As you may know from a previous post, my newest hobby is trail running with a group of great people. We go every Saturday morning at 7am. It’s earlier than I like to wake up, but once I get a little coffee in me and start driving over, I start looking forward seeing my new buddies and catching up. Well, this Saturday morning I was running a little late. I drove over to the trailhead and got there at 7:10. I was looking forward to seeing everyone, but I pulled up and noone was there. Darn, I missed them! Unfortunately, the trail splits in many different directions at this particular trail head, so I had no idea which way they went. I was disappointed, but then started running up one of the trails alone.
Well, I think trail running with a group is really fun, but I have to admit that pounding my way up a hill by myself is not nearly as fun. So there I was, running up the hill, step by step, slowly making my way to the top. I was hoping to bump into them, but it was quiet and they were nowhere to be seen. I continued uphill for a few more miles and still didn’t see them. I took my best guess and went along a route where I thought we might intersect, but I made my way around and I was still alone. I got to a point where I realized we should have passed by now. So, I finally gave up and accepted that I missed them. Oh well!
Since I was at the top of the hill, I decided to make the most of it and run over to another vista point so that I could at least get a great view of the bay. I turned up the trail and pounded along step by step. All of a sudden there were a few runners coming towards me on the trail. We started to gasp hello at each other (as trail runners do when they pass each other) and… SURPRISE… it was them! I was surprised! They were surprised! It was such a spontaneous surprise that we had big smiles and high-fived each other. What a treat! After our happy reunion, we ran the second half of our trail run together and made our way back. (Actually, we had a nice little adventure on our way back, but that would qualify for a personal post).
Well, as you can guess, I’m writing this in my work blog because it got me thinking about analogies to work. Can you think of situations where you are heads down into your work, pounding away on something for hours, days, or weeks. You’re working hard, engrossed in a problem or project, just working away. You get so immersed and focused that you start to lose track of what’s going on around you. You might even be stuck in a rut and not realize it. Think about the impact of a nice little surprise! Maybe someone brings you a cookie. Maybe someone takes you out for a cup of coffee. Maybe someone simply takes a minute to stop by and and ask how you’re doing. Maybe someone finds an excuse to have a little celebration for you. All of a sudden you have a little surprise that pulls you out of a rut and brings a smile to your face. Then, you can get back to what you were doing with a renewed energy and perspective. Wow- the impact of a little surprise!
In my little story, the surprise was serendipitous. But, a little surprise can be just as impactful when someone plans it, especially when it has a personal touch.
I’ve been the lucky receiver of a few little surprises from friends and colleagues in the last couple weeks. Thank you! I’ve been the giver of a couple little surprises, too.
Have you had an experience where you had a little surprise- serendipitous or planned- that pulled you out of a rut?
Have you ever given someone a little surprise to help pull them out of a rut?
Here’s a little homework assignment for this week: Find someone who might be stuck in a rut, and give them a nice little surprise! Then, come back and tell me about it.
Feel free to leave a URL with your comments.