It’s not really our style to write without a quote or clip for inspiration. But I’ve been struggling with writer’s block all year, and today my VP of Operations shared a metaphor that I knew I had to pass on to you.
Consider a man standing face to face with an elephant. When you ask him to describe his experience, he says that when the elephant flaps his giant ears, the man is cooled by the breeze. He describes looking past the long lashes and into the eyes, into the gentle and wise soul of his huge companion. He describes being wrapped in the pachyderm’s powerful trunk and passing handfuls of peanuts through the ivory tusks and into the mammoth mouth.
Now consider a second man who is standing on the wrong side of the same elephant. When he tells his tale (pun intended) he says “It’s a giant butt. No really…it’s just a giant butt. Baby got back. Yesterday, this thing peed, and I about drowned. It pooped, and I’m still looking for my car. It stinks. A lot.”
Empathy is seeing the whole elephant. When you’re standing up front, don’t forget that it’s not all motherhood and apple pie. Somebody’s standing on the other side and dealing with the consequences of the actions taken at the front. The view’s not so magnificent, and they’re going to want to join you up front soon. When you’re standing on the back-side, consider what’s going on up front. When is it your turn to take over at the helm? When you’re up front, wouldn’t you want to be sure that someone was going to clean up the peanuts from the other side? Empathy is about seeing the whole elephant.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Don’t exhaust yourself on a day that has already ended. Use that energy to move on and into the next day, full of hope and opportunity.
– Lao Tzu
May you find strength in the ones who love you. These are the ones who risk heartbreak to show you they care. Love is unconditional. No matter what, they choose to love you.
May you gain courage from each person to whom you give your heart openly. You lay your heart on the line every time you care for them. To love someone is to be the most genuine version of yourself. That vulnerability is unparalleled.
You have fought for love. You have fought for your happiness. Today is a day to celebrate love in its may forms and revel in the joy love can bring.
I hope that today (and every day) you find a moment to realize how much love surrounds you and know you are more loved than you can possibly imagine.
Love and light,
– Jim Valvano
Today is my father’s birthday. Daddy, Dad, Daddio, Papa Bear. (As I grew, so did the list of names I called him by.)
My father has always reminded me, even during my dark moments, that he loves me and that I make him so incredibly proud. Living my life to the fullest is the best thing I can do for him as I carry not only his looks, but his stories, his jokes, and his unfailing efforts to make a difference in the lives of his family. He believed in my every step of the way, and I am a better person for it.
I love you with all the hearts, Papa Bear.