Enthusiasm is Contagious. Let’s Spread It Around.

I cried this morning. It was a good cry, though: my favorite. I was actually on the phone with a close (close close) friend and she was telling me about something in her life that had been looking pretty grim for a while but just had a huge turnaround. She started crying and then I started crying, and it was just the best. I kept saying, “I’m just so happy to hear you sounding happy!!” I felt such joy and wished I could bottle it.

Then I took Roxie for a walk, and since that’s where I do a lot of good thinking, my brain wandered from this morning’s conversation to an article that was going around early this week about Taraji P. Henson openly celebrating the successes of her friends at the Emmys on Sunday night. The best part of the article was this:

Everyone wants to snag the role and to be the star, but very few want to be a on the sidelines rooting for others. In a dog-eat-dog world, Taraji P. Henson showed us that support is as support does and when one wins, we all win.

What my friend and I cried happy tears over this morning was personal and not professional, but just go with me; there’s a connection. I saw over time the sadness, frustration, anger, exhaustion, and countless other emotions she experienced along the way. This great thing that happened was a HUGE reward.

Professionally speaking, someone could go through all of those emotions (and more!) as she works towards a goal. Each person has her own strategies and work habits but typically in the case of an achievement, there is simply a huge amount of effort and intention behind it. The majority of the time, people are not rewarded just because the wind is blowing in their direction or because they are having a good hair day.

When I see friends achieve something professionally, I celebrate with them. If I don’t know the details of how much work they put forth, I can certainly imagine because I know what my own path has been like.

I don’t understand others who can’t muster enough energy and true happiness to high five, hug, or otherwise congratulate loved ones when something good happens. What does it say about a relationship if you can’t be happy when something exciting happens for somebody you care about? Allowing jealousy or unhappiness with one’s own situation get in the way doesn’t cause anything but bad feelings all around. Even if a friend gets an award or position for which you were also being considered, be happy for her. Be disappointed for a minute because you didn’t get chosen, yes, but keep that inside as you feel it and then move on to hug her. It will mean more to her than you realize.

I have a unique perspective on this: having cast four Chicago LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER shows, I know firsthand that there are tough decisions when choosing people for parts/spots/positions/awards/honors. There aren’t enough spots in life for everybody to get everything for which they apply or audition or work towards. If Tracey and I could select everybody who submits a gorgeously written-and-auditioned essay for our show, our show would be days long.

Not getting selected doesn’t mean one isn’t qualified or that her work is substandard. When we don’t get selected for something, it might not be our time. It might not ever be our time for that particular reward. We will likely get selected for something else down the road, and it might be something we never imagined. When that happens, don’t we want our friends to be genuinely happy for us? I know I do. I bet you do, too.

I know that women like the idea of supporting each other. When I shared that article on my Facebook page, it got nearly 50 likes and was shared 14 times (big numbers for something I post!). I hope that Taraji’s display of professionalism, support, and love on Sunday night is an inspiration to women all over the country. I hope we start seeing more enthusiasm, especially up close and personal in our own relationships.

It all goes back to one of my favorite sayings (which I’ve written about at least once before), “A rising tide lifts all boats”.

Enthusiasm is contagious. Let’s rise up together, shall we?

A rising tide lifts all boats.

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