I need to confess something hard to say for me. These last few weeks have been a real struggle. It was hard to get out of bed most days. I felt like smiling came at the cost of abandoning myself. One of the significant contributors has been this feeling that something at work just wasn’t right. I’m busy. I’m hiring. We’re growing like crazy. I still felt nothing.
My first instinct was that I needed more work. Silly, right? That’s what capitalism does to us over time, convincing us we need more when we’re already bankrupt of energy. Busy wasn’t it. Busy made that feeling so much worse.
I could feel this urge to quit rising. But here’s the thing. I’m the boss. I work at my company. Why the hell am I so unhappy? It doesn’t make sense.
As I was quickly approaching my own hell, life threw me a curveball. It always does. I found out my friend died of COVID. Then, when I tried to message an old friend on Instagram to tell her that I was thinking of her? I found out she didn’t beat cancer. She died on Valentine’s Day.
I found myself sobbing – for them, for me, for lives well-lived. That craving for more was gone. I was craving more I love you’s, more smiles, more of my people – not work. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: there are never enough I love you’s.
While they were each part of my life at drastically different times – one a coworker in college and another my suburban neighbor in Nashville, Tennessee – they had one beautiful thing in common: they noticed people and loved them for no reason.
That is such a special thing in this world. See, it is so easy to feel like no one sees you. That no one cares. To walk through this life as another face in the crowd.
Then some people come into your life and disrupt the despair. They love so big simply because their heart tells them to. In a glance and while knowing nothing about you, they invest joy. They’re people you never forget because they make you feel taken care of effortlessly. Love that will make even strangers and cynic’s hearts swell three sizes.
They’re the luckiest people because they knew the secret before most of us: this life is such a better place when you’re kind to others.
I hope their stories and lives can be a reminder to all of us who knew them, and those of you just learning their story, that we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. When we get to the other side, I hope you and I can leave people saying, “I love the way they loved me. They saw me.”
I’m thankful for the grief because it has helped me realize what was missing – the love. I need to bring a little more love into this world, especially for the LGBTQIA+ community, especially during Pride month.
Here’s what I want to do. I’m interested in speaking at your company in June about LGBTQIA+ issues. I would like to (virtually) bring a panel of brilliant people in my community to your team to answer questions and tell our stories. It’s not more work for me. It’s the opportunity to help your team see each other and see people whose stories don’t sound like their own.
If you’re looking for a practical way to influence change and make people think, those rainbow posters and pride theme shirts won’t do it.
Invest in me. Invest in this panel. I promise we can help.
It’s people talking about their real lives. It’s talking about the fear of going to the bathroom in an unknown place. It’s coming out stories – all combined with data and stats that show we’re not the only ones. We’re going to humanize the statistics that scare us and talk about allyship in a way your team will never forget.
If you’re interested, either reply to this email or use the link below to book a time. Let’s talk. June is almost here.
PS. I wrote about job hopping this week. Let’s remember why people quit jobs in the first place and rethink your job hopping biases.
Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.
Katrina has written for Monster.com, HR.com, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.