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  • Writer's pictureRobert Norton

She was a terrific list

Updated: Jun 24, 2022

In a retreat I participated in this Fall, our facilitator, Nicholas, asked us to recall a particularly joyful moment from the past month. Each of us shared a memory: a sweet moment in the car on a road trip, playing on the floor with a child, sitting in the sun with a sister.

When we had all taken a turn, Nicholas pointed out that the common thread in every one of our stories was that these moments were simple,and they were shared with the most important people in our lives.

As we discussed what made these simple moments special, it became clear that they were times when we were in the "here and now" and not in our heads. They were moments when our loved ones felt we were truly present, caring, and attentive. We didn't want anything from them; we were simply happy to be with them.

I spend a lot of time wanting things from people. I am relentlessly planning, plotting, and problem-solving. I may be the world's most excellent maker of lists.

I have this image of Quinn at the podium at my funeral reminiscing, "She was a Great List. She always remembered everything we needed to do. It was magical, really, how many things she could keep track of. She was always right there with a task or a chore. What a Terrific List she was."

But, alas, no child wants a list for a mother.

What our loved ones want from us are simple, shared moments. The same applies in our roles as leaders and colleagues. Yes, our teams need direction and momentum, but they also need us to be present, caring, attentive to them in the "here and now."

What is the simplest, sweetest moment you can create with someone you care about today? Drop your agenda and go create it. Trust me; your list can wait.


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