There’s a delightful store in my neighborhood that sells all kinds of cool merchandise ranging from quirky dinner and glassware to whimsical wall art and handcrafted journals. I try to visit this favorite store every few weeks, just to see what’s new. I also like to rummage through a big round bin of 3 by 5 recycled paper cards imprinted with interesting quotes set in vintage typestyles. These cards are among the least expensive items in the store. What’s more, the quotes are way more interesting than your usual, over-quoted quotes. So I buy a few now and then to put on my bulletin board or fridge or to give away as little encouraging gifts.
One of these quote cards has been sitting on my desk for several weeks now. I’m seeing this as a sure sign I should share it here. I hope it will inspire you in some way. Here’s what the card says:
“Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes our deepest thanks to those who have rekindled that light.” – Albert Schweitzer, humanitarian, philosopher, theologian, organist, physician, writer, polymath
Boy, I can think of quite a few times my light had gone pretty dim (or was extinguished altogether). It happened for any number of reasons: too much work and not enough relaxation and recharge time; frustration with a project that wasn’t going well; not-so-friendly feedback on something I’d written or a presentation I’d given; a client who decided to move on or a prospect who chose not to hire me; health issues that sapped my strength and energy; exhaustion from trying to do too much for too many people; a sad breakup or a tragic loss. You name it.
I’m guessing, since you’re a mere human like me, your light has needed a puff of oxygen or a dose of fuel from time to time due to these or any number of other challenging circumstances.
It seems right to pause here and take a moment to bring to mind all the people who got you (and me) through those light-dimming times. The family members, friends, neighbors, or colleagues who stepped in with a word of encouragement, a new perspective, an idea, a solution, or just acceptance and a loving presence. The wise mentors who assured us we weren’t the only ones who had ever faced this issue, that it was going to be okay (or it would at least pass), and that we should stay the course (or give it time) and not give up. (My mother was a believer that a nap or a cup of tea could make any situation not-so-awful. She was generally right. Thanks, Mom. )
I feel so blessed that there are so many of these wise, caring people in my life. I’m envisioning an afternoon spent with a big notebook (maybe one from my favorite store), a juicy pen, and a huge cup of coffee. I’ll spend that time listing and thinking about all the people who have helped me along the way. And planning ways to thank them.
It’s just too easy to forget where we’d be without these “major supporters” (as my friend Jim Comer calls them).
Could you find some time today, this week, or at least this month to recall the special people who have been there for you? Perhaps we all could go one step further and contact them. It could be a call or voice mail, email, or handwritten note. Or perhaps we could name them and share our gratitude for them on social media. I’m thinking this would refresh our inboxes and streams beautifully, graciously, and memorably. It would be courageous and classy. And it could be as easy as this:
Voicemail, email or handwritten note: “Hi ______, I was just thinking of you and wanted you to know how much I have appreciated your friendship and support. In particular, I remember when you ______________________ for me, an act of kindness / support / generosity for which I will always be grateful. You really helped me _____________________________________. Thank you so much! Sincerely, _______
Social media: Offering a sincere shout out today to ______________ who is one of the best / most talented / most generous /[whatever amazingness he or she is] people / mentors / role models / [whatever you want to call them] in my world. Really appreciate all the ways you’re inspired and encouraged me!
Okay, so there is lots of room for improvement, customization, and creativity here, but you get the idea.
And, lest I forget, I want to thank YOU for being a subscriber, fan, commenter, reader, client, and “major supporter.” I appreciate you more than you know! Without you here, opening, clicking, reading, there’d be no point in having a blog. So thanks again. Every read, every comment keeps my light shining.
Big news! I just learned I’ll be speaking at the MGM Foundation’s Women’s Leadership Conference in Las Vegas on August 5th. I’ll be offering two presentations, one on networking and the other on public speaking. If you and your smart friends are looking for a way to get inspired, learn, make a ton of new friends, and have a great time, please join us! More details here: http://www.mgmresortsfoundation.org/womensleadershipconference/
Patti, I LOVE this and boy, can I relate. I have already shared this with someone who fired up my flame just yesterday. Bless you for sharing.
Bless YOU, Ellen, for reading and commenting! We need our flame firer-uppers! Caffeine only goes so far!
Thank you Patti, for being one of the people who keeps my light shining brightly. I certainly do appreciate your friendship and support.
Thank YOU, Mardi! Think of all the people you light up with your talents and sunshine-y disposition!
I think we’ve been each other’s light since Kindergarten, We’ve been through it all – boyfriends, college, deaths, you name it. I always think “what would Patti do” and it usually helps me through the worst of it. And your Mom was right about the nap and/or tea. I would add wine to that list. Everyone needs that person who gets them through!
Dawn, thanks for this! I feel the same way. We have been blessed to have a friendship that continues to grow over the years, through the blessings, adventures, changes, and challenges.
Thank you Patti, for helping me acknowledge this extra special role that many of my friends play in my life. Thank you for the puff of inspiration from YOU. Are you going to tell us the name of your fun store?
Thank you, Cameron! The store is Sugarboo in the Arboretum. Silly name. Great store.
Patti, You have mentioned one of my most favorite d quotes of all time. I do not think we can go “overboard” thanking the wonderful people who have supported us and believed in us along the way. Thank you for the reminder. I am going to write a note to someone before I go to bed tonight.
Ah, yes! I can see why it’s a favorite of yours, Louise! And it’s so great to hear from you. I so agree. Appreciation is timeless and always style!