Managers need to sort through difficult times and create new beginnings


The impact we make in a minute can last a lifetime

One of my favorite things about Christmas is the tree. I always put it up the weekend following Thanksgiving, just because I want to enjoy it as long as I can. I have two large boxes of carefully stowed ornaments, each one protected by heaps of tissue paper or other soft protective packaging. As I unwrap each one, it transports me back to certain places or people in my life. Each trinket has some connection to the places I’ve been, the things I love to do, and the people who have been a part of those events.

The other night, with Grace in my lap, I took my eyes around the tree, up and down, scanning the ornaments and thinking about their origins. My eyes hung on a clear glass ball, simply and beautifully hand-painted with the letters of my name, followed by a red and green flower as an accent. It was a gift, many years ago, from my first-grade teacher. Now decades later, it brought new meaning as I thought about the children at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The loss of so many precious children and their dedicated educators is hard to fathom. We can get paralyzed in our grief. But that wouldn’t help anyone. It is important that we feel our sadness, yet we must move forward to create new beginnings.

My work is dedicated to help people be their best in the workplace. And as you know, I believe we can look to our relationships with our animal friends to learn critical lessons that translate to every area of our life. Grace offers me this guidance constantly if I’m open to seeing it. Those wake-up calls can be found everywhere. Just as parents need to do, managers must also find ways to sort through difficult times and move past them to new beginnings. It will be in those moments, in those memories, that will make a difference.

Grace has a watchful eye on the ornaments — reminders of people who cared about me and of those that I care about. It’s the simple things done by people who build the strongest relationships. What traditions do you have — or will you make — to encourage more caring in our world?

We’re at our best when people care about us. Managers send very clear signals through every interaction (or lack of an interaction!) about the extent to which they support the people they work with. Handmade ornaments like my first grade teacher made instilled that sense of caring. But it doesn’t have to be a ‘thing’ that we give someone. It’s the honesty of our words and actions. It’s taking the time to be clear about something we want to communicate. It’s showing gratitude for what you appreciate. It’s the helpful gesture offered during a challenging time. It’s the little things that matter.

Let’s take the opportunity this Christmas season to make our workplaces, our homes, and our communities a joyous place. One perfect way to start is to join the #26Acts of Kindness movement started by Ann Curry to honor the lives from Sandy Hook. Bring a new beginning to your co-workers, your family, (which of course includes your 4-legged family members, too!), and those in your community, locally and globally. The impact we make in a minute can last a lifetime.

Grace and I hope you make this Christmas holiday a joyous one — for yourself and for those around you. Let us know how it feels.

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  1. Ellie on December 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm


    With your usual style and Grace (pun intended) you have made your blog meaningful and relevant to this time of year and recent events. Thank you as well for including the link to 26 random acts of kindness and for sharing one of your personal memories. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and I am so glad I have “collected you in my personal collection of people”. You are one of my favorite peeps!

    • Robin on December 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm

      Ellie, many thanks for your beautiful note and for taking the time to leave your thoughts here. You can consider that as one of the 26 acts of kindness that I imagine you are now off and accomplishing! Our community is lucky to have you in it. Merry Christmas to you, too!

  2. Judy Ringer on December 20, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Thank you, Robin! I have those ornaments, too. Each one brings back memories of loved ones and special moments. Merry Christmas!

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