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How to Make Work Suck Less
How to Make Work Suck Less 150 150 Jason Lauritsen

My recent video about Quiet Quitting generated a lot of reaction.

Reading through the comments, I was reminded of a sad reality. Work still sucks for a lot of people.

If you look at any article or video online about Quiet Quitting, you find the same thing–a bunch of comments that fall mostly into two categories. The biggest number of people are sharing how they’ve been “quiet quitting” for years because of how much their job or manager sucks.

The other group are the cynics who want to pile blame on these people for being honest about their job experience. These comments have the feel of “Suck it up you lazy whiners.”

What I haven’t heard enough is people talking about what’s actually wrong and how to fix it.

In this video, I tackle why I believe work still sucks for so many people. Spoiler alert, it has to do with work being a relationship. And, I share a few tips on what to do if you want to make work suck less for yourself and others.

Please leave your thoughts and reactions in the comments. It’s great to hear what you think and it helps others find the video.

Work can (and should) be a fulfilling, rewarding experience for everyone. And we can make it that way.

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Why You Should Ask Employees What Would Make Them Quit
Why You Should Ask Employees What Would Make Them Quit 150 150 Jason Lauritsen

It’s the conversations we are most afraid of that are the most important to have. 

This is true in all areas of our lives. And it’s particularly true at work right now.

As you worry about retention and losing our best people, I’d ask you this. 

Do you know why each of your best people might leave? Have you asked them? 

This is one of those conversations we tend to avoid because we are afraid of what we might hear. 

But what’s the alternative? It’s watching them leave knowing you should have done more to keep them. 

In this video, you’ll learn why it’s a good idea to talk with employees about why they might leave and how to do it. 

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Quiet Quitting is NOT the Problem
Quiet Quitting is NOT the Problem 150 150 Jason Lauritsen

Is it just me or does it seem like references to “quiet quitting” are everywhere all of a sudden?

Thanks, TikTok.

Last year, it was to TikTok (also known as “for real quitting”).

Now it’s quiet quitting. But what is it? Is it actually quitting?

And it’s not really that quiet if you are posting it on TikTok, is it?

What’s going on here? And what should you do about it?

Today’s video has the answers.

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How to Fix Employee Performance Issues without Breaking the Employee
How to Fix Employee Performance Issues without Breaking the Employee 150 150 Jason Lauritsen

One of the biggest mistakes I see from managers and organizations is how they address performance issues with employees.

They treat the performance issue as if it’s some flaw in the employee to be fixed. Or worse, like the employee has somehow decided to under-perform on purpose and deserves to be punished.

Performance improvement plans are the pinnacle of this error. They rarely improve performance, but often break the employee’s spirit.

It’s a heart breaking practice if you truly care about people. I can still remember how crushing it felt to watch an employee mentally give up right in front of me as they were presented with their PIP.

This cruelty to employees is completely unnecessary.

When someone is under-performing in their role, it’s rarely their fault. They aren’t broken. They don’t need to be fixed. They need support.

In this video, I break down how a manager should approach employee performance issues. And, I share how to diagnose the cause of the issue and address it in a way that leaves the employee feeling both respected and motivated to perform.

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Performance Is Always First
Performance Is Always First 1080 720 Jason Lauritsen

As I was scrolling through LinkedIn this week, I stumbled across this post from the prolific Adam Grant.

The post was promoting an interview he had done with Prince Harry about mental health at work.   

Given the amount of writing and speaking I do about well-being and compassion in management, you might assume I’d read this and burst out with an “Amen!” 

But you’d be wrong. 

While I am sure Adam’s intentions are probably right on, the message of this post is wrong. Not all of it, but the punchline is bad advice. 

Valuing people at work. Yes!

Good managers care about your well-being. Yes!

Great managers care more about your well-being than your results. WRONG. 

Hear me out. 

The purpose of any organization is performance. That organization needs to produce goods or services of value to others and do it in such a way that they are able to stay in business. 

Everything an organization does in the service of staying in business can be thought of as performance. And to achieve this performance, they hire people to do jobs. The purpose of these jobs is to contribute in specific ways to organizational performance. 

Here’s the point. No performance = no organization = no jobs. 

Performance is why we have jobs, and it’s why managers exist: to help others perform their jobs successfully.  

Adam’s post reads as though you don’t need to concern yourself with results and performance. That is bad advice, and I’d be surprised if that’s what he meant.  

Well-Being vs. Results

This is a false trade-off. 

When we say things like “managers need to put well-being before results,” we’re assuming that the problem with bad management is simply their priorities. It’s not.

Managers aren’t choosing between focusing on results and caring for people’s well-being, at least not consciously. 

What’s happening in most cases is that managers don’t know it matters or have any idea how to care for the well-being of their people. 

Instructing these managers to put the well-being of their people ahead of results isn’t going to solve anything. It sounds just like another in a long line of HR directives they have learned to ignore. 

Caring for well-being and focusing on results are not in opposition. In fact, caring for your employees’ well-being is perhaps one of the most powerful ways you can support them in achieving great results.

Well-being is vital to performance but alone isn’t enough.

Performance is always the Goal

This is the point I want to make here: Performance has to always be first. As a manager, if you aren’t helping an employee perform successfully, it won’t be long before both of you are without jobs. 

Well-being is part of how a “Great” manager accomplishes this. They facilitate the employees’ success and performance by supporting their well-being. 

At the same time, great managers work equally hard to create clarity of expectations, provide coaching, and show appreciation. It’s all a part of the equation that produces performance. 

And performance is what keeps our paychecks coming. 

Being a great manager isn’t about putting well-being ahead of results, it’s about understanding and embracing well-being helps fuel high performance leading to success all-around.

 

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Management Shouldn’t Be So *Bleep*ing Complicated
Management Shouldn’t Be So *Bleep*ing Complicated 1080 721 Jason Lauritsen

Why do we make management so hard? 

I’ve got an entire bookshelf that is full of management and leadership books, many filled with contradictory advice about what really matters or the most effective approaches.  

Why have we made it so complicated?

Spending years as a corporate executive was a study in unnecessary complication. One specific meeting stands out. I can’t even recall the issue on the table, but it had to do with some employee concerns. 

This room full of senior executives spent what was felt like hours debating over what to do. As the newly hired HR exec, I observed and listened as this went on and on. 

The most maddening part of it all was that the people in this room really didn’t understand the issue at hand. They were making all kinds of assumptions, but no one had any grounded insight into the problem we wanted to solve.   

Finally, I decided it was time to intervene and I said, “If we want to know what the employees want, why don’t we just go ask them?” 

That’s ultimately what we did. 

We love to over-complicate things and we’ve done it with flair to the practice of managing people at work.

But managing people doesn’t have to complicated.

In fact, the role and purpose of the manager can be summed up in just five words.

Help people succeed at work.  

It’s really that simple. If you do this every day, you will be successful as a manager. 

But somewhere along the line, over the past 100 years or so since management was invented, we’ve done everything we can to make it more complicated.  

I’m done with complicated. You should be too.  

I have yet to find a complicated management practice that benefits either the manager or employee involved. In nearly every case, that process is designed for the needs of someone else (HR, executives, compliance, etc.) often at the expense of the manager, employee, or their relationship.

Case in point: performance appraisals. 

Complicated management practices are not only ineffective, they are profoundly wasteful. 

The core tenets and practices of management should be simple. Work is a relationship and thus, the most important practices of management are those that foster and build relationships.

These don’t need to be complicated.  

What does simple look like? 

Here are some examples of simple management tenets. 

  1. Treat people like adults. 
  2. Be kind to everyone. 
  3. Don’t be a jackass (I know, same as #2, but I think it’s worth saying again). 
  4. Be the example. 
  5. If you aren’t sure, ask.  
  6. Check-in as often as they need it. 
  7. Ensure people know what is expected of them. 
  8. Say you are sorry. 
  9. Say thank you more often. 
  10. Tell people you care about them. 
  11. Spend time with your people. 
  12. Trust people until proven otherwise. 

I know what you are probably thinking, these sound like motivational poster platitudes. 

Yep. 

There’s a reason those Successories posters were so popular. They reveal the simple truths to us that we crave in a land of unnecessary complexity. 

Sure, you will need to spend time with managers calibrating what these tenets mean in day-to-day practice. But I would caution you to reference item 1 on the list. 

Managers are savvy adults who want to succeed at their job. The meaning of simple statements is, well, simple to understand. Resist the urge to immediately complicate. 

When you establish simple expectations for a manager, they can figure it out more easily on their own through experience. 

I know I have personally learned the specifics of “don’t be a jackass” through conversations with several people I managed who were kind enough to share with me exactly HOW I was being a jackass. 

And I became better as a manager as a result. 

It’s time to simplify management. 

There has been a lot of hand wringing over the Great Resignation in the past year. Everyone scrambling to sort out what’s happening and what needs to be done to stop the exodus.

I think the answer is simple: Better managers. 

And to get better managers, we need to get back to the basics of the job and simplify. 

When you get your managers focused on their one true job, to help people succeed at work, and permit them to build better relationships with their people, most people will stop leaving. 

This won’t fix every problem, but it will have a huge impact. 

Keep it simple. Make it human. Retain your people. 

Rather watch than read? 

If you prefer video over reading, here you go.

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Managing = Caring
Managing = Caring 1080 565 Jason Lauritsen

The longer I study and teach management, the simpler things become.

For example, this week, I was again asked how managing a hybrid team is different than managing a team that is in the office full-time. 

When someone asks this question, they are expecting me to share how managing a hybrid team is more challenging. They expect me to validate their belief that it’s far more complicated to manage a hybrid team.

It’s not. 

Is managing a hybrid team different in some ways? Sure. 

Just like being in a long-distance relationship is different than one where you see your partner every day. 

What’s true in both cases is that if you don’t have the right foundation in place for the relationship, nothing else really matters.  

The most important ingredient in both cases is care.  

Being in a relationship with someone who doesn’t care about you is miserable regardless of how much you see them, we’ve all been there.

At some point in our career, most of us have worked for managers who we saw every day, who clearly didn’t care about us or our success and it sucks. 

When you don’t care about your people as a manager, they will never step up for you. They will never give their best effort. They will never trust you. They will never be loyal. 

If you don’t care about your people, they will move on to another job where they at least have some hope that their manager might care. 

Caring is where it starts

Years ago, I remember chatting over coffee with a friend. We both had young children and were commiserating over our parental worries and insecurities.

We were both obsessing over how our actions and the decisions we make for our children. They feel so important–as if we were somehow creating and removing opportunities for our children in every instance. 

After an hour or more of participating in this game of “No, I think I’m messing my kids up more than you,” my friend paused for a moment and smiled. 

She looked over at me and said, “I think the fact we care so much about all of this is a good sign we are doing okay as parents.” 

This was well over a decade ago and I still remember those words vividly. 

Caring is the first step toward doing it right.  

Do you care enough? 

This may seem like a simple question, but it’s really a gut check as a manager.

  • Do you care enough to prioritize your people’s needs, sometimes above your own?
  • Do you care enough to do the hard work of creating clarity about expectations?
  • Do you care enough to hold your people accountable and be accountable to them in return?
  • Do you care enough to help people with things you “shouldn’t have to” help with? 
  • Do you care enough to be patient and kind when people fail? 
  • Do you care enough to give people the benefit of the doubt? 
  • Do you care enough to have your people’s back, even when it means putting yourself at risk?

Caring is the job of management. It’s not easy. It’s not simple. It’s real work. 

Here’s the truth. If you don’t care about your people and really want to see them succeed in their personal and professional lives, then you shouldn’t be in management. Hard stop.  

Your people deserve better. 

If you aren’t sure if you care enough, you probably don’t, but as long as you are willing to do the work, you can fix it.  

How do you become more caring as a manager? 

Caring is a choice. Granted, it’s not an optional choice. If you want to be a manager, then you must choose to care for your people. 

If you can’t be bothered with doing the work of caring, then you should find another job to do. There are plenty of jobs out there that don’t require this work. 

Managing = caring. Below are some steps you can take to ensure that you are demonstrating to your people that you care so they will stick with you and give you their best.

1. Get your mind right. 

Your job is to enable the success of each member of your team. Enable is the keyword here. People want to succeed. They will choose success over failure whenever given the opportunity. 

People don’t need to be motivated to perform. Read that again. Instead, what people require is a manager who ensures they have what they need to perform well. That might mean support for their mental health one day and clarity about work goals the next. They need what they need. People are complicated. Our job isn’t to judge, it’s to help. 

People also need a manager who will help them with challenges whenever those challenges arise. Work can feel like an obstacle course with one challenge to face after another. Your job is to help them navigate the course, helping them reach the goal. Remove obstacles when you can. Help them face or get around them when you can’t. You are in it together. 

So many managers get this wrong. They think their job is to force people to perform. They micromanage like some overlord assuming that it’s their actions that drive performance when in fact, it’s the opposite. Micromanagement kills the desire to perform. 

Caring managers approach their jobs more like a farmer who cultivates the growth of their crops. Farmers know that if they provide what their plants need and deal with any threats or obstacles that might hinder growth, the plants will do the rest.

People have an incredible capacity to perform when we cultivate it in this way. 

2. Get to know your people. 

This feels like one of those things that Captain Obvious would say. When people talk about employers they hate, they say things like, “you feel like you are just a number to them.” 

If you want someone to feel like you don’t care, make no effort to learn anything about them. Feeling unseen and unvalued is a red carpet invitation to go find a different job. It’s like saying “Nobody here cares if I stay or go.”

Getting to know your people is perhaps one of the fastest and most effective ways to develop your caring skills as a manager. Invest in getting to know your people as people. It’s simple. Three steps.

  1. Ask questions. For example, what do you have planned for the weekend? Or, where did you grow up? Any question that invites them to share some insights about who they are is a good one. 
  2. Listen. If you ask a good question and then signal that you really want to hear their response by shutting up, making eye contact and waiting, they will reveal some wonderful things. 
  3. Make some notes. Unless you have an incredible memory or are somehow gifted with another superpower that helps you never forget anything important, jot down what you learn in these conversations. This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way. I would ask great questions, listen intently and be delighted with what I heard. Then, I’d forget to write down what I heard and I would forget. What a waste. Don’t make my mistake. 

When you get to know people better, your natural caring and compassion instincts will kick in. The more you know, the more you will care. 

3. Check-in

Once you embrace that your job as a manager is to care for the needs and success of your people, the importance of a check-in becomes clear. 

If you aren’t in touch with what is going on with each of your people to know what they need and where they have challenges, how can you support them? 

That’s what makes the check-in the most powerful tool in management. An effective check-in involves having the most important conversations with your people so you can be the manager they need.  

Here’s how an effective check-in works. It starts with asking the right question. 

Here’s a simple, powerful question you can use to start a great check-in. 

How are you today, on a scale from 1 to 10?

The scale is the magic here. When we ask someone how they are without it, what do they say? 

Fine. Busy. Or, as my son likes to say, “decent.” These words tell us nothing. 

With the scale, a simple number tells you a whole lot. There’s a major difference between someone who says they are a 9 versus a 2. Either way, it’s an invitation to have a meaningful conversation. 

If someone says they are at the top end of the scale, ask them to share what’s been going well lately. You’ll learn about them and what matters to them. This is your chance to be excited for them and even to celebrate their accomplishments. 

If they are on the bottom end of the scale, that’s a cry for help. Ask them if they’d be comfortable sharing what’s going on that’s pulling that number down. It could be a work challenge but more likely, it’s something else going on in their life.  

Regardless of what it is, that is the thing you need to be focused on. Hear them out, express your care and support, and find a way to help.

If their response to the question is something in the middle, say a 5, it sets up a great conversation. Ask them first what’s going well. Listen and be encouraging. 

Then, ask them what’s going on that is keeping them from being at a 9 or 10. This is where they will share with you the insights you need to be supportive and caring.  

Done right, the check-in will transform your impact and results as a manager. It is caring in action. 

Managing = Caring

These are but a few ways to start investing more in caring for your team. 

There are a lot of ways to care. The key is to feel it and do it. Without caring, you cannot and will not be a successful manager in today’s environment. 

Care intensely. Care often.

Care. 

 

Rather watch than read? 

If you prefer video over reading, here you go. (Bonus points if you can spot my son)

 

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What will the future of work look like?
What will the future of work look like? 150 150 Jason Lauritsen

Over the past week, I’ve been asked twice what I think the future of work will look like. And while it’s always fun to speculate, here’s the truth. 

There is no way to know with any precision what’s coming in the future. If there’s anything the past few years has taught us, it should be this. We don’t really know what’s going to happen. 

When people ask this question, what they are really asking is something different. 

What can I do so that I can prepare myself (and my organization) for whatever we might face down the road? 

THIS is a good question. And you don’t need clarity about the future to answer it.  

Instead, you need to look for signals that indicate what is most likely to happen in the future. Then, you can use these signals to inform your efforts to become more resilient and adaptable in facing whatever future you might face. 

In today’s video, I highlight four signals that should have your full attention and what two things you should do right now to prepare yourself and your organization to thrive on the journey ahead. 

What other signals are you seeing that might give us some insights into what may lie ahead? Please share in the comments. I’d love to know what you are seeing.

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How to Stay Grounded when Facing a Storm of Change
How to Stay Grounded when Facing a Storm of Change 1080 608 Jason Lauritsen

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been wrestling with something internally, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but knew I’ve not quite felt like myself. 

There’s an unsettled feeling that I can’t shake. It’s not unlike that moment when you lose your balance and you hover in that space between regaining balance or falling.  

This has been making it hard to find my creative spark when I need it. My work has been a bit more labored than usual.  

The point is, it’s not been an ideal place to find myself. I’ve not felt at my best. And the hardest part was that I couldn’t figure out why. 

Until yesterday. 

As our tiny white cheagle (it’s a thing, Google it) took me for a walk yesterday afternoon, it finally hit me why I was feeling the way I am.  

There’s a lot of change coming for me. 

The kids wrap up another year of school today and my middle child moves on to high school next year. High school represents a major transition for her and for us. 

My wife is running for state legislature (yes, she’s exactly as awesome as this sounds). We had positive results in the primary, so now the stretch run begins. If she wins in November, that represents a dynamic shift for our family. 

My business is also at the beginning of a transformation. While the details may not seem that dramatic to someone on the outside looking in right now, it feels pretty substantial to me. 

And, as I wrote about in my last post, we lost my grandmother recently. She was the last of her generation in my family, so a transition is now underway. Holidays and visits home will never be the same again. 

If all that wasn’t enough, I scheduled a minor surgery next week that promises to have some significant positive health implications for me moving forward. 

It’s a lot. At least it feels that way to me. 

As I look to the future, the view is less clear than it has been in quite a while. Uncertainty is thick in the air like fog. This leaves me feeling a whole mix of conflicting emotions: hope, excitement, anxiety, concern, anticipation, and so many more. 

This is what I’ve been feeling. A soup of emotions created by the headline of my life right now. 

Change is coming 

Once this realization hit me, I recognized it. I’ve been here before. 

It’s a strange place to be, existing in a space where things feel “normal,” but knowing that very soon, things will begin to shift in significant ways.  

It reminds me of the hours before a big thunderstorm arrives. The sun is shining in the east and a soft breeze blows as dark clouds build in the western sky. It’s coming, you just don’t know how soon or how much disruption it will bring with it.  

Most of the time, the storm simply makes some noise and brings much-needed rain. But, the anticipation and uncertainty in the time before it arrives feel the same regardless of the impact it leaves behind. 

This has been a reminder to me of the complex relationship we have with change and the toll it can take on us. And perhaps more importantly, it’s not just change itself but rather the anticipation of change that impacts us.  

Regardless of how much you tend to embrace or resist change, you are not immune from its effects. 

Preparing for Change

Every one of us is either dealing with change or anticipating some just over the horizon. Particularly during the past few years, our lives have been defined by relentless and steady change.  

As both individuals and leaders of others, we must recognize that change is playing in the background of our lives like elevator music that we’ve tuned out. It’s always there and always playing a role. And if we don’t acknowledge the impact it can have, we can find ourselves struggling or burning out. 

While I don’t claim to be an expert on change, here are a few things I’ve learned about what helps in times like this, whether it’s happening to you or someone you care about. 

1. Acknowledge that change is coming. 

Once I realized yesterday that it’s all the coming change that’s making me feel unsettled, I started feeling more grounded. 

Just calling out the fact that things are going to change makes it easier to both talk about and prepare for it. It’s when we overlook or ignore what’s coming that it’s most likely to harm us. 

This is a great thing to remember as a manager or leader. When we avoid conversations about impending changes, it actually makes it worse for everyone involved. As humans, when we don’t know what’s happening, we assume the worst. 

Even when you don’t know what’s going to happen or how you are going to respond yet, it’s okay to talk about the fact that change is coming. Bring it out in the open and reassure people that you will navigate whatever comes together. 

2. Lean into relationships. 

It’s never as scary to face uncertainty if you are doing it with someone else. Just the knowledge that you are not alone in your journey can make a huge difference. 

Even before yesterday, I’d been struggling with the transitions I’m making in my business. It’s all exciting and exactly what I need, but it’s changing and it’s uncomfortable in all the ways it needs to be. 

I’ve been sharing my struggles with friends and in return, they offer encouragement. They help me reframe (i.e., “you are experiencing growing pains”). They listen. 

Relationships are the bedrock of a healthy, happy life and career. This is why it’s so critical that you invest time and energy into building and sustaining great relationships in all areas of your life. 

When your people know you care about them and that you’ll be there for them, the clouds forming on the western horizon don’t feel threatening. That support allows us to look for the promise and opportunity in the coming change. 

Never underestimate the power of “together.” 

3. Control what you can. Let go of everything else. 

When there’s a lot of change on the horizon, things can start to feel very out of control. It is in these times that I have to anchor myself in the things I can control. 

First on the list is my well-being. While I don’t know exactly what the next 6-12 months are going to hold for my family and me, I know for sure that I’ll be best able to navigate the path if I am healthy and strong. This is 100% within my control. 

Once I’ve refocused on my well-being, I ask the question, “what can I control?” 

When things feel out of control, I’ve found that the key is to let go of what I have no influence over and focus instead on what I can control.

This typically brings into focus some immediate steps I can take to move forward or to shape how things might look in the future. For example, my daughter is moving on to high school, whether I like it or not. My main fear as this transition happens is how our relationship might change. I’m worried about losing connection with her. 

While I can’t control what’s going to unfold next year for her in high school or how she’s going to change as a result, what I can control is what kind of time I spend with her now to reinforce our relationship. The stronger foundation, the less likely it will be to crumble. 

As a leader, when things get crazy at work, one of the most powerful things we can do to help our people is to coach them on letting go of what they can’t control and focusing on the things they can. 

This is a game-changer.  

Change is Inevitable

There will never be a time in our lives when change isn’t a part of our experience. There will be times of less and times of more. But it will always be there.

The key is to embrace its presence and learn how to ride the wave in a way that frees us from the anxiety and reveals the opportunity hidden within.  

While that felt lovely to type, we both know it’s far easier said than done. This isn’t easy, but the more you practice, the less challenging it will feel. 

Acknowledge that change is coming (or happening), lean into your relationships, and control what you can. 

The rest will take care of itself. 

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Heartbroken
Heartbroken 1080 810 Jason Lauritsen

We said our final goodbyes earlier this week to my grandma. After 93 years of life, her health had been failing recently, and she left us last week.  

I was very close with my grandma and the loss hit me pretty hard. I actually wrote about my grandparents on my blog several years ago.  

As I began to grapple with my grief last week, I sat for a guided meditation on the topic. The teacher of this meditation instructed that grief itself isn’t a singular emotion but several of them all happening at once. 

She invited us to try to name the different emotions we were feeling. For me, I could identify three:

  1. Loss. There will be no more long conversations, no more hugs, no more card games. The loss feels profound. 
  2. Heartbreak. Sadness doesn’t really do it justice. 
  3. Gratitude. Intermingled within these two heavy emotions was an acute sense of how lucky I was to have so much time with such an extraordinary woman. 

My grandma Lois was an exceptional human being. The legacy of her life was love. To know her was to know what it meant to feel loved and seen. 

Grandma showered us with her love in the most important way possible–through her time and attention. She loved spending time with us. It didn’t matter what we did. She just loved being together. 

She loved us without judgment or conditions. No matter what was going on in my life or if I felt fully worthy of it, I would always get her full love. 

This past week, as I reflected on her life and our relationship, I wondered if my experience of her in this light was simply because I was a grandchild. It’s easy to love your grandkids.

But, it wasn’t. As we celebrated her life with family and the friends she’d known for longer than I’ve been alive, they all described her in the same way. 

Her legacy reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from great Maya Angelou:

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

To know my grandma was to know what it meant to feel loved. I cannot imagine a better legacy or a more powerful lesson to leave behind. 

As I continue to process my grief, I wanted to share with you some of the lessons I’m carrying forward from my Grandma. Even though you probably never had the opportunity to meet her, perhaps you can carry a piece of her legacy forward as well.

1. Invest your time in the people you care about.

One feeling that’s not in the soup of my grief is regret. Maybe it was because of my grandma’s example, but we made time to be together.

Sometimes that meant making road trips to visit her with my family. Often it meant sitting down to chat over Skype. It wasn’t as frequent as we’d like (always my fault), but we did it. 

That time spent together is among the best investments I’ve ever made.

2. Talk about the stuff that matters. 

We mourned the loss of my grandma almost one year to the day after losing my grandpa, her husband, just shy of his 100th birthday. As you would expect, the past year was incredibly hard for her. 

When we talked, I always tried to check in with her about how she was doing and she would tell me. On the good days, we shared memories of grandpa. On the not-so-good days, she talked about how depressed she was feeling. 

Those conversations were hard because it hurt to see her hurting. But, they were conversations she needed and they brought us closer together. 

Too often, we avoid the conversations we need to have because they make us feel uncomfortable. Don’t allow that to happen. Ask the questions that matter and allow yourself to feel vulnerable. It is within these conversations where true human connection lives. 

3. Let go of judgment and resentment. Just be kind. 

In case you missed it, my grandparents lived to be 93 and 99 years old. Certainly, some good genetics are going on there, but I attribute their longevity to something else. 

My grandparents were the most positive and forgiving people I’ve ever met. They didn’t judge other people, they didn’t hold any resentments toward anyone, and they never gossiped. 

As a result, they had so many friends. People loved them and they loved everyone back. 

Grandma always seemed able to see the positive. She led with kindness in everything she did. It was remarkable. 

What a great example for us all to follow. I’m certainly going to try. 

Thank you, Grandma. I miss you already. 

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Jason Lauritsen