From the first day working at Lawrence & Schiller, you realize there is an energy of hard work and enthusiasm that surrounds you. So it’s no wonder that energy has led to a tagline that is lived and breathed by all L&Sers: 5280, The Extra Mile.
There are 5280 feet in a mile, and at L&S, we’re always going the extra mile for our clients and team members. But it doesn’t stop there. We’re also encouraged to go the extra mile for our community. I guess you could say I’ve taken going the extra mile literally.
For the past few years I’ve stepped out of my heels and laced up my running shoes to spend time each week coaching fourth through sixth grade girls at a local elementary school. It’s all part of Girls on the Run, a program with a mission to inspire young girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running. At the end of the program, the girls complete a 5K together.
When I approached my first year of coaching, I thought the girls would be doing most of the learning, but I found myself learning right along with them. Here are some of the top lessons I’ve learned while running alongside my GOTR team:
1. Truly listen. As I ran with each girl, I found myself listening to them sharing the highs and lows of their day. I realized that most of the time, they just wanted someone to listen to them and reaffirm that their thoughts and opinions matter.
I would return to my desk each week reminded of the power of listening. To not interrupt. To acknowledge those talking and remove distractions. And to not respond too soon.
2. Keep challenging yourself. For some of the girls, the end goal of running a 5K seems unimaginable or even next to impossible. Each week we would encourage the girls to strive for a more challenging goal, ultimately giving them a framework for achieving them.
Girls on the Run taught me to continue to be challenged. Challenging situations help you find unknown strengths and abilities. They allow you to better yourself and see the next trial as an opportunity rather than a challenge.
3. Importance of a team. Each GOTR lesson focused on positive encouragement and teamwork. The lessons shared strategies and developed skills to help navigate through situations as a team and build healthy relationships.
With our agency structured in teams, many of those lessons reminded me of the importance of my agency team. Having a team gives projects momentum and builds morale around completing projects. They allow you to challenge one another to bring about the best results. Finally, teams give you a learning environment that results in energy and drive to accomplish more and more each day.
In the end, you may not need to run 3.1 miles to learn these lessons; sometimes the only reminder you need is taking time out of your day to help someone one else, genuinely listen and give back.