Working my way into the family

“You worked your way into the family”

This is what David, an Austin Energy lineman, told me today as I asked him to reflect on what I did that got his buy in to participate in PowerUP. What a thoughtful reflection on the work of choreographer. That makes me happy.

To be fair, David wanted to be a part from the beginning. He resonated with the 1st presentation I gave to his crew. He saw value in doing an event that would educate the public about the essential work he and his fellow employees provide. He liked that idea already.

And then, I just kept showing up.

“You were sticking with it,” he says. “You kept coming around…you were actually wanting to pursue this and follow through.” To put it simply, I was also around or as David says, “You showed up and did shit with us.”

I’ve been told by so many folks the fact that my continued presence at the job is what made it all work. By showing up over and over again, I convince people that I am authentically interested and can be trusted. That I am for real. I do this by showing up consistently, at least every week if not more. For PowerUP this was tough because there are 5+ sites I needed to appear at. I call this keeping the relationship active- showing up, ideally working alongside, and being together. Giving us something to talk about and laugh about together.

Showing up can looks like a lot of things. Showing up is coming early in the morning to go out of route, attending safety meetings and training sessions, going to holiday parties, retirement celebrations, other work gatherings, and any kind of special meal. While working on PowerUP I was proud of myself that I made the Thanksgiving meal at the North and South yards—both in the same day.

David continues, “You accepted us for who we are with open arms. (to me- I wasn’t judgemental). You showed interest in our work and asked us about our personal lives…you interviewed us and told us a little bit about yourself…You worked your way into the family.”

And it is only in that kind of spirit, one that involves a shared sense of ownership and collaboration, that I begin to move towards actually making the dance.

He continues, “You were real easy to talk to, which allowed me to slowly open up. I actually felt like I could voice my opinion and give you my input.”

And I needed his input. I didn’t know how to even start choreographing hanging a distribution line. We had to do all that together.

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