“Do I WANT to do better?”
It’s a valid question and really…it’s the first question you should ask yourself before beginning any project or setting a new goal.
Because if you don’t actually want to do something better or improve, you will never gain the momentum necessary to finish, to move forward.
We are so good at setting life goals come every New Year’s Eve. It’s an easy time of year when everything feels right to begin anew. New Year…new you, right?
But how often do we check in with those goals? We cast a broad net at the start of the year, but when do we go back and measure our pace? Do we go back and check at all?
I have found that it’s helpful to allow a healthy transition time after setting goals, but it’s also key to continue that sense of checking in.
Personally, I intuitively do that “check in” with the changing of the seasons. This not only works for me, but it can feel very natural for anyone to do.
Like it or not, we’re moving towards autumn now. Back to school is a huge time of transition for those of us with children. My daughters have been spending time exploring colleges and my son embarked on his first extended overnight camping experience. Everything in their lives is changing in such big increments and within such a small amount of time.
It is with gratitude that their changes become my changes too.
My children are turning such big corners and so are my husband and I.
This summer, my husband Tom turned fifty and I turned forty-nine.
How did it feel for Tom to turn fifty? His short answer was “no different than it did to turn forty-nine.” But it IS a milestone birthday and one that I am nearing as well, so the slightly longer answer I will give for both of us is to echo what my dear friend Julie Van Straten once told me…that “IT IS A PRIVILEGE TO AGE.”
My children are indeed turning such big corners and with hearts FULL of gratitude, my husband and I are both here to experience and celebrate all of it.
And yes…growing older is indeed a privilege and Tom was facing this milestone with aplomb. But when I thought about our birthdays this year as more of a reflection of the life I have created with my husband and our children and the companies we have built, I decided we needed to celebrate.
So we threw a surprise 50th birthday party for my husband, Tom.
Inspired by his use of the word “Better” as a motivator for our partners at Elevate97 and in everything he sets out to do, we managed to get 200 of our closest friends and business partners into our company cafeteria on a Wednesday afternoon…a DJ and a freezer full of gelato at the ready.
Our team had a window of three hours to re-create our lunchroom into a lounge while one of our favorite local chef’s prepared a generous buffet of incredible food and signature cocktails. Our friends at Hinterland Brewery brought the beer and Tom’s favorite singer flew in from Colorado to serenade us.
Months earlier, our in house graphic artist, Dayna Klein, created an original t-shirt designed for the event. Dozens of these t-shirts were handed out to the guests as they arrived that day. Elevate97 partners and the partners at our sister company, WeConnect, donned the special shirts and waited in the darkened cafeteria.
Tom arrived back at Elevate97 under the guise that we were having an all company meeting and photoshoot. As he rounded the corner into the lunchroom, 200 party guests began to sing “Happy Birthday”.
He was stunned.
Then, very unexpectedly, our son Ben, popped out from behind the corner, threw his arms around my husband and shouted, “Happy Birthday, Papa!”
That was the moment he realized what was happening.
I watched as my husband made his way through the rows of guests, identifying the faces of family and friends and colleagues…so many members of his “tribe”. All of them wearing his favorite word “Better” on their shirts, all of them there to celebrate with him.
It brought me such joy.
The party was a huge success.
(I still can’t believe we pulled it off!)
When I sat down back in January and reflected on my goals for the year, being cognizant of my purpose was at the core of everything I set out to do. My focus for 2018 was to INVEST in our internal partners, to make the time to sit face to face with the people I work alongside. So many team members were marking anniversary years and experiencing big personal firsts. (We had over FIVE new babies born within the Elevate97 family this year!) The beginning of the year also marked a milestone for our business as we turned 21…and we promised our partners a party.
And party we did. In celebrating my husband and the founder of our company, Tom Burgess, we were also celebrating how far we’ve come…all of us together.
As I reflected back in January on the possibility of throwing a party I noted, “But we’re even more excited about everything that comes after the candles have been blown out and the party hats have been put away.” This is so true. After all of the party clean up, there was so much to look back on from that night. (We’re still talking about it!) We met our goal and enjoyed every moment of it.
We must never stop taking stock of the things we have accomplished and the goals still be being worked on. I haven’t stopped in my goal of investing in our internal partners and as a parent, I recognize that how I invest in the changing needs of my own children continues to evolve as well. It matters to me and it’s what I WANT to make happen. Choosing to invest in people isn’t something we do just once, it’s something we choose to do every day and choose to continue to improve upon. The more we know someone, the more we cultivate our understanding of them and identify their needs and our role in helping meet those needs.
It’s one of our greatest abilities as human beings. To invest, to connect.
Begin in purpose. Revisit your goals.
And never stop…being BETTER.