The following blog post originally ran in the St. Louis American.
Last week, I woke up laser-focused on introducing a new workout routine into my day. As a busy leader with minimal down time, I knew I had to quickly craft a step-by-step action plan to ensure my workout goals would be achieved. So that is exactly what I did.
I had decided on weightlifting and boxing, so I reached out to an experienced personal trainer who operates out of a small, safe studio. His immediate reply overwhelmed me because the time commitment sounded impossible with my current schedule.
It was now 8:00 a.m. My first work meeting of the day was about to begin. So much for executing my perfect workout strategy. I sunset the idea. My dreams of lifting and boxing were now in the rearview mirror.
That night I was a bit overcome by guilt and began replaying the morning in my head. In a moment of reflection, I decided to ideate further and began to view “lifting” through a totally different lens. I recognized I had already been accomplishing this since a very early stage in my life. Though obviously not the same literal definition, the lifting I reflected on was the intentional focus on lifting others daily – a commitment I could absolutely continue making and even champion. You see, we all can identify accessible ways to lift others during normal times, and especially during challenging times.
Here are a few easy ways to successfully incorporate lifting others into our daily routines resulting in significant return on our unique personal investments.
- Send gratitude letters, a handwritten note, or a quick text to thank people for their presence in our lives or for a kind gesture of support they recently offered. It may be just what they needed to hear or see at that moment.
- Form a mentoring relationship with a young professional that you can help develop. If your organization does not have a formal mentoring program, why not try spearheading an initiative? Developing diverse talent at your company is a great way to start.
- Agree to coach or sponsor someone who does not have the access you do. Become an advocate that helps accelerate their path to success. This is an excellent way to help grow and position some of the under-recognized talent in the St. Louis region.
- Consider donating to local nonprofit efforts to help neighbors experiencing hard times and unexpected challenges or those disproportionately impacted by systemic challenges in our community.
- Discover additional ways your talent and time can be maximized through immediate volunteer efforts. Your support is desperately needed during these extraordinarily unprecedented times.
While I still plan to connect with a trainer to put my new boxing gloves to good use once things are much safer after COVID, for now, I am perfectly content with how I have redefined “lifting” for myself. I hope these ideas inspire you to do the same.
Michelle Tucker is president and CEO of United Way of Greater St. Louis.