by Margaret Lukens, New Leaf + Company LLC
In May I completed my year as president of the largest chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers. As part of the volunteer recognition ceremonies that my chapter has observed since its founding 20 years ago (by people far more visionary than I), I was recognized with a thoughtful gift from the board — a consumable, and therefor clutter-free, basket of food from a local gourmet market plus a gift card for a cooking class. This was a great gift. And more than the physical gift, more even than the thoughtful gift of learning in a subject I love, the greatest gift was…
A standing ovation.
In these days of “ovation inflation”, I’m aware that people will stand up for just about any silly thing — any ballet dancer who performs three jumps or four turns in a row, any politician belonging to the admirer’s party, any film star over the age of 35 receiving a lifetime achievement award — anything!
But as the ovation unfolded, I was overwhelmed by the knowledge that this is a group that is marked by its deep appreciation and regard for ALL its volunteers, who are legion, yet not in the habit of standing for any old thing. In other words, I took it personally.
Of all the rewards I have received in my lifetime, this one stands out. I wrote in my “Life List” of things I’d like to do:
View Northern Lights (done 1975)
Visit all 50 states (45 done by 2004)
Help 1,000 people in the world out of poverty (20 done by 2005)
I never thought to write, “receive standing ovation from a group you respect”.
But that’s what I got.
Sometimes my plans work out; sometimes they come out better.
What do you want to do in your life? What have you done so far? What unexpected treasures have you found? Do your plans work out? Or work out better than you’d planned? (Do you give a standing ovation to dancers who do three leaps in a row?) Please join the conversation here.