In the previous post I wrote about the deep impact that my relationship with Sam had on the mission of Pocket Literacy Coach and to the story of Pocket Literacy Coach. Part of the genesis of Pocket Literacy Coach was establishing a mission that recognized how important it is for moms and dads to feel and be supported in what they do as parents day in and day out. I left off in the last post talking about how it is our mission to play this role of supporting and recognizing the daily greatness of moms and dads.
Related to this, I wrote about how important it is to be a part of a supportive and inspirational community. Today’s post is a continuation of the winding narrative that is the story of Pocket Literacy Coach. As I’ve mentioned before, there is a nice, neat linear version of the history of Pocket Literacy Coach that I often tell. But that version of our history elides some very important additional influences. Such as the ongoing influence of another great woman in my life, Michelle Ernsdorff.
Last week I received an early morning phone call from my friend Michelle. It was kind of a random call; she called to share some of her always positive outlook. It started off as a short call just to say some kind words, some uplifting words, words of support. This is the type of person Michelle is and is an example of the type of call you will often get from her. In other words, she’s awesome!
On this particular morning she called to say thank you to me for being a shoulder to lean on, share war stories with, talk about the ups and downs and growing pains of the babies we’re each trying to raise, etc. Michelle and I met a few years ago, right around the time she had launched her foundation and around the time I launched Pocket Literacy Coach. We connected almost instantly and have been great friends ever since.
One of the things that is always awkward for me when I get a call like this from Michelle is that she says what a great influence I have been and that my support means so much to her. The thing that is uncomfortable about this heaping of gratitude and appreciation is that it always feels unwarranted. You see, Michelle is a very accomplished businesswoman and entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of an amazing childhood cancer foundation that is helping families with children with cancer crisscross the country to get cancer treatment. She is literally helping to save lives. Michelle is a childhood cancer survivor herself, and has one of the most harrowing, heart-wrenching stories of cancer triumph you’ll ever hear. Just being around her to hear her talk will inspire the crap out of you! Yet she thinks that I inspire HER!
This is amazingly accomplished woman calls to tell ME, a guy who sends text messages to parents’ phones, that I motivate and inspire HER. Yeah right!
The thing about Michelle is, she means it.
And herein lies the moral of this short story: we ALL need support; we all need encouragement; we all need to be inspired and motivated. Sometimes that support, encouragement and inspiration come in unexpected packages. Sometimes we see inspiration in places other people don’t. Sometimes we feel supported by things other people don’t even realize they are doing. Almost all of the time, it is a simple act of listening, being a shoulder to lean on, saying an uplifting word, smiling and saying, “Way to go, Chris. You sent out a really great text message today to those parents!” Small recognitions go a long way. In the same way that I take it for granted that I support and encourage Michelle, she probably does not see or recognize all the ways that she supports and inspires me. It’s the small, consistent acts of support that have the greatest impact on others.
And that’s the point of this post – and it’s a key part of our mission at Pocket Literacy Coach: small, consistent acts of support go a long way! Having a community of people to lean on is essential. Michelle, and her phone call today, embodies the key elements of our mission at Pocket Literacy Coach, which is to support, encourage, recognize, inspire and empower moms and dads in small ways and big.
Michelle is not the only amazing woman who is a part of the Pocket Literacy Coach story. In another post I’ll tell you about another inspiring woman and mother who is part of the Pocket Literacy Coach story.