Deserved recognition for someone I frequently take for granted.
It can be rare to receive -or more importantly give- meaningful recognition for the important work being done.
As we race to our next activity or task, we hurry right past the individuals providing worthy services directly in front of us. Rarely do we pause and thank the airport janitor for the clean bathroom, the cashier for taking the order, the hotel clerk for working the night shift.
By contrast, through a lot of grace, a ton of help from others and a bit of luck, I’ve stumbled into a profession where I am thanked almost continuously for the work I’ve done. Fancy dinners. Standing ovations. My name printed in brochures. Long lines with hugs and handshakes. Even handwritten thank you notes received after events. The feedback from individuals fills me with purpose and brings joy to my life.
And yet, while I’m out of town speaking, being recognized and having my bucket filled, who is taking care of my kids? While I’m at those dinners with the forks on the left and the knives on the right, who is the one doing the exhausting and thankless work of getting meals ready and cleaned up at home? When I check into my hotel and get myself unpacked, who is driving my kids to their practices, checking homework, cleaning the clothes, wrapping up a long day and preparing for another?
My amazing wife tirelessly and selflessly does so much. And because the kids and I are so close to her, we are at risk of taking her for granted.
Which is why what occurred last Thursday was particularly meaningful for me. And her.
More than a year ago our organization booked a presentation with the American Occupational Therapy Association. We were excited because of the incredible work OTs and COTAs do in our health care and school systems.
We were excited because of the work my amazing OTs did for me decades ago to empower me to feed myself, dress myself and become self-sufficient.
And we were excited because one of the members of this organization and attendees at the conference would be my favorite OT: my wife, who in addition to serving as a mom to four busy kids has also spent more than 15 years working as an Occupational Therapist.
Near the end of the presentation, I showed the audience a picture of my wife and me from the day we got married. Then I shared that even as a little boy recovering from burns, I knew one day I’d find love. I didn’t know she’d be so pretty, but I knew before even meeting her that she’d possess a heart to see beauty where other women might only see brokenness.
And then I shared that she was with us in the venue that day not only because she’s my wife, but because she is an Occupational Therapist.
With that, 7,000 awesome OTs stood and cheered for one of their own with boisterous applause.
Beth stood, smiled humbly and waved at her colleagues.
I’ve received numerous rousing ovations in my career. Some in small venues, others in large stadiums. None touched my heart and brought more joy, however, than the one I witnessed for her.
My friends, we all benefit from receiving accolades for the work we do and the lives we live. We all clamor to know that we matter and make a difference.
Today, rather than waiting to be recognized for something we’ve done well, let’s strive to seek opportunities to acknowledge and encourage someone else.
That simple act of being seen and appreciated is certain to elevate their day. And in observing their reaction, it will positively change your day, too.
This is your day. Live Inspired.