What will they say at your awkward circle?

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall

In my department, we have a tradition where we say goodbye to an outgoing employee by standing around in an awkward circle and telling stories about their time with the organization. Due to the large size of our department and how we’re divided into brand teams, there usually ends up being only a few close colleagues that share stories. It’s a really nice (and often hilarious) way to honour a colleague on their way out of the organization.

This past Friday, we had  an awkward circle for a colleague who had been with the organization for nearly four years – a lifetime considering the average tenure at my company is less than two years. In an unprecedented event, everyone (nearly 30 people) had a story to tell. It was so fascinating and inspiring to see the impact that one individual could make on such a large group of people.

And although there were some slightly inappropriate stories about drinking, most of the common threads woven through the stories were about my colleague’s strong work ethic, great sense of humour, and never-ending energy that enabled him to work hard and party hard. Nearly all of the people that reported to him said that he was one of the best bosses they had ever had. That is powerful stuff!

As I stood there (awkwardly), listening to the stories, I started to ask myself the question: “What will they say at my awkward circle?” This forced me to have a difficult conversation with myself about what kind of legacy I wanted to leave in this organization, and more importantly, what I needed to change about my actions and behaviours in order to make that future a reality.

What will they say at your awkward circle?


2013: A Year of Action


Richard Branson (Founder, Virgin Group) recently posted this. As someone who is an obsessive list-maker, this really hit home for me. I can’t tell you how many half-written drafts and to-do lists are saved on my iPhone, on sticky notes (virtual ones on my MacBook and physical ones on my desk). As Mr. Branson points out, having lists isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It provides focus and direction… but, in many cases, can also cause procrastination. Writing it down gives us an excuse to walk away and come back to it “at some point” or “some day” because we have it recorded somewhere.

Enough of that.

I boldly declare 2013 to be a year of action. To stay committed to my goals by making them happen. To hone my writing by hitting publish instead of edit ad nauseum. To fight inertia and ride a positive wave of momentum… and being open to where it takes me. To not simply sit back and be inspired by the actions of others, but to do things myself that may inspire others. To discover what I’m truly, madly, deeply passionate about and pursue it with enthusiasm, focus, and determination. To take those small steps toward big goals with long journeys. To leave a positive legacy on this beautiful world. To be humble and grateful, always. 

Let’s do this!