If COVID has taught us anything (okay, it’s taught us a lot of things), it’s that we have a whole heck of a lot of unsung heroes that don’t get their due.
When I worked in healthcare, it wasn’t uncommon for nurses to get yelled at (and not just those helping women in labour). When I worked in the service industry, it’s incredible how many people treated us like we were gum on their shoe (if they noticed us at all). And when I hear people I love and respect trash teachers for their cushy jobs, I want to counter with “oh yeah, would YOU like to spend all day teaching YOUR kids?” (Okay maybe that is a little harsh…I’m sure their kids are quite lovely).
Haven’t we all witnessed incivility, criticism and even concept toward and about people and professions? Although sadly, it still happens, this year has brought with it a greater appreciation of invisible heroes that often go unrecognized.
Celebrating Invisible Greatness
Do you remember going for a walk when you were a kid in the fall? (Okay this reference might not translate for those of you lucky folks who live in warmth all year long so bear with me for a moment). You would walk along, picking up fallen leaves, and bring them back to your kindergarten classroom or house or community centre. You’d be given a lightweight piece of paper and pencil, and asked to lightly rub back and forth. Before long, the definition of the leaf would show through. What was invisible was made visible. And in a different but equally beautiful form.
We can make invisible heroes in our lives visible. Those who are likely so humble they’re like those leaves all around us. Minding their own business. Making our lives more colourful and beautiful. Expecting no acknowledgement for doing what they do.
Imagine what would happen if we never stopped noticing this greatness? What if we took the effort to study, nurture, bring it out?
COVID is the year we’ve seen the many shades and tones of individual contributors and professionals that make our worlds so much richer.
Let’s recognize the invisible greatness all around us!
In my recognition keynote, I often ask:
What is a department, role or person in your organization that is an unsung hero? Something everyone depends on? A team that goes above and beyond, often quietly and unassumingly? Who would you celebrate if they were here with us today?
It takes maybe half a second before people share (in a virtual keynote blowing up the Chat or live shouting it out) name after name and department after department of amazing unsung heroes. Not so unsung in those moments (In virtual it’s even more special as those folks are often the ones seeing their name or department mentioned…talk about feeling the love).
Recognition Is Everyone’s Job
Let’s take a moment to think about all of the people in your world who are always there for you – at work, in your family, in your community. In the comments below, list a person, profession, organization, or association that deserves huge appreciation. Let’s see if we can create a recognition ripple effective to start 2021 off right. I’ll start us off. You continue:
- My mom (and your mom…)
- Long term care nurses
- Virtual school teachers (especially my daughter’s history teacher for teaching about social issues, not just dates)
- Administrative professionals (thank you, Monica!)
- Daycare workers (like Lynn in Coburg celebrates every year →)
- CRA (someone made CERB happen)
- Middle managers
- My therapist
- My husband (who doubles as my backup therapist)
- Event professionals (Tami, I can’t do it without you)
- Skip the Dishes drivers
- Infection control practitioners
- Laboratory technicians
- Personal support workers
- Transit drivers
- Hospice volunteers
- Crossing guards (like Kim from the City of Brampton celebrated kudos cards and all →)
- Disability services professionals
- Call management centre agents
- Hydro engineers (you know the folks on a ladder in 80km wind..yeah them)
- Public health professionals
- Anyone that’s been redeployed
- Anyone that’s started a job during COVID
- Anyone that’s worked the frontline of COVID
I know that’s just the tip of the iceberg
Let’s create a 2021 ripple effect. Let’s get really specific. Let’s add to this list, let’s add specific names to this list, let’s drill down on this list. Please comment below. And why not forward to someone or a professional group that we need to celebrate more of in 2021.
Let’s keep the momentum of appreciation going so no one leaves this crisis wondering, “did anybody care?”
For more ideas to help you recognize invisible greatness in others, check out these blog posts: