2020 has been the year of distancing and disappointment. I've been deployed to Korea and Afghanistan, but I'm not sure either of those places brought the isolation and uncertainty that I've felt this year. And, I know I'm not the only one. As we struggle to find happiness inside our individual bubbles, we need to look outward. We can create happiness by celebrating others.
Isolation is dangerous. Once we become isolated, it's a short step into a continuous downward spiral. Without external feedback, it's easy to self-talk ourselves into the worse possible interpretation of the world and ourselves. In order to break free, we need to look elsewhere.
I was a skeptic of the drive-thru graduations until I experienced it. As a county, we realized this time was even more important to recognize employees for their amazing accomplishments and efforts. To do that, we created our own curbside celebrations. What happened was nothing like I expected.
I expected employees to be underwhelmed. The reality could not have been further from the truth. Employees were extremely appreciative of the effort and creativity, especially during this unique time. Even more surprising was the positive cheer spread and experienced by the crowd throughout the parking lot holding up signs as they clapped, yelled, and jumped around. It wasn't just the awardees that were being lifted up, it was everyone.
For me, this was a strong reminder that sometimes doing something for someone else is the best medicine. Social investments are key to long-term happiness and thriving through challenging times. When we invest in relationships, it creates a domino effect where multiple lives are affected -- most interestingly our own.
If you're feeling down, celebrate a friend and get out of your own head. It might just be the secret to getting your own life back on track.