Having a “red carpet” at the step & repeat for a party seems like a minor detail. Like a simple little unrolling of a carpet and throwing a banner up. Let’s just get that straight right here.
It is not.
For the Derby-Style GNO on Thursday, we borrowed my sister Kim’s red carpet as well as her step & repeat stand, to set up the photo-op with my friend Kim’s Kentucky Derby banner. Rolling out the carpet was easy, done in no time flat. That stand though, it was a bear. (Thank heavens for Gary with Texas Photobooth for jumping in to save the day!) It turned out darling and all the ladies clearly loved posing in front of it!
But the fun didn’t end there.
When it was time to clean it all up, getting that stand to fit back into that tiny bag was something like trying to untangle a giant pile of wire hangers. . . with your eyes closed. In our complete exhaustion, it made no sense whatsoever. After finally collecting all the rose petals off the rug, finding a vacuum to suck up all the “fascinator” making supply remnants, proved to be a lost cause. So I rolled that 20′ rug up, knowing I’d have to find the time and a clean enough space to vacuum it later.
That “later” came yesterday.
I unrolled it on the driveway thinking it could just hit it with my vacuum, only to find that underneath all the glitter, tulle, and fabric remnants, there were wine stains. #goodtimes So I brought out the rug cleaning machine and got to work. What I expected to take me 5-10 minutes ended up taking more than an hour of my day. (That’s not even counting the 2nd vacuuming session after I left it in the driveway to dry, and the lawn guy didn’t seem to think I would mind grass clippings all over the pristine red carpet in the driveway!)
I tend to clean carpets a lot.
My hands are busy and it’s too loud to talk to anyone on the phone, so I think. Here’s what I kept thinking throughout that carpet cleaning: Leaving things better than you found them is always the right choice. I could have easily rolled up that rug and taken it back to my sister. She probably wouldn’t have cared. The stains were relatively faint and red carpets are, in fact, carpets to walk on after all.
I’ve learned this lesson the hard way.
I’ve borrowed and loaned my fair share of things over the years. It turns out, people expect to get things back the way they were when you got them. It doesn’t matter if it’s a lawn trailer or a red carpet. Ten times out of ten, it’s the right (& much easier) thing to do, to leave things better than you found them. Going down the red carpet one more time with the vacuum won’t kill you, but it could kill a relationship. It’s true in all of life.
Leave people better than you found them.
Don’t bring your gossip, negative energy or drama to a gathering with friends or family. Bring your best self. Bring your encouragement and joy to your relationships when you can. Everyone is struggling on the inside. Leave them better than you found them.
Leave your work better than you found it.
Sure, it’s easier just to punch the clock. It’s easier just to do the minimum amount of work required. But it pays in spades when you show up with your best and leave the project better than it was when you found it.
Leave the world better than you found it.
It’s worth the extra effort.
to more love,