As per usual, NBB members gathered on Monday evening, this time to celebrate Notary Public Day together.
Instead of the usual Orientation and Sorting Ceremony we usually do, esteemed faculty member, Jen Neitzel, led a discussion she calls Pit & Peak, aptly named after an exercise the Kardashians do on their show.
Jen originally started this when her kids were young and in school, and she called it, Best & Worst. You know those family dinners where you sit around and ask, “how was your day, dear?” and the only answer you get is, “fine.”
Jen and her husband, Tommy, decided they would do things differently. They asked their kids, “What was the best part of your day…and what was your worst?”
That ignited conversation that moved beyond just, “fine” to true authentic sharing.
We got to do that on the NBB call too, and it was fascinating to listen to, as well as participate in.
“To date, what do you consider your peak, and what do you consider your pit of your notary career…so far?”
With a few exceptions, the answers were consistent: The worst experience, the pit, was often the same event as the peak.
Think about that a sec.
The worst experience ended up being the best experience. Strength comes from resistance, not ease.
For myself, I shared the story about a gentleman I was called to assist, merely hours before he passed away from pancreatic cancer.
The appointment was urgent, and last minute, like so many that came before it. But I didn’t know this one would change my life forever.
And if I thought it was an urgent appointment for me, imagine how this guy felt. Not three months before, he was living his life, carefree and recently retired. Now, he was literally on his deathbed.
Talk about checking your attitude.
Here I am worrying about rush hour traffic and making it to my next appointment, and this guy is about to die, surrounded by those he loves, signing his last requests and bequests.
This appointment changed me and the way I operate as a Notary Public.
The Pit: Attending a notarization for someone on the verge of death is a highly emotional experience. Not in the same way it might be an emotional experience for those who knew them well and loved them, but still emotionally charged. At the time, I wasn’t compelled to cry or emote during the appointment. Sure, it was awkward…but beautiful too, thanks to his loving family.
The Peak: This experience helped me better understand the magnitude of the role we play as a Notary Public. This isn’t just stamping paper and gathering signatures. This appointment changed how I answer the phone, the assumptions I make, how I dress, and how I “show up”-it changed everything.
And that was a gift. A tragic gift. And while I may not have cried in that appointment, I bawled in the car when I left. I wanted “it” off me, this rain of emotion I had worked so hard to avoid.
I wailed when I got home (even made a video and a blog about it here). And it still brings tears to my eyes today.
And I’ve thought about that one single appointment almost every day of my career since.
Here’s what I think the value of an exercise like “Pit & Peak” can be:
It forces us to slow down and thoughtfully process what we experience each day.
It might make us feel things that make us uncomfortable.
It might make us cry.
It might make us laugh.
But there is a power that comes with self-reflection, and the ownership of your experiences, that most people miss. When you reflect, even analyze, you get a chance to find the gifts in adversity. The laughs in the tears. The lessons in the pain.
Adopting this exercise every day with your kids might help you connect deeper with them, like it did with Jen and Tommy.
Adopting it every week might also help you connect deeper with yourself and your dreams.
In a 100% judgment-free zone, I invite you to ask yourself three questions each week (I like to do it on Sundays):
Bill Soroka is the founder of Notary Business Builder, an elite community of professional Notary entrepreneurs that are committed to building a successful business in any economy by leveraging authentic sharing technology and cultivating deeper relationships. He is also the best selling author of three books (and counting) designed to help notaries build their dream business.
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