I write about some pretty eclectic stuff in this space. Sometimes I’m marvelling at the simple joys of a growling Chewbacca mask. Other times I’m shaking my head at how a company that offers cleaning services might choose to advertise them by littering my front step. From the peculiar culinary tastes of my children to the exhilaration of going unscripted, I write with a light heart in an effort to both entertain and, hopefully, enlighten you for a brief interlude in your day.
Today, with Orlando still fresh in my mind, I write with a heavier heart. Such events offer a stark and brutal reminder that our lives are ephemeral and our future is not guaranteed. It is a lesson that hits uncomfortably close to home as a father and as a friend to many members of the LGBT community.
And yet, painful though it may be, it is a lesson I hold in my heart as I put virtual pen to virtual paper to speak with all of you today. All of us, myself included, consider ourselves to be hard workers. Most of us feel our jobs, indeed our lives, have purpose. And because of that, sometimes we get swept up in the minutiae of our to do lists.
We dwell on real or imagined slights from dissatisfied customers on social media. We obsess over ad copy or photo resolution, quibble over pennies and work through lunch after lunch to meet arbitrary deadlines. The core values we give voice to in our mission and values statements, with exhortations to work with compassion, generosity and humor, are easily tucked into the dustiest corners of our websites to be forgotten in the mania of the next “critical” project.
Mind you, I am not suggesting that the details of our jobs are trivial. Attention to such detail is often the difference between something that’s truly great and something that’s just good enough. But we also need to remember that while some things are important, lowercase i, other things are Important, uppercase I.
So yes, the task at hand, whatever it is, is important, lowercase i. But the teamwork, creativity and the human relationships forged in the process of the task are Important, uppercase I, because these are the things that will live on long after the task is complete. In other words, our customers and co-workers, associates and friends may soon forget the brochure or the email or the tweet, but they will remember when we helped them, supported them, made them feel cared for and, indeed, loved.
And, really, isn’t that what living is all about?