Humble Moments and Defining Lessons

June 19, 2015 By Tom

There are a few practical things in life that I’m really proud of:

  • Knowing where every outlet is at every bar, restaurant, brewpub, and watering hole within Broadripple, Mass Ave,  Downtown Mile Square, and Fountain Square. It’s for work purposes, I swear.
  • Being able to fix, build, or adjust just about anything instead of needing to rely on others to do it for me (except painting, that’s always the job of someone else).
  • If it has wheels, I can drive it, 2 wheels, 4 wheels, 8 wheels—I’ll check off the semi truck and trailer at some point in my life just to say I did it.
  • My ability to be tactfully aggressive and have that recognized by others as an asset versus a liability.
  • Having an ability to learn from others, both direct knowledge and skills and indirect feelings and emotions.

lots of program time recently

It’s been a whirlwind of time recently–no days off, a crazy schedule, juggling more than I should be. I’ve been feeling stressed and off-kilter in the last couple of weeks and haven’t really had a chance to unwind and blow off steam and energy to find my balance.

There’s been the early mornings and late nights, being patient while waiting for a few deals to come together, a broken trailer that needed repair, beginning the move into the new office, getting our summer schedule off the ground, and a whole lot more. Nothing has been easy recently, it’s been a lot of juggling and finessing and trying not to drop all the balls I have in the air.

In the midst of all of this—I was reminded last weekend why I do what I do and the driving force behind my goal to make an impact on others…only this time the impact was equally made upon me.

We were out at the Special Olympics Summer Games last weekend and I had an amazing moment that will stick with me for the rest of my life. We had some of the athletes from Delaware County come over towards the end of Saturday evening. I had seen them the previous day but they had not gotten on our bikes. I struck up a conversation with one and he asked if they could ride our bikes, so we began to get them setup and situated.

He then asked if we could help his teammate ride, he explained, “my teammate is blind, but he’s heard us talk about bikes before. He’s never ridden one. Can he try?”

this photo is going in my office as a reminder of why we do what we do

My staff quickly stepped up and helped get him situated, his teammates helped explain to him what was happening. Once we got his feet on the pedals, his instincts took over and he was suddenly pumping his legs up and down at a feverish pace. His peers described when he was going up hill and down hill on the simulator and he smiled and laughed.

And his coach, and my staff, and I…..we stood there in awe of what we were witnessing. His coach and I hugged, both wiped away a tear or two from, being so moved by the moment, and without saying a word understood in that fleeting second why we were all brought together.

and this kid, his shirt says “everybody loves a sexy mummy”….I have no idea, but it made me laugh

In that moment, and in the reflection of that in the days after–I have been reminded that no matter what is going on in life, it’s important to always be aware that we are here to make the world a better place. The stress from work? It’s because I want to create more moment like that. A broken trailer? It’s a chance to bond with some of my team as they help me fix it. Playing phone tag with a corporate partner or wrestling with some minor issue? it’s to help fund the programs that impact thousands of kids and adults across the country.

Every hug this week, from the athletes at the Special Olympics (they love to hug), to my friends, colleagues and peers–it’s helped keep me grounded and aware of the most important things in life: love, family, community, and equality.

All those things I’m proud of, they don’t hold a candle to that feeling of knowing I’m helping make a difference in our community and to help make an impact on others who also make an impact on me.