The entire ConvergenceCoaching team was just together for our annual planning meeting in Bellevue, NE this month, and we started our meeting by going around the room and sharing what we are each thankful for. As we did, I realized how much I take the many blessings in my life for granted. During this time of “uncertainty and fear,” I concur with Jennifer, my partner, when she wrote in her October 29th posting about generating a positive, solutions-based vision for our futures rather than fearful ones and believe that focusing on our blessings is a big part of this.
Since the election, many people are hopeful for a brighter future and, while I am moved by what’s possible because of our democratic process and living in this country, I think we’re focusing too much on the problems of today, fixated on the need to have them all solved tomorrow or things just won’t be “right with the world.” What about everything that is good and right and wonderful today?
One of the methods for generating positivity Jennifer wrote about is thinking positive thoughts. One of the easiest ways to do this is to take inventory of all that we have to be thankful for. When we went around the room in our planning meeting, my list included:
• My great husband and three beautiful children
• My parents, siblings, and other extended family members
• Living in the United States of America
• My comfortable living status, especially as compared to those less fortunate
• The opportunity to be part of the ConvergenceCoaching team and serve our amazing clients
Many of my colleagues had similar lists and other blessings they identified in their lives. It was wonderful to be with a team of colleagues, reflecting on what’s good in our life, our world, and our business.
I shared this with my husband and children and they started adding to my list (it’s contagious!). I was raised that a truly grateful heart gives back. My daughters have been teaching me a lesson or two about this recently.
They both had summer jobs on a family farm, and one of our agreements was that 40% of their earnings went into their college savings, 10% to a charity of their choice, and they could keep the remaining 40% as spending money. I expected an argument, but there was none. On our way to the bank with their paychecks, I expected an argument again. No argument.
Instead, my youngest daughter chose to sponsor a child through World Vision and my eldest gave to Feed My Starving Children. Then, my oldest doubled her giving by paying the $100 commitment to go on a mission trip next June with her church youth group. Now I’m both grateful and moved. And with the holidays fast approaching (is Thanksgiving really next week?!?) there will be plenty of opportunities to give back for all that I have to be thankful for. We will participate in Operation Christmas Child and the Toys for Tots 5k Reindeer Run with the Marines – who are a blast to run with in December in Minnesota!
I would be willing to bet that if you make a list of the blessings in your life, share it with your family, friends, and colleagues, and took just one action to share the wealth of good fortune you have in your life, that we’d change the tone – and the conversations – in our homes, offices, and in our nation.
What are you grateful for? Who are you going to share it with? You will undoubtedly find that you can’t keep that gratitude to yourself, and if that’s the case, don’t hesitate to listen to your heart and give back wherever you’re called. It makes a difference.
Thanks for the "thankful heart" message. I was feeling especially grateful earlier this week. I was talking with a fitness instructor at the gym about her neighbor who got the West Nile virus (only one yard away from her, so I was struck with the thought, “it can happen to anyone, anywhere”). Since early September, he has been having hallucinations, slurs his speech, and is paralyzed from the waist down. One of his greatest joys was walking his beloved dogs, which he can no longer do… I was moved by all the little things that I take for granted (and am even annoyed by at times). I had the pleasure of getting up that morning to work out to exhaustion at the gym. When I got back home, I was able to take my dogs outside and chase after them. I didn’t mind so much how chilly it was or how “naughty” they wanted to be that day! Those are the little things I want to enjoy and not take for granted anymore (along with all the “big” wonderful things that I have to be thankful for). I hope all who read this blog will think about the large and small things for which they can give thanks.
Thank you for presencing the small things, too, that we have to be thankful for. I know for me it's those few moments at bedtime with my children, a call from someone to just say, "Hello, I was thinking of you," and a clean bill of health from a doctor.
I will take care to notice the little things this week in my Thanksigiving festivities with my family!