Plain and simple.  The person who created this display is not Relentlessly Passionate (Shine Principle #8) about recognizing outstanding employees.  I know this because I have passed these display cases at least twice a week for an entire semester and never has there been anything in them.

To be fair, I am sure the person whose idea it was is a good manager.  She probably has an intuitive sense that recognizing employees is a good thing to do.  She might have read a book or attended a seminar telling of increased work performance among employees who feel valued.  The person responsible might even have been recognized herself.  She might have gotten so caught up in the warmth of feeling valued that she decided, on that very day, to appoint someone in charge of staff recognition.

Whomever was responsible for the display cases most assuredly values the idea of recognition.  She may even love the idea of recognition, but she is not relentlessly passionate about it.

And that is why the display cases pictured above do not shine.  

There is another side to the coin.

What messages do innocent bystanders like us receive when we pass an empty (or outdated) display case designed to recognize excellence in University employees?  Should I infer there are no outstanding staff worth recognizing?  Not a single person on staff who shines?  Should I assume the University is so distracted with bigger fish to fry that this was an easy commitment to let go? Or should I presume that this place - this institution that, in fact, created display cases because they do value employees - does not value their employees enough to sustain the effort?  No two ways about it.  An empty display case recognizing outstanding employees and departments is a lose-lose. 

How about you?  

What have you created, started, or set up that, much like the display case, is sitting untouched?

For me, it is my goal of completing a triathlon.  

Swim, bike, run.  I get it.  Granted, I still have to learn how to swim, but for the most part this goal should be attainable.  I've read books and articles, my husband completed a triathlon and is supportive of me doing one too, and I have access to everything I need to train.  I even love the idea of doing one.

I'm just not relentlessly passionate about it.  When the time comes for a bike ride in the morning versus a quick run and then back to the house to fold laundry, I opt for the latter.  When my son Ricky, the competitive swimmer, offers to teach me to swim, I say, "no," but then pick his brain about designs for a "Shine Dammit" t-shirt that teenagers will love.  When my husband offers to get me a triathlon bicycle as a holiday gift, I hem and haw and list five or six other things I would like instead.

I say, let it go.  Maybe I would do better if I got out from under the pressure of being a "triathlete" and just worried about being a healthy woman with a long list of other interests.

Our lives are filled with dreams and good intentions, but not all of them are we relentlessly passionate about.  If recognizing staff is an idea you like, but not something you are relentlessly passionate about, then sit up, take notice, and move on.  Energy spent lamenting about not being better at something you like (or even love) is energy not spent on something about which you are relentlessly passionate.  Either delegate staff recognition to someone who is relentlessly passionate about the idea or let it go.  I can live a healthy (and happy) life as a wife, mom, sister, and friend without ever crossing the finish line of a triathlon.  Regular exercise is necessary, yes.  But, a triathlon? No. 

To be relentlessly passionate about something means you never give up.  It means total focus, lasting commitment, tenacity, and a ton of resilience.  As a triathlete, I do not shine and it is ok.  I'm healthy and I am in a different sort of race.  I'm in a race to spread shine.  I am totally focused and committed and, when things aren't moving quickly enough, I'm pretty good at picking myself up and trying again tomorrow.

How about you?  What is your empty display case?  What notion about yourself are you willing to let go of, so you can make room for the thing about which you are relentlessly passionate?  Visit us in the Community Forum, labeled Today's Post and let us know.

Shining off until tomorrow...