Bucket List Item

The pain was getting worse. I knew I was injured. Yet, I also knew I had to keep going. Stopping was not an option. From the depths of my soul I prayed for help to finish. Getting up at 5am, four to five days, every week for the last six months. I’ve worked so hard for so long… Oh my goodness! Is that Mile 26…?!

Several Years ago, I decided to complete a Bucket list item and run a marathon. My year-long training showed me attributes I did not know I had. Not only did they serve me well, three of them I truly learned
to admire about myself.

Courage – To say it takes a lot to run a marathon (or any race of distance for that matter) is an understatement. For me it became a lifestyle change. While I embraced it fully, I was scared. At the time,
no one in my family or any of my friends were runners. Not only did I have to make new friends; I had to trust people I hardly knew or just met to show me how to attain a goal that seemed so beyond my reach.

Resourcefulness: I had to learn how to eat, how to properly hydrate, get adequate rest, and how to dress. I joined a running group and hired a personal trainer. I trusted myself, and the right people and tools became available.

Gratitude – I learned to be grateful for everything. It was my first time to undertake such a major goal. At first, I simply followed everyone around me. The more I learned the stronger I became, and the more
appreciative I was.

Through my use of courage, resourcefulness, and gratitude I completed my first marathon and went on to run several more half marathons.

The Coffee Connection

In elementary school I enjoyed my first cup of coffee. One Saturday morning my maternal grandfather (or “Grandpa” as I called him) made me a small cup of coffee with lots of cream and sugar. The taste was magical. The silky-smooth feeling along with the warmth and sweetness… It etched a pleasant childhood memory that I can still experience to this day.

Many Saturday mornings I enjoyed coffee in the kitchen with Grandpa. He was a man of few words. There wasn’t a great deal of conversation as he made breakfast and hummed. The aromas of the kitchen engulfed me in love, and the initial stages of communication. Learning to speak less and listen more.

That lesson Grandpa shared has served me well over the course of my life. Coffee is truly a way to connect. Growing up I learned the importance of networking and meeting new people. Whether it is tea,
coffee, or juice. The beverage is not as important as the fellowship and communication. The understanding that takes place between the parties.


Final Roundtable Interview

Stepping off the airplane I was very nervous. The Chicago O’Hare airport is quite a frenetic place. Although I was no stranger to traveling, this situation was totally different. I was not on vacation. I located
the rather empty shuttle bus and took my seat.

Taking a deep breath, I began to visualize the roundtable interview. My interview coach advised me to listen more that I spoke. Show my ability to listen, process information, and resolve conflict in real time. Also show my ability to think independently, while also being a team player.

My mind was racing with scenarios as I checked in for the interview. In my nervous state, I focused on the words of my coach. She congratulated me on being invited to the final interview. Less than five percent of all applicants receive this prestigious invitation.

As I followed the other candidates into the conference room, I was amazed at how prepared I felt. The questions asked by the panel were almost identical to the scenarios discussed with my coach. The mistakes she told me not to make, I noticed several candidates make them…repeatedly.

Lastly, we were divided into two groups and given the final challenge. I listened intently. Provided my independent solutions. And supported my teammates as a final decision was reached. Our facilitators thanked us for our time and sent us to another conference room.

What happens now? No feedback about our team interactions? Or our choice of problem solving? Did I hear my name called? I stood slowly because my head was swimming with fears of the unknown. My coach
didn’t mention this part. Where are we going?

After exchanging pleasantries, the woman I followed identified herself as a member of Human Resources. She immediately congratulated me…an offered me a flight attendant position. She further advised that
depending on which city I chose would determine the date my seven-week training would begin.

On the way home, I called my coach. She was overjoyed. As a retired flight attendant, she explained that less than 1% of all applicants are invited to training and hired. As we spent the next several minutes
celebrating the victory, deep inside I knew. The next chapter of my life was about to begin. I was delighted to see how it would unfold.

The Teaching Phone Call 

The caller was noticeably angry and frustrated. Our law firm represented the insurance company, and she was the claimant. Normally these situations require an abrupt request for caller contact information, and a quick end to the call.

However, today was different. That morning on the way to work I had listened to a personal development program on the topic of communication. One tip was to ask the question “What else could this mean?”

So instead of interrupting the caller I simply allowed her to talk. I listened intently. After several minutes I heard about her job, her family, and the incident. Then she gave me her contact information.

I felt a pause in the conversation and noticed a kinder tone in her voice. I told her I understood her anger and was sorry for her frustration. After confirming she had my contact information, the caller thanked me and hung up.

Once the call ended, I realized she wasn’t angry with me. The caller was unhappy about the situation. While I could not fix the problem, I could provide a sympathetic ear. What else could it mean? For the caller, I could let her know she was viewed as a person. And not just another claim number.

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