For an ongoing collaboration between GOOD Morning Wilton and Trackside Teen Center, Trackside’s Executive Director Lori Fields, LCSW will contribute periodic columns to GMW about community wellness and engagement, mental health, Wilton teens and programming at Trackside. She’ll offer simple stories and inspired ideas to help us stay ‘on track’ to living a life that feels deeply satisfying and uniquely ours. Fields has a background in researching human behavior and potential.
One of our high school leaders at Trackside sends email updates regularly to the parents of the middle schoolers in his club.
His updates include a few sentences about how the season is going. He reminds them how many sessions are left and he often includes a few pictures so parents can see their kids in action enjoying the activity they signed them up for.
A snap of some photos, a few simple emails, both of which deepen his connection with the parents and demonstrate his enthusiasm and caring.
It requires about 10% more effort, maybe less. It’s this little bit of extra that makes him stand out.
To be clear, all of our high school leaders are incredible. (Moms don’t play favorites.)
Each one brings a distinct style, effort and ideas to the kids and clubs they lead. It’s why we hold tight and take pride in our signature model of having high school students lead our afterschool programming.
The point highlighted here is that being remarkable and making a notable impact often requires less effort than we think.
It’s counter to what we’ve been conditioned to believe.
We’re a culture of setting the bar high, and immediately raising the bar if we reach it. Go big or go home, do more, be better, and hurry up already.
We’re quick to dismiss simple and easy. We mistake it for holding little value. Deep down we equate it with being lazy.
How hard we work and how much we do is a badge of honor, even if we’re exhausted, depleted, depressed and anxious, even if we know we’re suffering.
Doing more in an effort to improve and grow is no terrible thing. As a researcher of human potential and a high-performance enthusiast, I’m always asking, “How do we get the most out of our entire life experience?”
Go big or go home resonates with me.
What I’m suggesting is that big success often comes from tiny moves that are simple and deep, moves only you can make because they come from your distinct experience, instincts, intellect, and imagination.
This is why there are a great number of ways to be a great mom, leader, partner, person.
Grand plans and gestures have their place, but it’s the itty-bitty moves, the ones we don’t have to make, that feel almost silly or insignificant and are a genuine expression of yourself, that open the door to something greater.
It’s Taylor Swift, mid-song, making a mini-move to protect one of her fans from a too-aggressive security guard.
It’s a handwritten thank you, instead of a text or email.
It’s giving from a place that’s truly genuine — not because you’re trying to get something.
It’s the casual-turned-deep conversation I had with a leader at the cafe the other day where we talked about:
How teens spend most of their time — Studying.
The biggest stressors our kids face — Worrying about college.
Strategies for making important life decisions and minimizing regret — Come see me in person if you want to know what I told him.
Attaching your happiness and self-worth to an end result, like a test grade or getting into your choice college — It’s a dangerous practice.
And what happens after you get into the college of your choice? Now what? — How much does it really matter in the scope of your life?
I thought about this conversation on the ride home and later that night.
Not only was it gratifying, it was a reminder that the answers to some of our big questions — questions we often spend a great deal of time, money and energy trying to figure out — are hidden in plain sight, unearthed through a simple conversation.
We just have to be willing to stand still, go a little deeper and follow our hearts instead of our head.
If you’re having a difficult time reaching goals, if you’re not loving how you’re feeling day to day, consider giving this method a try:
Ask the big questions.
Like, “What does dreamy growth look like for our organization in the year ahead?” Or, “What’s the ONE thing I want most from this season of my life?”
Ask the big questions, but then go simple & deep.
Make time to have a deeper conversation with the people around you.
Lean in more. Look out (or at your phone) a little less.
Simple and deep moments will never disappoint.
They free you from spinning your wheels and place you on the track to becoming Purple Cow remarkable.
In the words of Fred Rogers, “I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.”
You don’t have to disrupt your whole life or take drastic measures to make an impact or enjoy a greater level of success.
Try making small, genuine moves that feel so very you. The kind of move that might make you feel like you should be doing something more productive.
As a diehard Transcendentalist, I’d choose depth over reach any day of the week. I live for the types of conversations and gestures that make you feel something.
Because if you’re willing to live and work from that place, everything else becomes either easier or insignificant.