Most of the time when I’m invited to share a Thought Snack, I look forward to it. But recently, when my day to share came, I felt overwhelmed: with the work day ahead, with the work I didn’t quite finish the day before, and with the work still to come. Can you relate? I had yet to prepare anything for my Thought Snack, but thankfully I had the early morning, the sun still rising, and a good cup of coffee to encourage me to think.
As I sat down to come up with something, I recalled a quote I saw on social media a few weeks prior: “The work no one sees matters too.” I was drawn to it and inspired by it because it felt so true. I thought about all of the things that I had been doing; all of those tasks I completed that were not on a checklist and wouldn’t ever be documented or considered an actual deliverable. It brought up many questions:
Where was that time going in my workday?
What was it being used for?
Why does it feel like there are never enough hours in the day?
Why is it taking me so long to do this?
Still, I felt certain that the behind-the-scenes work I was doing was having a positive impact on the team, the projects, and on me. I also knew I wasn’t alone in these feelings. These intangible things should be recognized and even celebrated because their worth is just as important as any other work we do.
So this is what I shared with the team—a poem I wrote to put words to what I was feeling and what I know many others have felt too.
The Work No One Sees Matters Too
It’s the things not on the schedule
It’s the little things and the big things hidden from view
It’s the thoughtful notes, the double checks, the overcommunication
It’s the honesty when you’re unsure and the asking for help
It’s the conversations, the out-of-the-weekly check-in conversations
It’s the unwavering ownership, mindfulness brought into a project
And the inspiration that it brings out
It’s being in the unknown, but still pushing forward
It’s the team collaborating, the inclusion of multiple perspectives
And advocating for someone or something great
It’s the downtime, the reenergizing deep thinking space
To wonder in quiet contemplation or scribble on a board
It’s the practice, the mistakes made, and the getting back up again
It’s the earliest work, the working through lunch
And the work that just needs to go to bed
It’s the showing up, the doing of even the boring to-dos
It’s the gritty work, the getting your hands dirty work
AND I’m doing this because I CARE work
Cheers to ALL the moving parts, the behind the scenes
The unnoticed to being noticed
Because the work no one sees matters too.
If you’re an unsung hero on your team (or in any aspect of life), this is your reminder that your work matters too. It’s also a nudge encouraging you to be vulnerable. Reading this poem out loud to the rest of the leadership team took vulnerability. I was met with empathy and openness, both of which help build trust for teams.
I wanted to bring light to all of the little things we often don’t talk about, things that should be celebrated and given kudos. Here’s a virtual high-five to all of you putting care into your every day, at work and at home.
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