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February Thoughts ...

The first month of 2023 flew by and we’re now smack dab in the middle of February.

Most of us have put the holidays behind us and are moving forward into the new year. February brings us some holidays, including Valentine’s Day.

I’m an outright sucker for holidays! I’m pretty sure it started as a child and has grown with me as an adult. I love celebrations in general, and holidays are always a good excuse. Valentine’s Day is and has always been a favorite!

To start, celebrating love is always a good idea! We spend way too much time focused on the negative and dealing with toxic relationships and issues. Love comes in so many varieties! From just a nice thought, to friendships, to family, to partners; Valentine’s Day is sort of a full-service holiday! Hearts, roses, pink and red decorations, chocolates, cards, champagne – there’s not one thing associated with this holiday that I don’t like.

Another reason I like this holiday is that a gesture means something.

Sending a card or remembrance can touch a soul. Acknowledging someone and just relishing their friendship or relationship with you is a bonus. Valentine’s Day for me is a major E holiday! What a great day to practice the art of encouragement!

My adult children and grandchildren will all have cards and small gifts. They all enjoy unexpected gifts, and I’m never one to send the same thing to them! While the adults act rather blasé about it all, they like it and maybe even expect it! The grandchildren delight in receiving mail and anything that comes along! My spouse and I share silly cards and often have a special dinner planned for just the two of us. We value the fun we have in celebrating others and love.

Professionally, to those I work closely with, I endeavor to celebrate with them. When I was the CEO of a large association, every employee was acknowledged directly on the holiday and special food or fun was scheduled for the day. They helped plan the activities and, despite a few naysayers, almost all looked forward to it. Many times, staff would share that this was their only valentine! Those small gestures meant more to some than others!

This blog is about more than celebrating Valentine’s Day. It is a reminder of the power of encouragement in small gestures.

Words, actions, events, even a cup of coffee shared with someone, can make an impact. If we are to truly come together and collaborate with each other, understanding the value of these gestures is important. Team building is built on words, actions, gestures and experiences. The impact carries!

This month is also Love the Bus Month for school transportation, it’s Black History Month, a Presidents’ Day holiday is also thrown in. And I’m sure there are other celebrations and special days we can use!

In my younger years, I had a relationship with someone who was what I called “the master of the grand gesture.” On Valentine’s Day, I would get two dozen long-stemmed roses delivered to my office with a gigantic card. Everyone from the office would see the arrival and knew who it was from. It was big and impressive. It was meant to be. It was almost more for their approval than mine. It was a grand gesture guaranteed to capture attention. The first time I was flattered. The grand gesture was the whole valentine. It was not personal nor did it build our relationship.

I learned a huge lesson from this. It’s not about the cost, size or opinions of others; it is about the receiver’s perception. I would have been fine with a rose and a card given to me in person, with a special message on the card. Never underestimate the value of personal in your celebrations!

How will you use February to build your relationships and your team?

Will you be “the master of the grand gesture”
or will you be the sincere voice of support and encouragement?



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