Be the life of the party … Thanks Grandma


On the anniversary of my grandma’s death I wanted to share the guest post she inspired for Stephanie Wonderlin’s blog. Just because someone is no longer in your life doesn’t mean you stop learning from them.

The holidays always bring families together.  And with these gatherings my mind often goes to the family members who have passed away. One in particular is my grandma. My brother is a “mama’s boy” and my sister a “daddy’s girl.” I’m the baby of the family so I acknowledge that I often got my way growing up ; ) but one thing I could always be called is a “grandma’s girl.”

During my reflections I was surprised to realize how much my grandma still affects the way I react to situations today, close to a decade after her death. I invite you to reflect on any family members or friends who have passed away. What lessons did they teach you? Have you taken the messages to heart? And how can you continue to learn from them even after their passing?

Keep learning. My grandma was 80 when she obtained her first library card. She read the newspaper every day from cover to cover. She did word-search puzzles to keep her mind active and engaged. Take her dedication to knowledge and apply it to your every day asking yourself, what can I improve upon today? How can I advance academically, professionally and personally?

Be generous. My grandparents owned a tavern near Midway Airport in Chicago called “Chateau.” Grandma could be found catching up with everyone who sat down at the bar. She kept a ledger detailing the amount of money the tavern brought in and how much could be loaned to family and friends. If a friend needed to buy an anniversary gift for his wife, but couldn’t wait until payday, he met with my grandma. She recognized the need to help out members of her community and trusted she would be reimbursed in full. I like to think of all the good my grandma was able to help facilitate and reminds me to be trusting and give back whenever possible.

If you’re not the life of the party, why bother attending? My grandma could chat up a stranger and walk away with a new friend. She’d be the one of the first to dance at a wedding and showed off a pretty mean “YMCA.” This piece of advice does not apply to social events alone. When attending a conference, networking event or internal meeting, always participate. An outgoing attitude and desire to engage is half the battle. Putting yourself out there can lead to great experiences.  


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