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First Day

encourage experience leadership Aug 16, 2023

First Day

On the morning of the 1st day of school this year, I encouraged our daughters Blake and Bailey to find someone who doesn’t know anyone, and get to know them, so that person will know someone.

I told them not to force it or complicate it but to just do their best to do it. To give it some substance, I even called it a theory. I explained - if done with a good heart and good intentions - their actions would be well received and so well worth the effort for all involved.

Thankfully, they didn’t ask me to back up my theory with stats or data, for I have none. What I do have is years of experience being on both ends of this equation. I’ve been the awkward new middle-schooler and the confident upper classman at school. I’ve been the wide-eyed rookie and the seasoned veteran on the team. I’ve been the inexperienced intern and the established business owner at work. I’ve even been the conference attendee who knew no one and the host of the entire event who invited everyone.

Each step of the way, no matter my experience, status, role, position, I’ve experienced, through these experiences, a similar pattern; Everyone in their right mind, shows up to school, to practice, to work, to conferences, with the desire to be treated well, welcomed well, and accepted well, especially when they know no one and they are about to experience that very important, some would say pivotal, many would argue crucial…first day.

As leaders, teachers, coaches, presenters, imagine if we embraced our responsibility to bridge this “newness gap” and help those who know no one, know someone. We know this feeling because we’ve all experienced it. If we’re being real, there is no one we know who hasn’t experienced that feeling of being in a new environment with no one they know. And as the kids say, if you know you know (IYKYK).

And with that knowledge, we all have the ability, the capability, and the responsibility, to be that person to bridge that gap, help make that connection, authentically build that relationship, earn that trust, by courageously, selflessly, and intentionally looking out for others.

If this seems daunting - as my daughters explained it was for them - just remember that teacher, that student, that coach, that teammate, that boss, that co-worker, that parent, that neighbor, that person who took the time to get to know you, when you didn’t know anyone, so you knew someone.

Let’s try to be that person for someone all day, every day, and especially on that very important, pivotal, crucial first day.


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