Friday, April 9, 2010

The Award

Awards. We all love to win them. We love to brag about them. They show the world that we are good at something. But how important are those awards, really? We can’t take them with us when we die. What will happen to them? Will someone just dump them in the trash as they clean out our belongings? Perhaps there’s more to a career than winning awards. Read my blog to learn about the true gifts we give and receive in our careers.

Winning an award is great, fun and exciting! It’s a jolt to the Ego; and a way to prove to others you have made it in your career.

We like awards, and we have been programmed to like them. We get them from a young age – first starting with food as a small child. Then in school, teachers give out awards like the clouds give us rain drops – a lot. They showered us in them.

As we get older, we get awards in college, from our employers, from the non-profit organizations we volunteer for, and even from the neighborhoods we live in.

If we could only carry these awards around with us as we grow older – to show everyone what we have done in our life. It would make our Ego feel so good.

Let me tell you what I experienced one hot summer day in July. I was having lunch with a close friend, and we were having a great time. I knew many other people in the restaurant, too. Normally, I would approach them to say, “Hi” and spend a few minutes catching up with them, but this was my friend’s time. I wanted her to know she was special to me, and that I was truly there to see her.

We sat in a moon shaped booth, which, by the way, is weird for going out with just one other friend. I made the most of it and sat right in the middle. She sat to my left. Our conversation was great, the food was awesome and the time spent together was wonderful. Then my friend excused herself to go to the restroom.

I sat there in the middle of the moon shaped booth. At first, it was odd, strange and a little uncomfortable. I watched a baby eat and people in the restaurant converse happily with each other, and then I saw an older man – one who looked grateful to be walking – stroll by with his wife.

I thought, “I know him, Oh, my gosh, I know him!” I yelled his name, “Hank, Hank, Hank.” His frail body turned to look in my direction. I could tell he had no idea who I was. I scooted out of the booth and walked up to him like a kid walking up to Mickey Mouse.

“It’s Lynne Pietrzyk, Pelican Landing,” I said. He smiled really big. His wife remembered me too. I was not even thinking about what to say, I just started telling him how much his support, encouragement and guidance has been with me all the 13 years since I last saw him. His eyes filled with tears, and he smiled a huge smile that appeared like it would permanently be on his face. I gave them my number, wished them a blessed day and thanked him again.

As I walked back to my seat, the message was load and clear. It is not what awards you have gotten in life. It is the people you touch, inspire, encourage, guide and support. I went back to my seat where my friend was waiting for me. The excitement was busting out of me. I could not believe I saw him. I got to speak with him, and the message I received was a true gift from God.

I told my friend the story of Hank. He was the former CEO of Spiegel magazine. He created The Spiegel Catalog. I am not certain, but I am sure he won some awards from some organization in his life. But at that moment it was not about the awards. It was about how he continued to support, guide and encourage me that brought the feelings of fulfillment, peace, abundance and love to all of us as we stood in the restaurant.

At the end of our life, we could pull around all of the awards we’ve won in a little red wagon. Maybe someone will invent a wagon we can attach to wheel chairs to assure we get to showcase our awards till the end of our journey. Or maybe if would be better if we could just tote around pictures of those who we have inspired, guided and truly touched in a photo album. These photos would tell the story of our life and those who were shifted in a positive direction because we met them. This is truly what I believe we will be looking to remember and what will bring us the most peace and joy at the end.

Take time to think about who you have guided and who has guided you, and truly thank them for allowing you the opportunity to guide and for their guidance.

Peace, Love and Joy
Lynne Pietrzyk

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