I love a good challenge. Give me a puzzle that can't be solved - a task that seems prohibitively daunting. Show me a reason why something can't be done. Then stand back and watch. I am neither superhuman nor exceedingly talented, I simply derive great satisfaction from getting things done.
Hard work and I - we go way back. I grew up in the "pull yourself up from the bootstraps" Midwest, where I was taught there are few things that can't be solved by digging in and working hard. Over the years, that philosophy has spilled over into many areas of my life. When marathon training plans suggested our longest run should be 20 miles, I convinced my training partners we would feel better about our readiness if we completed 26. In college I couldn't imagine why I shouldn't take the maximum number of credit hours each semester - why spend four years waiting for what's next when you can do it in three? And why waste that extra year traveling across Europe when you can get a job?
So when our family fell sick over the weekend, it didn't occur to me to take a break. While I did reschedule my clients to ensure they didn't walk away with a virus in addition to their post-yoga glow, I kept the rest of life's trains running on track. Appointments were kept, errands were run, the babe was shuttled to and from every activity, and the house was in order. I was able to bail out friends who found themselves stranded without childcare and coordinate the delivery of a meal to a new mama in our church.
But if I'm being honest, this flurry of activity would not have made my Midwestern family proud. Because they also taught me to be kind - and that value was in short supply. Every one of my interactions in recent days has been transactional at best. At worst, I was downright crabby - and the burden fell, as it most often does, on those nearest and dearest to me...
We all have a great deal to do. We have full plates and full calendars. We have responsibilities at work and at home. But our loved ones, our communities, and our nation need our kindness far more than our hard work - perhaps more than ever..
As you go about your day, can you look up from your efforts and really see the people for whom you claim to be doing all these things? Can you focus less on the work and more on the kindness? Let's give it a try...