Tote dutifully slung over my shoulder, I marched into the locker room, changed into my MoWest gear, and headed toward the arc machine. Glide, glide, glide—30 minutes later, another completed workout and a pat on the back for sticking with a New Year’s Resolution. Only later would I think back-did I break a sweat? Did I gain anything from that exercise other than a dutiful checkmark of completion?
I know there are times to test the waters. Dip a toe in, feel things out, learn & prepare. There are times to hustle, break a sweat, and end up sore & battered for the effort. But what about the in-between times? Sure, it’s okay to take it easy every once in awhile. I mean, we’re there, right? It’s got to count for something, right? But what am I really taking away from the experience?
Honesty time. Have you ever gone home after a long day of work and not really remembered what you did? Have you ever dreaded going to work? At the end of the semester, has your work in Student Affairs simply felt like a dutiful checkmark of completion?
Back when I was in grad school, the FISH! Philosophy was the rage. Spurred by the Seattle World Famous Pike Place Fish market, the FISH! Philosophy focused on the energy and excitement fishmongers brought to their jobs and the customers. Even in cold and exhausting work, the fishmongers focused on serving customers, engaged with those around them, and smiled through their efforts. Four simple practices made up the FISH! Philosophy:
- Be There—Being emotionally present for people to create respect, improve communication, and strengthen relationships.
- Play—Bringing creativity, enthusiasm, and fun into everything you do.
- Make Their Day-Delighting others in meaningful, memorable ways, contributing to others’ lives.
- Choose Your Attitude-Taking responsibility for your reactions and choices when life throws a curveball.
The point of the FISH! Philosophy is to empower employees, improve cultures, and create better results. It can better teamwork, customer service, employee engagement, retention, recognition, and leadership. But it can-and should-be used in everyday life, too! Instead of just putting in the slog of a workout, what if we were focused and present, dancing on the treadmill, smiling at the other Resoluters, and patting ourselves on the back for a positive choice? What if-even when the work is HARD (and we all know there are days)-we assumed good intent, played, focused on others, and owned our mistakes?
Sounds like I just gained myself a new resolution.
Until next time,
NASPA IV-W Regional Director