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How Are You Showing Up?

By Joey Havens

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My daughter Kelsey has two beautiful kids, Kyler and Kylie. Now, these two kids have enough energy to power three or four Tesla cars. If only I could bottle it up. Today, we are celebrating Kylie’s fourth birthday with lunch, which will include ice cream! CeCe and I have arrived early and are waiting on our energizer bunnies.

Here they come, dragging their feet, heads down, clinging to Kelsey and moving at the pace of molasses. What could be draining these two kids? Why are they being so timid and not like themselves? Where are our energizer bunnies?

Then it hits me — they lack of a sense of belonging. They are in a strange place, around people they don’t know. Right here in front of my eyes, I can see the negative effect that comes when we don’t have a strong sense of belonging. We simply don’t show up as ourselves. We don’t bring the energy, ideas or joy that comes with the security of belonging. We can never reach our full potential without a strong sense of belonging.

As we begin to visit and talk, you can see them relax and their confidence grow. The wonderful thing with kids is they connect quickly. As we express our love and excitement to be with them, they quickly step out to embrace our celebration. We intently listen to them, inquiring about their lives and they begin to share non-stop. Our energizer bunnies are back! 

We move outside to enjoy eating our ice cream cones and they are melting away on this hot, humid Mississippi day. What else has melted away is the fear or lack of belonging that had gripped these two precious kids. We are in full energy mode and there is nothing quiet about our party now. Let’s remember there’s nothing quiet about a culture that provides a strong sense of belonging. High performing teams are built on a strong sense of belonging (and ice cream).

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