If you would, take a second to think about the people who have shaped your life. Not just your personal life, but your professional life as well.
The people who took a chance on you when you were just getting started. People who mentored you, held you to the highest standards and didn't let you shrink away when things got uncomfortable.
As I continue my month-long mission to #MayItForward, those are the people I want to thank.
Sure, I love telling my current co-workers just how awesome they are. I bring in little treats or gifts for them, and I make sure to remember birthdays. But that's all in the present.
My past relationships are what have truly shaped me into the woman I am today.
It took years of reflection for me to realize how lucky I am to have worked with so many amazing people who touched my life for the better.
I haven't talked with many of these people in several years, and most of them live several states away now – but I didn’t want to take the easy way out and just reconnect on social media.
In order to do something a little more personal, I picked out a few fun cards and sent each person a genuine, handwritten note about our journey together.
- I sent one to the school superintendent who treated me as a journalist and a colleague – and not just as another person trying to grab a story.
- I sent one to the college professor who wouldn't let me give up even when I was at my lowest.
- I sent one to the friend who introduced me to the world of special education, which means so much to me today.
- And finally, I sent one to each of the two newspaper editors who not only gave me my first chance at being a writer, but also challenged me daily to think outside the box, dig deeper and write with flair.
I wanted to let all of these people know that I wouldn't be where I am today without their guidance. Even though we didn’t always see eye-to-eye, I wanted to let them know I truly appreciate everything they taught me.
I didn't do this with the hope it would be reciprocated – I simply wanted to share my gratitude.
Regardless of whether I hear back, it feels great just knowing that I’ve put my feelings out there.
And every time I think about them opening one of my cards, I can’t help but smile.