If you have played any games on Facebook, your iPad, iPhone, or any other technology that allows you to play games like Words with Friends or Dice with Buddies, you are probably aware of the “nudge” button that allows you to prompt friends to take their turn in the game. The nudge button can be a fun and simple way to remind your opponent it is their turn to play. And, really, who hasn’t been sitting in a doctor’s office waiting to be seen and killed a little time playing games on their phone? If you are all caught up on your games and it has been a day or so since your friends took their turn, the nudge button is a perfect way to communicate to someone, “Hey…I’m bored and want to play, take your turn!” On the flip side, the nudge button can be your worst nightmare. I tend to nudge someone only if a reasonable amount of time has passed. Generally, if it has been 48 hours or less, I won’t nudge you. I figure you are busy and you’ll take your turn soon. However, once we pass 48 hours, I’m more likely to utilize the nudge button.
My sister, Suzy (sorry…she is known as Suzanne, but will always be Suzy to me) has a built-in nudge button of her own. It’s called Type A personality. She knows what she needs to do, sets an agenda, and gets it done. If you are involved in the plan, you better get on board or get off the tracks. And, as a mom of three (ages 9, 9, and 7), the wife of a Pastor, with a very successful career in law, and heavily involved in her community as a volunteer board member in organizations. I’d say her Type A personality and ability to nudge people in the right direction are needed and useful. I get lost just trying to keep up with plans for myself…I can’t imagine trying to coordinate her life!
Let’s have a look at how Suzy’s nudge button works:
For many years, my family encouraged me to pursue a Master’s degree. For equally as many years, I tried to avoid pursuing a Master’s degree. I never really enjoyed school and struggled at times, so when I finished my undergraduate degree, at the graduation ceremony, I ran across the stage, grabbed my degree, and kept running! I’m pretty sure I barely stopped on the stage for the required “Grip and Grin” photo with the President. I wasn’t really sure if he was going to reach for my hand or for my degree. I was heard yelling “I’m never going baaaaaaack to school again!” all the way back to my seat. But, years later, I started to realize that a Master’s degree was probably a smart thing to do, but fear held me back. Suzy began to nudge. “Hey…have you started grad school yet? When are you starting? What are you going to take?” “You can do it. Grad school is very different from undergrad. You have no reason to be afraid. You’re older and wiser now. You CAN do it!” (And, now that I have started grad school) “Hey…what are you taking next semester?” “Have you registered yet?” “When will you finish?” She continues to gently nudge me from time to time, prompting me to keep going and not give up. I have come to appreciate the nudges that come in the form of encouragement and support.
For many years now,Sharon and I have enjoyed vacationing with Suzy, Joel, the kids, and mom and dad. We usually go to the beach for a week in the summer, but we also take other trips throughout the year as our schedules allow. I know when I get a phone call that starts with “Hey, I’m considering a trip to (insert location here) and was thinking that we could (insert activity here)….”, that it’s going to be a great idea and lots of fun. I also know I need to clear my schedule to help firm up plans because a plan has been set in motion. And, (remember from above) once a Suzy plan is in motion, you better get in motion too. After the initial proposal is made, nudges to not delay and make a decision follow. “Hey…did you go online and look at the activity? What did you think? Can you go on X dates?” And, if I haven’t firmed up plans by the next day, the nudges continue. “Hey…are you in? If so, I’m going to call and book it right now.” I’m thankful for these nudges as well because the end result is always something fun, different, and filled with precious time with my family and Sharon.
Lest you think I’m the only being nudged, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Suzy recently shared with me that she had managed to irritate her legal assistant, Helen, with electronic nudges. Suzy has a system in her legal work that she created and refers to as PFS. Now, remember, she has a Type A personality. In her words, “I’m organized! Got a problem with that?” PFS stands for Print, File, Save. When she sends a document or email that is pertinent to a case she is working on, she forwards the document or correspondence to Helen with the subject line “PFS”. PFS means print the document or correspondence, save an electronic copy, and place a hard copy in the case file. Suzy was recently at a conference where she had a little extra time in her schedule. She utilized her extra time to review her sent email box and realized she had “a few” emails that needed to be PFS’d. She began to forward them to Helen with the subject line “PFS”. One after the other. Over 200 electronic nudges to print, file, and save. Yes, you read that right…over 200! The emails dated back to July! Suzy says they dated back to mid-August, but Helen said the truth of the matter was that there were some dating back to July. These electronic nudges were in addition to about a ream and a half of already printed PFS documents. Suzy had fallen behind in her own system and ended up nudging poor Helen to the point of exasperation, which resulted in a “I’m sorry I fell behind in my own system…please enjoy these flowers to make up for it” flower delivery to Helen. I think Suzy realized Print, File, Save was about to become Helen’s version of Please Find Someone else! It’s my understanding that the flowers were received graciously.
So, dear readers, I encourage you to listen to the nudges in your life. Sometimes they come from friends. Sometimes they come from family. Sometimes they come from God. I can promise you this…if you ignore the first nudge, there will be second. And a third. And so on until you acknowledge them. I’m thankful for a sister who has continued to nudge me through life by way of encouragement, support, love, and lots of fun trips. But, also remember, that nudges from Suzy follow a pattern of nudge….nudge….NUDGE! Remember, get on board or get off the tracks. The light at the end of the tunnel will not be an extended time for you to make a decision. It will be the headlight of the Suzy Plan-Making train!