As we approach the end of a long year, let’s pause and celebrate all those very un-grand little things we  did in 2023.

While we always applaud and call out all the grand jobs, grand leaders, grand companies, and grand gestures, all year round, let’s just remember, that there’s a very good chance that some days, we’re all just links in the chain – and maybe even links in someone else’s chain. And that’s not necessarily a bad place to be. Because, frankly, not all work is grand, and that’s OK, but it can still be celebrated and appreciated.

Not every day is grand

Research says, and every BBQ conversation you’ve ever had, will tell you everyone has “purposeful work” on top of their list of why they love their job. As we read it, we imagine, world peace, stopping climate change in its tracks, curing an incurable disease, or winning an amazing competition. In reality, ‘purposeful work’ can also be much less grand. It can be simply doing something useful and helpful to someone else. Sitting with a colleague and listening, solving a very small part of a big problem, setting up the room so someone else can give the speech of their life, or grabbing a coffee for someone who’s completing an important paper that you might never read.

And when they smile and say Thanks, it’s a good day.
Not a grand day, but a good one.

Another brick in an important wall?

So many organisations are doing it a little tough right now. Boards, CEOs, COOs, and other Execs, are bent over the desk trying to make good things happen. Trying to squeeze the last few drops out of the last few weeks of 2023, to ensure 2024 starts well. They’ve conscious of the eggshells of the current global and societal debates, trying hard to support good things, while all the while avoiding treading on anybody’s sensitive toes or finding themselves the subject of an unwanted news story. They’re tired, but smiling, while paddling harder than ever to bring hope and possibility to the teams they lead.

And their ask – without any words – a little gentleness, some care, just maybe even a spot of laughter or banter as they see you.

Are you just a brick in their wall? Maybe. But that’s all walls are – a stack of well-placed bricks, all playing their individual brick role, alongside many other bricks. Seeking no glory, nor special callout. Just a little space to play their role alongside everyone else.

Not everyone can a gate or door in the wall every day. Most days, we’re a brick.

What if a good day is making someone else’s day work well

There’s something warmly comforting about being in the audience.

Listening to a good speech, rather than giving it.

Applauding a colleague and smiling wildly for their success.

Supporting someone through a particularly bad patch, so they survive it with dignity. Being their space to vent so no one knows they needed to.

Grabbing a coffee, so someone else could keep going fast.

Finding the photo to complete a presentation.

Staying back for the late train, because someone else needed not to feel totally alone in the office in the dark.

Taking notes for someone else’s meeting, admiring the way they moved a whole agenda forward, and learning from the artfulness.

Sometimes, a very good day is making someone else’s day work well.

Raise your glass and celebrate all the little things.

So, as we close the year, take a moment to raise a glass and celebrate all those very un-grand things you did in 2023 – When you held up as a link in a long chain, a brick in the wall, or a singular set of hands in a resounding round of applause.

And just as importantly, raise a second to the times you did it when no one even knew except you. Because sometimes that’s an even better day!

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