”You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town”

At face value, these words sound ominous! Perhaps the “better watch out” is sage advice, because the big dude with the white beard is fixing to act like a thief and break in to your home!

Without waxing too religious, this season leading up to Christmas is commonly known as advent, a time of preparation and watchfulness.

I would like to offer some thoughts and perhaps a bit of homework that connects the spirit of Santa and a sense of watchfulness to our personal lives and workplaces.

There is nothing more sacred than our home, our casa, our palace; and at work, our desk or our department. We would defend if necessary, and yet, we all value and accept the notion of this Kris Kringle hombre invading our personal space.

From my perspective, it is all about “intent.” Santa’s sole purpose is to spread good will, cheer and peace, and he backs up this intent by boldly yet with care, breaking in to every household and leaving gifts. He is a kind of reverse thief; instead of taking he simply gives.

So, I have a suggestion; be Santa, but not in the usual comfortable way. Be bold, be brash, by “breaking in” to people’s lives like a thief, and instead of taking, give.

Here is the step-by-step homework, when performed with fidelity, will increase your sense of good will, make your world a better place, and model something that can spread faster than spilt egg nog!

1. “You better watch out”
Be on a constant lookout for any opportunity to break out of your comfort zone and break in to someone’s life to give them something they might not have expected.

2. Be bold and break in
Do not pass up any opportunity. Pick people that are not necessarily in your safe zone. It is easy to give a gift to your Secret Santa target, or to a good friend, but what about someone you don’t know or with whom you don’t have a particular relationship? Here are some examples:
• Homeless person
• Server at a restaurant or retail clerk
• Co-worker with whom you seldom connect
• Someone with whom you should rebuild a bridge
• A boss

3. Back up your intent
Give something that truly demonstrates the spirit of the season. Examples:
• Send a Christmas card to someone you would never consider doing so previously
• Fill “blessing bags” (paper lunch bag with snacks, trinkets, toiletries, etc.) and carry one with you all the time to give to a homeless person with whom you might cross paths
• Compliment every server or retail clerk on service, necklace, smile or whatever comes to mind
• Leave small gifts or tokens anonymously with a simple message like “I appreciate you”
• Stick Post-It notes with a personal comment of appreciation to various co-workers, especially those you might supervise
• Take small steps to heal a relationship – instead of fixating on what someone lacks, make a list of that person’s strengths – then begin to comment on that person’s value
• Include your boss – generally, they are accustomed to being the giver and seldom the receiver – remember in the greater view of humanity, there is no pecking order
• Make a friend – research on “exceptional likeability” points to the importance of showing genuine interest in others by asking questions. Engage someone at work and make them a new friend. Be more “interested” than “interesting”

This whole Santa thing is truly much more than child’s play. The concept represents an opportunity to genuinely make a difference in your sphere of influence AND it will widen your circle as well!

So you better watch out – Santa Claus, in many forms and manifestations, is coming to town!

Peace! Lynn

(Note: We at Vertical Performance would love to hear your Santa stories if you create some) lclapp@verticalperformance.com