I am just getting back from AHR Expo where I shook hands with some of the most successful women and men in the business! I always look forward to this event because it is unique to our industry as we get to see companies like Armstrong Fluid Technologies, WATTS, Schneider Electric, ABB, Danfoss, and WEG exhibiting innovative technologies that will help building owners save energy and run their pump systems efficiently. You can see all our fun here.
Shaking hands with these amazing leaders, I learned the most in the 5 hours after I left GWCC. Here’s what happened…
After all the “Connected” talk at the show, I decided to connect to my new Jeep’s hands-free and get a few things accomplished while driving home. Suddenly, I got a text message on my CarPlay screen and was able to have Siri read it to me. So cool! Especially because the text had the monkey emoji in it. Too Funny… Go ahead… say monkey emoji out loud… You’re welcome! LOL. As I drove from Atlanta back to Tuscaloosa, I made several hands-free calls, and I was thankful for the productivity on my drive home with a full inbox. Thank you, Technology!
I was almost home when I received a call from Carter saying they (my family) was on their way to eat and then off to my son’s basketball game. I was so tired but decided to drive straight to the game. When my family arrived, I was greeted differently from each of my three children. Jackson (13) was in game mode, so I only got a fist bump. My middle child, Andrew (10), welcomed me with a hug, and Karli (8) yelled “Mommy!” loudly, running in for a big hug. Then I walked over and gave Carter a thankful kiss.
As I sat on the bleacher, I could feel my entire body. I was officially all out of charm. I had talked, walked, and danced so much I had worn the nail polish off my freshly painted toenails! I try not to let people know when I’m tired, but I barely talked to anyone outside of my family that night. All I wanted to do was be there for my son. I sat and spoke with Carter and Andrew about the Great Handshake while Karli played games on my phone. Andrew was excited about his day. He had shadowed a teacher and when they asked him if he would like that career, his answer was ‘yes’ and ‘no’. “Yes, because I could work on a team,” Andrew explained. “No, because I am going to be an engineer at MIT.” My eyes got big and I smiled from ear to ear because I know so many brilliant engineers, and his declaration just blew me away.
My mind quickly flashed back to a few days earlier, when I had received a call from home. I was focused on the event, seeing our clients, meeting new people, and not at all ready to get a call from home to talk about Andrew’s missing blazer! When I’m traveling, Carter usually has everything under control, but this time, I got a call asking where Andrew’s blazer was. He had the final round of “The Great Handshake” competition the next day. He had been practicing and was really excited about it. I had been having dinner with a client, but I stepped into the next booth and took the Facetime call. Andrew was visibly upset. I was then visibly upset – at myself for not laying out the outfit before I left, and at Carter for not just handling that while I was away. We had just been discussing this very topic in our Empowering Women’s group about how to be better organized at home when traveling for work. I let a couple tears flow, cleaned up in the bathroom, then went back to work… Sound familiar to my fellow working moms?
So, back to being with Andrew in the bleachers…I asked how it went… They had not picked the winner yet. The basketball game ended, and Jackson made me proud by being a team player, hustling, and scoring 17 points.
After the game, Karli wanted to ride home with me, so I rearranged the vehicle containing our booth display and materials so she could get in and ride safely – a sheer test of positivity in parenting when you’re already exhausted.
Once in the house, I just wanted to go to bed, but I try to spend a moment with each of my children. So, I listened to Jackson tell me about his game. Karli wanted me to wash her hair, so I did and the water felt so good! I decided I must run a bath! Then, I went to Andrew’s room. He was laying in his bed writing in his journal. I asked what he was writing about, and while he was initially hesitant to show me, he answered, “the great handshake”. I was so proud!
He asked me to lay beside him and then he read me this line: “How to be a leader is good in life because you can help people, you can be trusted, and you can…” he paused, giving me a window to shout, “inspire others!” Andrew smiled and said, “Yes- that’s good!” He was writing about Round 1 and told me how he plans to write about the other rounds too. Having practiced his “handshake” with him, I knew how important this is to him. I wanted to know more, so I asked if he would read his journal entry to me from the beginning. The next moment changed my perspective…
“The Great Handshake is an opportunity to greet new people and give yourself to the other person’s perspective or part of life.” WOW!! I almost cried tears of joy at this little man’s perspective! It was a good reminder that when we shake hands (which I had been doing all week), we should also open up and learn from the other person. I often think hugs (especially when hugging non-huggers) and photos can also be a great way to see into the lives of others.
After this precious moment with my son, I went to run my bath. My daughter was in “my spot” in the bed, and lovingly said she would warm it up for me. This surprised me. I told her I just heard a story about a husband that always warmed his wife’s spot before bed. She said, “I know! I heard you tell daddy about it!” This girl listens to everything! She is also very thoughtful! #Proudmommy Thinking of the way we lean in to others, when I climbed into bed and snuggled up to my daughter, I took a couple pictures to remember this ‘Charli/Karli magic’ moment. Karli looked at the photos and said, “Post that one! You have a sparkle in your eye!”
The next day, when someone commented on the “glad to be home” photo, I thought… Yes, my work/life balance captured in a photo, a hug, and a great handshake!
How do you “lean in” to other people’s perspectives?