June Tips: (Middle School) Dances, Deep Water & (Article Clipping) Delight

Jun 12, 2024

Dear Together Friends, Fans, and Family,

Bossy Couch. See, made you laugh.

If you are reading this, I have emerged from teaching 175 awesome school mental health providers in Charlotte (Late-breaking Update: huge change of plans), surviving a two-mile open water swim (narrowly avoiding a goose that crossed in front of me), and leading the charge for an 8th grade promotion dance with 40+ volunteers and 300-something 8th teenagers. Which is all to say, IT’S BEEN BUSY AROUND HERE. And while I’m often encouraging people to make good use of small pockets of time during the work day, so tasks don’t follow us home at night, I have recently been thinking about using small pockets of time for connection and delight.

A power outage got in the way of Togetherness!

My line of thinking around this started when I learned that one of our Together Teammates (hi Brandon!) was going to be in town. Now I learned this the night before, and I already had a pretty hectic day ahead, but it is rare for me to see members of our team in person, and I wanted to make it happen. After a quick check of my calendar, I asked Brandon if we could meet near a local trail after I finished my Thursday swim. Yes, it was early. Yes, it was a bit out of the way for both of us, but that 30 minutes of fresh air, walking, and chatting with someone whose company I deeply enjoy was every bit worth it. It meant starting my workday 30 minutes later, but relationships are the part of the work I enjoy the most. It got me thinking about how we can all build in little moments of connection, joy, and relationship-building within the architecture of our days.

My longest open-water swim yet—luckily it was not freezing!

I realized I personally try to do this quite a bit throughout the day, in ways such as:

  • Video messages – My best friend, The Together Tech Exec, travels internationally for work often. Given that we often speak on the phone twice per day about nothing at all, I miss her when she is gone. We have taken to leaving Marco Polo messages to keep up when we are continents apart. Takes just a few minutes, but gives me a window into her travel life and helps us stay connected.

Melinda is the Thelma to my Louise. The Barb to my Star!

  • Non-Precious FaceTimes Of course, NY Times introduced the 8-minute phone call [gift link], and another close college friend (hi Anne Lac!) and I often actually call each other in the BUSIEST moments of our days with kids literally hanging on all sides of us, and we make it a FaceTime. We have no qualms about hanging up on each other (her kids are younger than mine), but it also lets us build relationships with each other’s kiddos too.
  • Old-Fashioned Mail – I love me some stationary, stickers and pens, and I almost always have all three on me. I got to catch up with a former colleague and beloved human for an hour on the phone a few months ago, and I wanted to tell her how much it meant to me (hi Sara Keenan!), so I dropped a card in the mail to her home.
  • Birthday Eve Phone Calls – This one requires an extra level of Togetherness (birthdays in calendar, and previewing ahead), but when I can, I try to call the night BEFORE someone’s birthday because 1) I like to be first and 2) real phone calls are few and far between to celebrate someone’s special day. PS Do not text me on my birthday. Call me! Leave me a list of reasons I’m awesome.
  • “Article Clipping” – This is a vestige of my grandfather clipping articles and sending them to me in the mail, but if I read a newsletter with a cool idea or see a review for a book or show that looks good, I’m definitely forwarding it – with a clear why or read-for – and making a connection with another friend. Also, this feels like it makes all my Substack subscriptions worth it!
  • Same Week Socials – In my particular season of life (four tweens/teens), the schedule is packed by choice, and it can be hard to plan ahead for items with ADULT friends. I’ve had better luck in doing some last-minute planning. I literally sent a text to a girlfriend a few Friday nights ago that said, “Want to go do some returns at the mall together?” She was free at the same moment, and off we went to be Errand Friends.

So, how about you? How do you find time to make connection or spread delight? Tell us more here!

The 8th grade dance was a big lift, but so much fun!

And as we head into Deep Summer, our monthly newsletter takes a vacation in July while I wrangle 12 people for Maia’s Annual Maine Cousin Camp (yes, I’m packing the matching tie-dye bandanas again), but we will be sure to share our upcoming classes with you in a short blast! Oh, and one more thing. . . our open enrollment IN-PERSON classes are back. I’m super psyched to meet some of you for some Together Leader time in Houston on Thursday, October 24th. Registration is live, and we anticipate this will sell out quickly.

Oh, and in what might be the most fun collab of all time, my dearest author buddy Elena and I are having a free webinar conversation called The Together Coach on July 17th. Register to hear us talk about keeping your insides and outsides Together while coaching. PS Run, don’t walk, to pre-order a copy of Elena’s latest masterpiece.

#clogsandclipboards #togetherforever


Top Together Tributes  

  • Life-sized dioramas based on children’s books? Yes please! So, in another life, I would have attempted to be a children’s author. I read about The Rabbit Hole [gift link] and was immediately enamored. Founded by former bookstore owners, it’s a space that allows kids and grown-ups alike to immerse themselves in children’s literature.
  • Leave a Landmark! Interrupted much? I love this idea – and the others on this list – of “leaving a landmark,” so you can easily return to tasks after frequent interruptions. In fact, to get really meta, I left this exact section as a landmark when I had to pause and take a teen to a doctor’s appointment!
  • Do you project-manage your home life? Folks are using tools like Trello and Notion to manage their personal and family life [gift link] as well as their professional life. While some people hate the idea of it, many use these tools to create balance in their lives. PS I used Asana to project manage the 8th grade social!