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Plans vs serendipity

Why this post isn't about how I'm obsessed with OKR planning right now

Sara Lobkovich
Sara Lobkovich
4 min read
Plans vs serendipity

When I started this newsletter, I committed to myself to send a newsletter issue every other Tuesday, by 11am, like clockwork, no matter what else is going on in my life or work. I can usually spend 15-30 minutes on Sunday or Monday night after the kids go to bed writing, so this date with myself (and you) is the thing that’s not negotiable because I’m committed to balancing how much I consume and create, if I don’t put my own time to create first, it doesn’t happen.

And my plan for this week, which I’ve been sketching out for weeks now, was to make an epic polished professional post today about why I’m obsessed with Objectives and Key Results right now (aka OKRs) and share some resources and what I’ve learned working with OKRs this year to help enable your own annual planning for 2020.

And then life and work happened and yesterday I had

  • a brand launch more than a year in the making,
  • my husband’s 39th birthday, and
  • our annual blended family holiday kick-off night: hot cocoas at the Pacific Place Barnes & Noble, a ride on the Westlake merry-go-round (I didn’t realize the grown-ups were supposed to stand on the deck instead of actually riding the horses — another episode of Stepmom doesn’t know how to grown-up), a visit to the downtown Gingerbread House display and visiting Santa.

Stepmom doesn’t know how to “grown-up,” case in point 👆

Our regular Santa at Pacific Place isn’t working weekdays this year (I’d wax about my other observations of physical retail here, if I had more time) so that left the Nordstrom Santa line as option.

It was a nearly two-hour wait with two hungry tweens and a hungry husband AND his hungry ex-wife PLUS me (also hungry)

it’s a short film, a lot of the time, around here

but when we got our minute next to the fake fire with the friendly helpers and Santa himself the wait was 100% worth it.

He was the most convincing Santa I’ve seen in years. He spoke slowly, in low tones, and seemed a little hard of hearing and a little confused that we stopped by and waited in a two-hour line just to visit, not for pictures. But the wrinkle in his eyes and the roly-poly of his laughter were unmistakably true. With a nine year old and a ten year old under our roof these days who are becoming small adults faster than you can say

VSCO girl!”

it was extra special to get a few minutes with a Santa who, when I wished him a very happy holiday on our way out, he smiled and his eyes actually twinkled and I thought to myself

I still believe.

I’m not sure our girls noticed that Santa happened to be Black. I didn’t bring it up, because I’d already had a chat with them about how cool it was that some of the displays at the Gingerbread House tour this year had diverse representation and how important that is so that everybody has a chance to feel included. I’m That Lady, but I also pick and choose when to speak up and when to just observe and listen.

But at some point while we were waiting in line, I noticed Santa’s dark skin. And I looked around at the other families with little ones, all standing in that extremely long line with that wait during the window of time when those littles are usually eating their dinners. Most kids (not ours) dressed up in their Christmas finest.

Many of them, possibly, seeing a Santa who looks like them for the first time.

“[Only] roughly three percent of all professional Santas in the United States are African American. That’s disconcerting for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that research shows that positive representation of role models — one kids can look at and relate to — can go a long way in helping children have a better self-image.”  

-from an article interviewing a rad Santa, via last year

And the whole thing filled my heart with joy and gratitude that we’d stumbled into a space where very normal magic was happening right in front of my eyes.

I hope you find a little bit of your own, this holiday season.

And for readers for whom this is not the most wonderful time of the year (this is the case for many people special to me) I’m sending the hope that you feel the freedom to grieve in the midst of the holiday season. And if you need someone to talk to, I’m here.

That’s it for today. I’ll get that OKR issue pulled together and it’ll be back to business as usual shortly since I’ve got to get cracking on my job search or my solo consulting company start-up (I’m still deciding which)(but either way I’m funemployed January 1st so at some point I’m going to have to start making plans).

In the meantime, may this holiday season bring you what you need. For me, it’s bringing rituals of renewal and reconnection with friends and family and former colleagues with whom my time has been way too limited the last few years

and for all this I’m very grateful.


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