Total and utter exhaustion!
Exhaustion where you know you gave your all. You laid everything you had on the line.
You walked away with nothing left!
For me, it set in around Thursday at 11:30am… When suitcases had been packed (and unpacked and packed again about 3 times due to carrying around gifts, 17 extra shirts which was the equivalent of 8 lbs in my suitcase, and projectors and staying in two hotels over the course of 3 nights). The 50+ slide presentation, presented. The goodbyes said (to our New Bern Purchasing team). Barely any Coke found (sadly, I’m not kidding, we were in the birthplace of Pepsi). The 5 pages of itemized receipts checked (that’s no lie). And we were loaded up in a GMC Yukon to make our trek back to TN from the lovely conference site of Atlantic Beach, NC. (Don’t have too much pity on us, we actually just took the Yukon for a 1 hour drive & hopped the plane…no added team bonding of “punch bug, no punch back,” through an 8-hr car ride to TN–we were team bonded out!)
Myself and 2 other managers had completed our first 2-day offsite purchasing workshop for our team, and it was PERFECT!
Okay, so maybe not perfect to a “T” but with only having 2 months to plan it (all the articles I researched showed “to do” lists up to 6 months out!) and my perpetual positivism (*grinning*), it really went off without a hitch!
We brought 15 people together for team bonding…and bonding we did! (Just ask my team…I am the Queen of Team Bonding…the cheesier, the better in my book). We didn’t just bond at the evening dinner events out on the back patio with the waves crashing in the background (yes, be jealous) but also during the two days of sitting in no-window rooms, discussing the highs and lows of what we do everyday…babysitting and firefighting, also known as “Purchasing.”
We started the day promptly at 8am, thanking them for the hard work in 2016 of achieving BP. No not gas…”Business Plan”. We set a few ground rules, which also included a gift…a Snickers bar, just in case anyone turned “diva” during our critical discussions. Then we actually got started with the day having each person put together a slide of photos or memes or videos to “introduce” themself within a 5 minute time slot, where everyone spoke for 8 minutes (yes, you read that correctly). But come on, who doesn’t love getting up in front of your peers, talking about yourself, to a totally captive (eh…”forced” captive) audience. Then it was Coffee break time, which also came with muffins & pastries…Yum (well I hope they were good, I actually didn’t get to try one).
Throughout the rest of the days, we had overviews of how the interactions should be, set expectations for the upcoming year, had some lunch by the sea, where we discovered hotel guests out by the pool in bathing suits. I tried to explain that we were also in suits, just a different type… (not buying it) . And there may have been some plotting on how to relocate the projector to display against the hotel & circle together the lounge chairs for the afternoon session, but since they were stuck having me mostly in charge, the relocation didn’t happen. (I’m cheesy, not easy…)
We had breakout sessions where the team could give their inputs of what is (and isn’t) working. We bonded through music and a game of “hot potato” (and yes, it was noted as such on the agenda-I told you I’m cheesy) to show the analogy of owning up vs. passing the buck.
The team laughed; some until they cried at the jokes and dry sense of humor we discovered in some of our folks. They brought up the critical points, no matter how critical because it needed to be noted. A few of them tried to compensate for the lack of Coke by swaying me to drink a “Dr. Wham…The Cure for the Common Cola” #didntwork. They asked good questions. And most importantly, they seemed to have left feeling appreciated, giving the feedback that they fully enjoyed the workshop.
So the exhaustion of team dinners, staying up to rehearse slides (My apologies to the poor soul on my left, who had the pleasure of hearing purchasing topics and welcomes and transitions at midnight…), checking presentation order to match agenda time slots, and ensuring everyone was always accounted for (I will forever be a momma bear-Did it with youth groups, my own kids, and it won’t stop for my teams…and apparently it’s a nickname I have). And while the further exhaustion of setting the table places with gifts of gratitude, always being “on cue” for the discussions, and coordinating the details during the event, drains the ever-living life from you, I walked away knowing I laid it all out with the intention to bring nothing home with me.
But I did. I brought something home with me. And it wasn’t a souvenir.
It was a renewed scope. Refreshed vision. Re-energized passion. Why Or How, you might ask… through them. Through their excitement and renewed passion and sense of gratitude to us for taking our time out (& away) to simply show appreciation. Sure, we set some hard tones, some new levels of expectations, but when it coincides with gratitude, anyone can bare the brunt of brutal much better. (I should Copyright that slogan😉)
And oddly enough, my pastor’s message for today was 100% confirmation of it all.
The title: How we can be “uncommon” in our communication.
The How: by giving and showing- Praise, Thanksgiving, Affection, Encouragement, Environment of Kindness, Truth in Love, and Prayer.
ALL of those things happened last week, in some form or fashion. WoW!
So while the weekend didn’t fully allow for the exhaustion to wear off, it settled and now resonates in my soul that all the work was for something greater and was purposed!
…but did I mention that I’m glad to be back in TN where they actually serve Coke more than Pepsi! Thank you Jesus!