Approaching the one-year anniversary of my mom’s passing has stirred memories that are both real and raw. Many days have rushed by like a speeding train, while on other days’ time has stood still.

Her wisdom never escapes me, especially when I’m in a dark hole. And then, in the blink of an eye, I’ll hear something that will have me belly laughing, and the beautiful memories come rushing back.

There was one activity my mom had to do every day, and it was non-negotiable. She calendared time for laughter.

According to mom laughing made her a better person, gave her perspective, and most importantly, she could support me in any way needed.

“Everybody Loves Raymond” was her go-to for the daily dose of laughter. She had seen every show at least 4-5 times, could recite the lines, and often started laughing in the middle of a scene, before the joke, because she knew what was coming next. One of my favorite activities was to watch her watch ‘Raymond’ which gave me my daily dose of laughter.

When I would call my mom in the evening, very often overlapping with Raymond, she’d say “honey I can’t talk right now because this is my time to laugh.”

“What?! I’m your daughter, I need your help, I want to talk.” Her response was priceless “Oh honey, you’re the most important person in the world to me, and I want to hear about your day, but right now I’m with Raymond, (like together in the same room?) and I’ll call you when it’s over. Love you.” Click.

Wow, talk about boundaries and knowing exactly what you need to be your best self and support those around you.

Last week I shared this story with a women’s group as I facilitated a workshop on how to best support your team. We all laughed and then I asked the million-dollar question “what on your calendar is a non-negotiable and makes you better?” The room was silent.

If you’re going to lead people, develop teams, and change the world then taking time to calendar what fills you up is essential to best serve others.

Today I feel comforted believing that when my mom entered the Pearly Gates Doris Roberts greeted her and they’re sharing a laugh right now.

What’s your non-negotiable to be better?


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