16. What are your five greatest accomplishments?
Without my having to say so, you girls should know that being your mother is, by far, my greatest accomplishment, and you should know me well enough to know that I do not say that to elicit “awwww” and “how sweet” from whomever may read this. Being blessed with the chance to bring my three little princesses into the world is my crowning achievement and always will be. End of story.
So with the desire to list five things that are not the standard “it’s such a joy to be your mom” fodder, I will choose accomplishments unrelated to being your mom. In no certain order, they are:
Being ranked in the top 3% of all HCA leaders for leadership potential. In early 2005, I worked for North Monroe Medical Center. We were struggling with physician and employee engagement and were looking for ways to unite our leadership team. As a subsidiary of the nationwide healthcare organization HCA, we contracted with their chosen provider – Gallup University – to provide management evaluation and training.
Each member of the leadership team was asked to complete a lengthy questionnaire and to participate in a two-hour(ish) call to evaluate our potential. When the results came in, I was pleased (and surprised) to discover that I ranked in the top 3% of all HCA leaders nationwide for leadership potential.
Having one of my ads featured on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.” The ad wasn’t featured because it was artfully designed or cleverly worded. No, in fact, it wasn’t featured because of anything good at all. I had rushed through editing and let a glaring error slip past me. New Jersey principal Joe Clark was the inspiration for the based-on-real-events movie “Lean on Me.” In 1994, he came to Louisiana Tech University as a guest speaker, and the Tech Union Board rep phoned in a last-minute ad to promote the event.
In true, skating-in-under-the-wire fashion, I threw together a quarter-page ad, included the speaker’s picture and glanced over it to make sure everything was ready to print. I looked at his name a couple of times to make sure it was spelled correctly and double-checked the time, date and place of the event. Nowhere in my rush to get the ad in the paper did I stop to check the header at the top, though. What was supposed to say, “Lean on me” ended up saying, “Leon on me.”
There was a picture of distinguished man looking out from the ad with what appeared to be a header devoted to some guy named Leon who had gotten on this man. It sounded tawdry at best, and someone at Tech thought it was funny enough to send it in to Jay so the entire nation could laugh.
How is this one of my greatest accomplishments? I learned the most valuable lesson I would ever learn about advertising and marketing – you can never proofread too closely or too many times. That press will wait. Double, triple and quadruple check every letter in every ad every time. And when you have edited, do it again, or everyone in the country (except you) will be laughing at the mistake.
Getting picked to be the featured artist of the month for the Deviantart.com group The People Avenue. There isn’t anything particularly noteworthy to most people about this accomplishment, but it meant a great deal to me. It meant that a photograph of mine was judged by a group of photographers to be good enough to earn me a place of honor for the month of April in 2013. I was interviewed about myself and the photographs on my profile, and I let them know that I am relatively new to the hobby and that I mainly do it to capture your growing up.
Regardless of why I love to take pictures or how good or not good I am at it, though, there was a feature produced with links to my profile and a sampling of my work for everyone to see. The comments people left were positive, and it made me feel so good about myself and my hobby. It made me want to improve and to constantly work at this craft that has always intrigued me. For as long as I can remember, I have been in awe of photographers who have a knack for capturing priceless moments in beautiful, unique ways. Being in that sort of spotlight has always seemed like such a prestigious thing to me because it is such a clear message that something you did was deemed worthy of recognition. For one short month, someone out there thought my work was good enough to have a moment in the spotlight on an international art site, and that made me feel quite accomplished.
Creating the best salsa recipe of all-time. There are people out there who would argue that others make better salsa than I do, but I don’t really care. I worked very hard over a period of several weeks to come up with what I believe is the perfect balance of flavors, and the people who have tasted my salsa have consistently said it was good and that they wanted more. I wouldn’t change a single thing, and, for me, that’s a big deal. I’m a chronic improver and am always looking for ways to make every recipe better. Believing that there isn’t anything that would make my salsa better is quite an accomplishment for a constant recipe tweaker like me.
Writing this blog. When all these questions are asked and answered, I will have something I can assemble for you, my three beautiful, precious daughters, as a way for you to know more about me than you might learn in our everyday Life.
Before I sat down to write this series, I had all but abandoned my blog. When I happened upon the list of 30 questions on Pinterest, I was inspired to share my story with you and to encourage others to do the same by cross-posting the blogs to Facebook. Several people have shared privately that they are planning to work on the same series for their own children, and that makes me feel quite accomplished. Not only am I starting, doing and finishing something that means a lot to me and will hopefully some day mean something to you. I am also helping inspire others to reach out to their own children and to communicate more about themselves than can be gleaned from everyday Mommy to-do’s.
When I put the last period on the last sentence of the last question, I will be able to look back and feel good that I finished what I started and that I have something I can publish for you girls to have for the rest of your lives. It may be the closest I ever come to seeing my work in print, so that makes me even more excited about placing this blog on my list of accomplishments.
Hopefully, you will feel this is one of my greatest accomplishments as well and will appreciate the effort that has gone into using words to draw a more well-defined picture of me than what you might otherwise know. If nothing else, at least you know that you three are my absolute greatest accomplishments, that it’s okay to laugh at your Mama’s mistakes (especially since I included one on this list) and that, like me, your greatest accomplishments might not mean anything to anyone else.
It only matters that they mean something to you.