Friday Feels: Building Awesome Things
Coming back from paternity leave was scary as hell.
It was the first time in my entire career (22 years, yes I’m old) where I had taken a leave of absence beyond just normal PTO.
I had always been someone who looked to validate my self-worth through my work (I’m not advocating that’s a healthy thing, but just being honest).
And that mindset is probably continually reinforced by that weird way people ask what you “do?” What they usually mean is “what do you do for work” but it equates your profession to your whole purpose in a way that subtly reinforces that’s all there is to you.
I cringe when people ask me that and usually will reply “you mean, what do I do to make money?”
Maybe that’s why people stress about performance at work more than almost any other stressor we manage?
::insert PSC scream here::
To be honest, it was weird and strange that, as I got ready to come back, I felt myself longing to stay home with my kiddo. I wanted to sit on the floor and play with her all day.
To tell her stories, to watch as she saw a butterfly for the first time.
To witness her first time on the swings at the playground.
To be there when she fell taking her first steps.
This feeling was strange, foreign territory for me.
I never pictured myself as a person who would ever choose that path (though I admire those that do).
So, it’s day one back and I had a catch-up with my manager.
After going through the basics and getting a lay of the land and lots of changes she asked me a simple question: “So what do you want to do now that you’re back?”
It was a curious question.
And I had an unconventional answer — “I want to do big shit.”
I went on to explain that I was going to give up so many moments with my daughter. It was only fitting that I be able to tell her at the end of the day that dad wasn’t with you because he was doing important, impactful work — work that would one day make her proud of me.
So fast-forward to this week and I’m sitting on my couch watching the All Hands on my Portal TV in my living room (gotta get the big screen effect for big moments). And Mark said that one of our core values is now going to be to “Build Awesome Things” and something in my little Texas heart warmed.
That value spoke to my spirit.
It was a much more elegant way of what I was trying to articulate to Vicky last October.
I don’t want to be encumbered by things that bring my focus down — I want to choose to elevate and do “awesome” things.
To build something of value that is lasting and substantial and moves us forward.
I thought building awesome things would make the trade-off of time away from my kid more worth it.
I was buzzing on Tuesday afternoon.
Until Thursday evening…
The pings were poppin’ but I decided that Adriana hadn’t had enough fun with her dad this week.
I loaded up the kid, muted Workchat, and headed to the park.
And there I connected two dots that I hadn’t seen before.
To “Build Awesome Things” at work I need to also ensure I’m building awesome things in me as well.
You can’t build what you don’t understand.
And there is nothing more awesome to me than watching my kid giggle, laugh and wave “hola” to everyone at the park — full of the abandon and wonder of being a kid on a swing.
And that teaches me what awesome looks like.
It sparks joy.
It brings light into dark places.
It brings the promise of happiness just a tiny bit closer.
It connects the world.
And that, mi gente, is truly awesome.
Take care of each other,