Be in the Moment
Apologies for being gone for much of 2016. September reintroduced me to reading and writing with an academic twist as part of my journey of earning my master’s degree in communication at Northwestern University this coming August. I continue to love my job and I also loyally attend those guitar lessons.
Enjoying my school break, this past Wednesday, I went to the annual food drive and holiday concert at Guitar Works. This socially responsible store (homage to my strategic communication class) puts together an hour-long performance featuring the talented owner, Terry Straker, and store employees, in conjunction with the guests who donate food for Evanston’s homeless. Ambassadors to Earth, the four-piece instrumental house band, hosts.
I just missed the show in 2014 because I was new to the guitar. As time rolled on and I looked at the photos from that show, I realized I had missed seeing Dan, my guitar teacher of now almost two years, perform “Hava Nagila” on the accordion. This year, I was so enthralled that I didn’t get to capture EVERYONE who played in photos which bums me out because they are all awesome.
I thought for sure that the show was over when The Soulkeeper rushed the stage wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. The band looked like they were walking off stage and I remembered the sudden ending from the year before. I was a bit crestfallen since Dan had assured me “Hava Nagila” was on the song list. Dan gets to hear from me on a frequent basis reminding him of the void made in my life of not having seen him perform “Hava Nagila” on his accordion in the 2014 performance.
Like out of one of those cheesy Hallmark movies, at the end of the show, Dan slowly turns around and appears holding his familiar red accordion! He sang, with enthusiastic audience back-up from me, “Hanukkah oh Hanukkah” and closed with “Hava Nagila”. It was one of the best surprises I have had in a long time and a moment I will throw in my file of memories to squash potential bad days.
Now that I am back in school, I see things differently. Throughout fall quarter, how I currently measure time, I had to come up with examples of teams in the news. While a simple concept, it would appear, we had to use examples of how these teams were applicable to what we were learning in class. Furthermore, how many examples of sports team can one really be expected to tolerate….said the day one of class version of myself. On the last day of class my professor assured us that we would never look at teams again the same way. This is so true.
Teams don’t just play sports and excellent examples are plentiful when looking at things with a different lens. The first realization is accepting that many people misuse the word “team” when it is a group. J.R. Katzenbach and D. K. Smith describe the definition of a team in the 2005 Harvard Business Review article, The Discipline of Teams, as “A team is a small number of people with complimentary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable”(p. 39).
While savoring those closing two numbers, I looked at the standing-room-only crowd and it became clear to me that Ambassadors to Earth are such a team. Their support for each other and affinity for what they do resonated throughout the show and served as the foundation of positivity and success of everyone who joined them on the stage throughout the evening. Their strength as a team provided the glue to make that evening a spectacular one. Thank you.