Just a little over a year ago, Aaron Orr (J. J. Keller Developer at the time) passed away suddenly. As the anniversary of Aaron’s passing approached, I found myself thinking about Aaron and the times I and others shared with him. Many smiles/laughs and even a few tears for me during this time.
One really cool thing that came out of this reminiscing was a realization that Aaron still inspires me, even today! When I asked myself why (something I do often to find root causes of thoughts/etc) I noticed Aaron was a master at bringing groups of people together. He loved getting small groups of people together for lunch, organizing a Tough Mudder team including weekly training runs, annual ski trips to Granite Peak, weekly Ultimate Frisbee games at the local park in the summer, even late evening Halo/DayZ/League video gaming sessions. Certainly Aaron’s playful personality was at the center of many of these events but in hindsight, I believe he loved feeling part of a team… if it was our Dev team as a whole, the ski group within it, etc.
What to make a lasting impact? Organize a group outing/event!
Take the extra time to organize a group outing/event that you enjoy doing. Many people will attend these events, but only a select few will take the time to organize the event as well as do the simple (but effective) 1on1 influencing (arm twisting?) needed to ensure a good turnout.
The reward for your efforts: A memorable time with friends/coworkers. Thanks from those that attended, for your organizational efforts. The start/continuation of a culture of team/family. A lasting impact on the group… with stories to tell from the event, jokes to share related to little mishaps/etc that happened during the event, etc.
Take the time to attend group events and engage
Want to get to know more people? What to expand your circle of influence? Want to be part of something bigger than yourself? Take the time to attend group events and when attending, fully engage with the group. Lasting relationships happen when you engage, while attending is necessary to even have a chance to engage!
Bring people together
Whether you organize an event or attend events others organize, take the time to focus on bringing people together. Even if it makes you a bit uncomfortable, you won’t regret it and I guarantee you will be making a lasting impact like Aaron did, reaching far beyond his physical presence.
Thank you Aaron for helping teach me such a valuable lesson. If you were here today, I would ask you to stand up and take a bow!
Note: Main article picture is the group of J. J. Keller Developers that got together for lunch to celebrate Aaron’s impact on us all on the first anniversary of his passing. Qdoba was Aaron’s favorite lunch get together place. Thanks John and Cody for organizing the lunch event!