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Monday Motivation: Smile Files

Monday Motivation: Smile Files

Monday Motivation, 3.1.2021

Written by: Maura Long

Every Monday, The Rogers-Long Team meets for one of its two weekly meetings. The Monday meeting always ends with “Monday Motivation” in which a few minutes are spent listening to one team member presenting a quote, a quick reading from a book, a scene from a movie, or anything else they find motivating to provide a “spark” to the whole team on a Monday morning.

It blows my mind that today is March 1. This March marks one year since our worlds were turned upside down as COVID-19 started to ravage through the US.  This year has been filled with tragedy, fear, violence, isolation, anger, uncertainty, and confusion (just to name a few).  I, by no means, want to minimize or negate the severity of the pandemic, and the terrible things that have happened over the past twelve months, but on this rainy Monday, I am choosing to use this milestone to reflect on something positive that has helped me grow over the past year.

I love spending time with good people, and I’ve always made it a point to fill my calendar with as many social events and one-on-one time as I can. So, when my social plans came to a screeching halt due to quarantine, I was thrown for a loop. For the first time in my life, I was forced to stop spending time with other people and start spending a lot more time with myself and my emotions. For the record, I do not consider myself a very emotional or vulnerable person, but I knew that growing in my emotional intelligence needed to be a priority, and what better time to focus on it! Through journaling, podcasts, books, and deep conversations with good friends, I have grown.  Although I still have a long way to go, it has been a huge personal victory for me over the past twelve months. One emotion that I have become particularly passionate about is gratitude.

I know the RLT is all about attitude and gratitude, and this isn’t a new revelation, but I have really been digging deep to find actionable ways to acknowledge, reflect on, and incorporate more joy, more often.  One of the simplest and most effective practices I have implemented was the creation of my smile files. They are running lists of the things that bring me joy and help me see beautiful moments in a crazy world.   I have a physical file that contains handwritten notes and sweet letters, an album on my iPhone camera roll that stores happy memories, a folder in my email inbox titled “Good Stuff”, a note in my phone so I don’t forget something good that happened in the middle of a crazy day, and at the end of each day I break out my journal and write down at least three things that made me pause and appreciate a moment.

Adding to my smile files makes me more conscious of the things I have to be grateful for in my life. Now I actively search for things to add to my smile files each day.  And when things are feeling heavy, a quick glance into a smile file can give me a much-needed boost and provide me peace amongst chaos. 

We are all hoping for a better, lighter, livelier year. A year full of health, routine, social interaction, and travel. As things start to reopen and the world starts picking up steam, I encourage you to start your smile files. Because when you start looking for things to be grateful for, the world starts to become a much more beautiful, kinder, and happier place. Although this past year has been difficult, I am grateful that this last year has brought me a new level of fulfillment and I cannot wait to see what this next season has in store. 

Maura was born and raised in Hanover County.  A 2014 Hanover High School graduate and she attended JMU. Maura has three older brothers… you may see a slight resemblance to lead agent, Kevin. When Maura moved back to Richmond, she partnered with the RLT to participate in the Polar Plunge for SOVA.  She got to see first-hand the strong relationships Kevin had with his clients and the good the RLT army was able to do in the community.  For Maura, people are her priority, and Richmond is her home.  In her free time, Maura serves as Vice President of the JMU Hart School Alumni Network and volunteers as a Special Olympics Unified Partner and coach. A self-proclaimed French fry extraordinaire, you can find her exploring the Richmond restaurant scene and all the outdoor recreation RVA has to offer.

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