Allow me to introduce you to someone dear to my heart. His name is Michael. He has been a father figure to me since I was young. Michael is magical. He sees the good in everyone, he is wildly protective, and he never participates in negativity of any sort. He has a magnetic personality which draws people of all ages to him.
A few months ago, Michael was at the Abraham Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. Between the base of the refection pool and the statue of our 16th President is the equivalent of almost 9 flights of stairs. After admiring the monument, Michael began his decent. He noticed a father with his 5-year-old son. The boy was gripping his dad’s arm in terror. The 9 flights down overwhelmed him with fear. “I can’t, I can’t. I am too scared dad. I can’t do it” he cried. Michael noticed what was happening; a son too scared to move, and a dad that did not know how to help.
Michael leaned down and with a warm smile said to the boy, “What?! Are you scared of these steps?”. “Yes” said the boy. “Here, watch this. I’m going to do it. Just watch”. And with a big leap, Michael jumped down a set of 4 stairs. The boy burst into laughter. “Did you see that? Wasn’t that fun?! Watch me do it again!”. Once again, Michael jumped down a set of stairs as the boy’s face lit up. With a big laugh he said, “It’s just so fun! Want to do it with me?”. The boy agreed. He let go of his dad’s hand and steadied himself, eyes full of determination and excitement. “OK. Let’s go. 1, 2, 3, JUMP!!!”. The boy bounces into the air and upon his landing was bursting with joy. “I DID IT!”. Then he did it again, and again, and again, until he reached the bottom, full of pride.
I love this story because it reminds me of two really important lessons.
1. When we are in states of fear, anger, resentment, and stress, we limit our possibilities.
Those mindsets lead us to focus on what could go wrong, instead of what could go so beautifully right. Michael showed that little boy that there was another way, and not only was it full of fun, it got him where he needed to go.
2. When you see someone in need, help.
Since the pandemic, 56% of young adults and 40% of adults 24+ reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorders. We need each other. If you are on higher ground, look around. Who needs help? How can you show up for someone today? Small acts of kindness make big impacts.
We are also in a period where the business is doing exceptionally well. So many of you are thriving. If you are in that place, seek out people who are not. At work, few things are harder than not hitting your numbers. That burden can put even the most positive person into a heavy and negative state. Lift them up! Share your tips, tricks, and support. The only thing better than winning individually, is winning as a team.
We have all experienced times when we are looking down those stairs and believe that we cannot do it. Remember how that feels? We can make the choice to be aware of opportunities to help others when they are in that rough spot. Sometimes people just need someone to stand by their side, show them the way, and then yell “JUMP!”