latest weather news. They asked about my trip and made sure I was ok. Yes, it is 2015, and there was some checking email and texts on a variety of devices, but we were together and sharing.
Later, some of them were gathered around the TV, listening to the news. I haven’t seen that in years! It made me remininse of the old ‘water cooler’ days, when people would meet in the kitchen or water area of an office and catch up. Those few minutes of humanness and connection refreshed us and gave us the umph to take on the next few hours.
We’ve lost some of that in our work-from-home, communicate via email, text and Facebook. It was nice to experience it again. Even once everyone migrated to their individual offices, someone would inevitably come back and check in.
Places like Orange Co-working in South Austin recognize the value of collaboration, even for a few minutes a day. Shelly Delayne, creator and owner of Orange, indulges our need to be around “Nice Humans” by providing an innovative environment, a huge free parking lot, crazy-fast WiFi and more. Seriously crazy-fast. In fact, Orange has been known shut down corporate networks by having software engines send so much so fast.
It is a great opportunity to reduce the pile of paperwork that won’t leave your desk. You know what I’m talking about. You had every intention of converting those notes into search-able documents or putting them in the right files, but the next meeting came along then the next deadline, and now there is a pile of who-knows-what from who-knows when.
Today I can wade through that pile as fast or slow as I want to, reminisce about the insight I had at the time I wrote those notes, and not have one ounce of guilt. In fact, I might feel like I actually accomplished something while refilling my motivation bucket!
You remember what’s important. Connecting with the people around you, helping people around you and taking care of the little things – these are all good things that we may not do often enough.
Many lost ‘things’ today. Material possessions were damaged or destroyed. A few people were injured. After times like this, people grieve for a short time over losing their things, but are grateful for the health and togetherness of their loved ones. This is a time when people take the time to show their feelings, recall stories of shared experiences, and remember what they really wanted out of life. I think that is awesome. People rarely remember the many items they got for Christmas in any given year, but do they recall the trip they took or when the dog ate the turkey on the table. Experiences matter. Days like today give us a chance to remember that.
What is important to you? What experiences are on your to-do list? What ONE thing can you do today to move towards actually experiencing them?
I encourage you: don’t wait for a flood day to experience the benefits of one. Take action today!