From Our CEO

You know how when you do things over and over again – like driving to the grocery store or collecting the mail – you don’t remember parts of them? It’s easy to get lost in our thoughts. Today, while doing a mundane task (taking out the trash), I was in my head – didn’t remember opening the door and walking to the trash cans. But once I was there and closed the lid on the can, I was pulled out of my head by a beautiful sunflower.

I hadn’t planted it. It had come up voluntarily. A seed dropped by a bird, squirrel or chipmunk, I imagined. Instead of heading back to my desk, I sat down next to it and just stared at it for a bit – observed it. Brilliant yellow petals surrounding a tightly woven center of seeds yet to be planted. I took out my handy dandy cell phone and took a picture of it and texted my 87-year-old Mom.

“Hi Mom. Look what mother nature gave me for feeding the birds!” She sent back a heart emoji.

Heading back to my work spot, I felt lighter in my step and couldn’t help smiling. The rest of the day was just a bit better, like I was wearing rose-colored glasses. I felt hopeful and appreciative. I think that’s one of the many gifts spending time in nature yields: an awareness of the beauty around us and an appreciation for simple things like a flower or butterfly.

For me, the experience of seeing the lovely result of a random act made me pause and reflect. We are so fortunate to be able to do good work and be with great people. It’s easy to get caught up in the go, go, go and forget to stop and look for the beauty around us. It’s in nature and in our people and in the service we provide. Slowing down and noticing what the random results of our intentional acts are helps me, at least, remember that there are consequences to my actions and that I want them to be positive – like how feeding the birds resulted in this lovely flower.

I paused more during my next call, wanting to be sure the person on the other end of the call felt heard. And I changed my home screen to include the sunflower so that when I get pulled back into the fast-pace, I am reminded to stop and reflect on how I can create more sunflowers and less trash.

Here’s that picture.


– Becky Sharpe, CEO