Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Teams: Finally Not The Last One Chosen

“I am a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn't have the heart to let him down...”
~ Abraham Lincoln

I find it pretty perfect that my inaugural post has to do with building a support team. You see, throughout my life, I’ve always considered myself timid and just left of introverted, a bit of a loner with a few tight friends. I’m the girl at the party who’s not right in the mix of things… not over in a corner, but sort of on the edge of the action observing and enjoying from a slight distance. I’m the one who, back in elementary school, wasn’t either liked or disliked really but definitely was one of the last chosen for kickball or dodgeball. I’m not an uber-confident go-getter, not the kind of professional phenom who can work a room and network like a goddess-on-parquet-flooring.  

And yet, in recent years, just about every major event along my twisty career path has happened due to some amazing people who have come into my life through work, people who have put themselves out there to support me in whatever crazy thing I wanted or needed to do. So I guess that means that somewhere along the way I stopped just observing, stopped waiting to be picked and started simply being “part of,” and I didn’t even know it.

Let me take a step back and introduce myself. I’m the Megan part of Li.P.P. Clearly, I’m a latecomer, as my initial didn’t make the acronym. Either that or Li.M.P. was voted down as not quite as appealing as Li.P.P. You decide which version of that story you prefer.

I’m a working mother of two tiny people who have both the audacity and the grace to have minds of their own. My husband is a very patient person, which allows me to let my spirit be a little freer than it might be otherwise, though my husband probably wishes I would focus some of that spirit more regularly toward dusting or vacuuming. He flat out believes that I am insane when it comes to my love of running; his theory is that one should run after something, not aimlessly or just because you can.

When it comes to building a support team, people who can rally around each other and be there for each other, my husband has the personality to be successful, not I. He’s the one who gravitates to the man or woman at a get-together who seems least at ease, and he makes it his mission to make that person feel comfortable, included and special. This is not my forté.

However, somewhere along the way, I must have done something right – earned a Karmic merit badge of some kind – that led fate to put amazing people in my path.

·         The one who called me patiently and consistently during the eight doomed months I attempted in vain to be an at-home mother (at-home mothers deserve medals and annuities and free daily massages and nightly doses of wine and a continuous infusion of chocolate, courtesy of us all, no joke) to encourage me to come work with him and his team.
·         The one who helped me find focus and the ones who sent incredible application statements on my behalf when I started to pursue teaching.*
·         The one who kept me sane and on solid ground during some dark hours in a job that finally beat me, something that I didn’t think could happen.
·         The ones who to this day tell me that I’m valued and valuable – both at work and in life – at the most random and perfect and critical times.

There are so many “the ones” stories that I could share. Of all of this, I hope you get two important takeaways:

·         First, take a moment and consider who your professional support team is. Have them in your head? Now how about your friends? Alrighty then, ready? Now squish them together into a big jumble. THAT, my friends, is your true professional support system. Of course, this is way oversimplified. The point I’m trying to make is that most of the times I’ve leaned on this professional support team of mine, everyone I’ve called upon has also lived in my mental realm of “friend.” It’s possible – these days almost probable – that these groups in your life overlap. Sure, there are situations that require boundaries, but don’t box yourself in too much. Allow your friends to support you with work stuff, and show them support back. Show interest in what they do for a living and let them learn something about what you do. Same with workmates. Where appropriate – do I have to post links to what I mean by this, or may I trust us to be adults? – open up and be the real you, not just You-In-Your-Job. The friends you make at work may turn out to be your friends for a very long time, perhaps even long after you are no longer workmates.

·         Second, and this is most important so listen up… ready?... when you see the new kid at work standing off in the corner observing the goings-on, the one who possibly is too timid still to get into the action, be sure to pick her for your kickball team. And not last. It’ll pay off, I promise.

"I get by with a little help from my friends."
~ The Beatles

Author: Megan Stanish

* It’s a long story, but I halted the Master’s in Teaching program after my first semester, even though I loved it and earned straight As. Long story for another time, but suffice it to say this is still an ardent dream of mine.


Thank you for visiting us here today at Writers Li.P.P. Be sure to check back tomorrow for Lindy’s insights! And remember to comment every day for a chance to win an exclusive Writers Li.P.P. t-shirt in our drawing next Sunday at midnight. Follow this blog for another chance to win.


Tami Brothers said...

Welcome Megan!!! I love these other two ladies, so I'm sure I'll fall in love with you, too... Well, you know what I mean. Not in a stalkerish sort of way......

Seriously, I can't wait to "meet" you around the site here and read more posts. I love the Team approach. It is very hard to remember to do this. Especially at a writer's meeting. I used to be so good at going up and introducing myself to new people. Then I actually knew people and had to say hi to them, too. It gets a bit overwhelming and I think I've let my new friend finder radar slip. I'll need to get that fixed.

Thanks for a great post today.


WritersLiPP said...

Hi Tami, and thank you for the compliment and comment. I know what you mean about how to manage interacting at meetings and being overwhelmed. Hopefully by the time we're all 100, we'll be over it? :)

Again, thank you!

Pam Asberry said...

I am so happy to have you on board, Megan, and great inaugural post! Even though I've never had a corporate job, I am often part of a team - whether it's at a piano teacher's association meeting, a writer's group meeting, or just mingling at a party. There are a lot of good lessons here for all of us. Thank you, thank you!

Lindy Chaffin Start said...

Talk about being a tough act to follow, Megan, wow! Great post and welcome. I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am to be in that "worked together 100 years ago and are still friends" category. Makes my heart happy. Can't wait to read and see more of you. Smooches. - Lindy

Julee J. Adams said...

Welcome to the team!

My Briggs-Myers profile has me as definitely an introvert, but I can pass. I know Pam from high school (a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away) when we competed with another friend to see who would get the most listings in the yearbook index.

So, I know what you mean about sometimes having to force yourself to do things. I know you'll be a success, though! Best wishes!

Megan said...

Nice to meet you, Julee! It's interesting how we natural introverts can excel at extrovert activities when we put our minds to it, isn't it? Thank you so much!

Megan said...

Pam and Lindy: Thank you for including me on this journey and for all of your support. You are two of the "ones" who really brighten my life.