Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Power Of Thank You

The past few years have been rough for me as a sorority advisor. Ha....Bestie is laughing at that understatement. I've wanted to quit for the majority of the past two (or more) years. But something kept me going. A good friend who is a fellow advisor, a sweet moment that makes me think I can make a difference, a very successful Recruitment, or a variety of other little moments. And a lot of guilt knowing that if I leave the team, my responsibilities will fall to people who already have more than they can handle right now.

My team is made up of a group similar to every other I've been a part of in life: one or two who are big time doers, one or two who do more than others, and then several who show up 50% of the time at best but never do an ounce extra knowing that the big time doers will of course do it all when needed. I know y'all can all relate as it is the same in every Junior League, sorority, church, charity board, alum committee, community club, etc. And many of us are in the "big time doer" category. We have been since birth. It's just who we are. So we do what we do because it's within our souls to just...you know...do it. But it's exhausting much of the time to do your job plus pick up the slack of others. I mean, this isn't my only gig. This is a volunteer position. A thankless job that I do because I have a passion for my (and all, for that matter) sorority and the potential these women posses. They are so incredibly smart and talented and motivated and exceptional. But they can infuriate and exhaust me too!

Until this past September, my four year mark doing this job, not one single time had I been thanked. Not once! Clearly I don't do this to make friends or get praise. But then after our amazing(and newly altered) Recruitment was over, one lovely young lady said thank you to me. I nearly fell over and started to cry. It was a brief moment but one of the most outstanding moments in my tenure as an advisor. They don't hate me (all the time) and they do know (sometimes) that I am there because I care for and love them so dearly!

Then this semester happened. Started out great. My exec officers are truly incredible! One of the strongest teams I've ever had! But the good was not to stick around too long of course. Chaos ensued. Due to the university, not the women. I was so stinkin' mad at this school for doing what I felt was so very wrong to my women. I went to bat for them. I always go to bat for them but for whatever reason, they seemed to notice this time. I talked to their parents and other advisors and had meetings with the administration and had our big wigs make calls. And I sat and talked to them ad nauseum. Sister to sister. I didn't solve anything. But they took notice and finally realized that there is big time love in my heart for them. And then the sea parted and the thank you emails started filling up my inbox! They had me in tears. I've talked about them non-stop. Nothing has meant more to me as they were all so genuine and sweet. At the end of this past week, the once impossible happened. The university reversed their decision and my girls (and all the other Greeks too) won the battle! I literally squealed with delight. I did not think this was possible. And with that, more gratitude came my way. I just cannot believe it! Four and half years and I finally feel that I am doing some good with this position. I make mistakes all the time. But I have never felt more passionate about my chapter. I see the difference it is making in my life to feel gratitude and I am making a very concerted effort to reciprocate that towards them. The positive attitude is just such an amazing and motivating change of pace!

Is there someone in your life who has gone above and beyond for you or your group? Has anyone thought to say those two little words of gratitude to them? Two words. A phrase we learn in diapers. But one that is often over-looked in our daily lives. I am nearly in tears just telling the very simplified version of this story. Mind your P's and Q's (and yes I know where that phrase comes from), treat others as you would like to be treated and always remember to say "thank you!"

15 comments:

anonymous prep said...

Your first two paragraphs describe my advisor experience perfectly - there have been many moments when I think "why am I doing this" or "does it even matter anymore because the girls don't understand how exhausting and all-consuming it can be"....but like you said so perfectly, there's always something to turn it around. My chapter's advisor team is small and mostly out-of-state so it can be quite an ordeal to get everyone together. I admit that I've been guilty of thanking them for a specific occasion, usually recruitment related, but I'm inspired to write thank you notes for our meeting next week. Nothing big or grand, just a short note that says "thanks for not leaving one or two of us to shoulder this chapter alone", because even if the girls don't always realize what a committment this volunteer gig is, we do.

I'm thrilled that your girls recognized how lucky they are to have such a devoted advisor! Also way to rock at getting the University to change a decision!!

Sherrie said...

I am a teacher and I know how far a thank you can go to making someone feel their efforts are appreciated. It's amazing how easy it is to thank someone, but how many people forget to do it.

KK said...

I try to be that one that thanks people that no one else notices, but I know I miss things and people. It is so encouraging when someone notices you put forth extra effort.

A Town and Country Life said...

I have been reading your blog for a while, and knew how frustrated you have been. I am so glad that you stuck it out and are being appreciated now PPC.

Kitchen Belleicious said...

I was in a Kappa Delta at LSU and I know how much our advisor meant to us. Thank you for doing what you are doing for girls out there. They will appreciate it in the future if they don't already. Just found you thru another blog and so glad I did. You are truly inspirational. I am doing a giveaway of Lisa Lenoard jewerly at my cooking blog-would love for you to enter to win! http://kitchenbelleicious.blogspot.com

Wila (aka Ali) said...

Unrelated to your post, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CRICKET said...

Happy BELATED birthday! Thank you is so important even for little things and its something I feel strongly about drilling into the heads of my kids!! Secondly, "I am sorry" is another couple words that can make all the difference. Glad things went well and your support did not go unnoticed.

cMs said...

Happy Birthday!!

A Town and Country Life said...

Happy Birthday

Bumby Scott said...

Thank You.

Always Bumby

Erica said...

A little BBBird said it's your birthday. Happy birthday to you!

Mags said...

Happy Birthday...Hope you are having a good one!!!

Jillian, Inc said...

Wonderful and thoughtful post....and also HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!

The Eternal Intern said...

so true!!
Happy belated birthday!!!
flora xoxo

Southern Web Girl said...

As a fellow sorority advisor, I can relate and I salute you!

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