I returned to work after being off for a few days due to the passing of a loved one and there was a card on my desk. I immediately assumed that the card was a condolence card. Would make sense, right? When I opened the card and realized that it wasn't a condolence card, I immediately felt confusion. (What the wha? It's not my birthday. There's nothing special going on.)
I stopped my brain's chatter and continued to read.
As I continued to read the card, my heart swelled.
The card was from a prior employee. The card conveyed gratitude, appreciation, and sadness. You see, I transitioned jobs a couple of months ago. And while my prior employee was excited for the new opportunities that were before me, she was sad to lose me as a supervisor.
As a supervisor/manager, I received little to no feedback from those in my chain. Our days were filled with doing, with busyness, with getting the job done. In my experience, it's typically expected that the leader gives feedback to the team, not the other way around. (Thankfully that's slowly changing.). And although I communicated my openness to feedback, it was a rare occurrence that I received any — positive or negative.
Getting the card was tremendously meaningful for me. Although I didn't need validation of my efforts, it was extremely thoughtful of her to communicate her thoughts/feelings about my leadership.
The unexpected gift of connection and gratitude can never, ever be underestimated. It didn't cost her much, but I will remember her kind act for the rest of my life.
What unexpected gift can you be/give today to someone else?
Be open to what comes.