A few weeks ago I ran a half marathon. It wasn’t my first. In fact, I’ve been running roughly 6 or 7 half marathons a year since 2010. And I hate it. They are physically challenging, painful and emotionally charged. I am filled with anxiety and negative thoughts that I do not have the capacity to ‘successfully’ finish and spend a good part of the first half convincing myself not to ‘turn around’. I know. Ridiculous!
However, on this run, I was blessed with the words of one high school football player as I ran through the 4 mile water station that changed my attitude and the race.
A little background.
For a very long time, I have believed that one of my purposes in life is to bring a smile to everyone I encounter. This vision of self – my BEING self at its core – is created through intentional, purposeful acts throughout each day. I have adopted a practice of being intentional toward this daily goal. It requires that I ‘see’ each person I encounter; that I acknowledge who they are; that I notice something about them and share it with them; that I offer my gift of a smile to each of them! I intentionally (try to) do this, not only at home, at work – but with everyone – the Starbucks clerk, my waiter, a neighbor, my friends. I am engaged (fully) in what I believe is important to BEING me.
Now, back to the race.
As you might imagine, approaching that 4 mile mark, my head was filled with all sorts of negative thoughts. As I approached the line of football players handing out the water, I reached out my hand and ever so routinely grabbed a cup of water. I did say thank you. But I also added – “What a pleasure it is to get water from such handsome young men!”
And, as I continued past the line of football players, I heard one of them say – “Did you hear that? She said that right after she looked at me!” I could hear the smile in his voice.
Hearing this I smiled! Big smile! I realized that I had created a smile with a person I encountered. And, I didn’t do it with intention!
I realized that by being intentional in my practice of bringing a smile to everyone I encountered that I was intentionally BEING me. I realized that my practice was now an integral part of my BEING.
And as all of these thoughts cluttered my brain, and as I thought about the notion of intentionally BEING thru being intentional, I also realized that I was almost at the finish… and I was smiling – thankful that a high school football player thought it pretty cool that I noticed him!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Diane Rogers is a facilitative, leader with a collaborative approach inspiring individuals and organizations to raise the bar toward the Achievement of New Potentials, together. She has a diverse background, with a history of demonstrated leadership positions across multiple industries, including healthcare, software IT, aerospace and nuclear power. Diane can think big and put the details in place to design effective action plans building trust and respect along the way. With her unquenchable energy, she tenaciously engages stakeholders to join the improvement journey and, along the way, cheerfully nudging the players, bringing them to the same page, to move beyond their potential.