At our last team meeting of 2013, my manager announced that we were going to do a team activity. She distributed sheets of paper; each piece with one of our names on it and the header,
“your team thinks that you are awesome because…”
We had to write down what we appreciated about each of our colleagues on the piece of paper with their name on it.
My initial reaction was one of dread. These types of group activities can have a tendency to be a bit cheesy and insincere. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for giving people compliments. But sometimes when people are put on the spot, what they end up saying is a bit of a cliché or they write what they think they should be saying.
However, the result of this team activity was amazing.
Everyone got into it and they all enthusiastically wrote down what they appreciated about each of their colleagues. People were varied in what they wrote. Some focused on their coworkers’ technical skills, whilst others commented on the personal traits and behaviours they admired most about their colleagues.
At the end of the team meeting, we all ended up with a double-sided piece of paper filled with statements written in brightly coloured texta about why we are special, and what we personally contribute to the team that someone else thinks is awesome.
This activity enabled my work colleagues to provide me with an amazing gift. They gave me an abundance of varied – and sometimes surprising – feedback about my individual strengths. Some things that people admired about me were those traits that I often undervalue because I think that because they come easily to me, they aren’t really that special.
But I also got much more than great feedback.
I was given a moment to reflect on those things that I value about others in my team; time to pause and to reflect on what I value about those I work closely with.
More importantly, it gave me a reminder to appreciate the good things in my life. And I am now trying to do this every day.
Each night at the dinner table, my family tells each other one thing about their day for which they are thankful. Initially, the things my daughters were thankful for were quite materialistic (which is quite often the focus of young children, isn’t it?). But now my daughters are expressing gratitude for other, non-materialistic things in their lives. Last night my daughter said that she was thankful for her nice friend.
Surprisingly, my daughters will remind me if I forget to ask them what they were thankful for that day, which leads me to believe that they truly enjoy telling me about the things for which they are thankful. I think that is pretty cool.
So… thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I think that you are awesome because you encourage me to keep writing, particularly on those days when I doubt myself and wonder if I have anything of value to say. And for that I am truly thankful.
Have an amazing day, my friends.