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Aug 1, 2022

Sending the elevator back down

Rachel McCrickard, LMFT

CEO and Co-Founder

I used to hate elevators. 

I’m still not crazy about them – particularly old ones that are small and compact. If there is an option to take the stairs, I usually do.

The worst kind of elevators are the ones that move slow and try to fool you into thinking you’re about to get trapped. I wouldn’t say I’m full-on claustrophobic – I just don’t like enclosed spaces that lack access to Netflix.

Any time I have to ride one, I make eye contact with the emergency button as soon as I get on, and I then I quickly ensure I have my cell phone and snacks… just in case.

Despite the fact that elevators are one of my least favorite things, I heard an inspiring metaphor about them that made me think of all of you.

Last week, I was in Minneapolis at a work event, and the keynote speaker was Justice Alan Page. Justice Page is a remarkable man. He is a former pro football player, with an impressive history as the first defensive player to win the Most Valuable Player award of the NFL.

But, his career didn’t stop there. A graduate of Minnesota Law School, Page went on to become a successful attorney, and then later the first African American justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court. In 2018, he was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

However, perhaps his most inspiring accomplishment is the non-profit he started with his late-wife, Diane, the Page Education Foundation, which has awarded over $16 million in educational grants and mentorship to students of color all across Minnesota. 

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During his keynote last week, a member of the audience asked Justice Page what inspired him to give back to his community in this way. Justice Page recounted a conversation he had, years ago, with one of his mentors. His mentor said something like this, “Alan, when a person achieves success or influence, they have a responsibility to send the elevator back down.”

Justice Page said that this was an important reminder of the opportunity he has to impact the world for good, because of his position.

I immediately thought about the way this story relates to clinical supervision. When I get to chat with a clinical supervisor, I’m always amazed at their intellect, experience, and empathy. These seasoned clinicians have seen a lot, heard a lot, and learned a lot – and they have so much wisdom to pass along to newer clinicians in our field.

In each session, they are sending the elevator back down, to provide support, mentorship, and accountability to the next generation of therapists.

I’m so grateful to the people in my life who have sent the elevator back down to me — who have helped me grow, learn, and evolve.

People like Nikki Raymond, my most favorite boss ever, who taught me the power of transparent, clear, and kind communication.

And like Gene Combs, a thought-leader in Narrative Therapy, who gently teaches me how to think deeper and broader about the importance of community.

And Pat Harwell, my AAMFT supervision mentor who, when I told her my idea for Motivo said, “oh, Rachel, you should definitely do this.”

I’m curious, who sent the elevator back down for you? If you want to share their impact with me, I’d love to hear about them.

Rachel McCrickard, LMFT
CEO/Co-Founder, Motivo

Each Monday, I’ll share my perspective on topics that mean a lot to me: growth, resilience, relationships, and leadership.

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