The Invisible Story

This is one of my favorite photos since becoming a dad some 8 years ago. There's no sweet baby in it, no picture-perfect moment between daddy and daughter. But still, it's so much more than a picture of the wall to wall carpeting. It doesn't take a keen eye to notice the impressions of my feet.

Any parent whose had a kid capable of resisting sleep knows the exhaustion in these footprints. My  wife spotted my imprints the next day, after a particularly hard night where, for 45minutes, I stood, fixed to one spot, with a consistent rocking back and forth - avoiding anything changes in breathing, sighs of discount, or anything that may disrupt the sleep-inducing monotony I was desperately trying to create in order to get my little one to (finally) fall asleep.

Despite the picture reminding me of the exhaustion and frustration, the picture makes me smile. These footprints are a rare artifact of an untold story of the hard work, the challenges, the exhaustion we endure when we're committed to something we love. 

Sometimes it's parenthood. Sometimes it's getting in shape. Sometimes it's our personal growth or professional development. And sometimes it's the people who have persisted through months, in some cases years, of what's been a rollercoaster job market. Their feet will have worn through the carpeting right now. And no amount of "Hang in there!" will make things happen faster.

In fact, encouraging platitudes can make us feel like a failure. If we don't "hang in there" then we've given up, haven't we?

That night, rocking my little girl, I didn't know when she'd eventually fall asleep. I'd exhausted (intentional pun) all the typical tricks - the only thing left was to plan for the long haul and make sure my stubbornness would outlast hers.

There's another part of this story you don't see: Eventually, I traded out with my wife. I hadn't given up - in fact, I was set to go the distance. But my wife (infinitely wiser) knew our odds of outlasting our strong-willed little girl would be better if worked together. She didn't tell me to "hang in there," she helped.

I'm not here to tell you to "hang in there" either - I'm here to be a part of the invisible story. Most of my time on LinkedIn is spent in the messages, not on the posts. So if it's your resume, if it's resources, if it's about growth, if it's to bounce off ideas, or if it's just to listen - I'm here to help rock the baby. 


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