Life is full of ups and downs. It’s who you are in those painful down periods and the steady “middle moments” that truly define the type of leader and example you are for others.
To quote my 90-year-old mother, Della Lee, “every day, you get to decide to be happy, sad, mad or glad.” This is the leadership attribute of being 100% responsible, where you may not be able to impact what happens to you, but you can impact how you’re going to react or behave because of it.
It can be so easy to be laser-focused on the pile of commitments, the rush of life and this moment’s most pressing issues that we lose our intentionality. Worse, when things are harried or challenging, we can fall into energy-draining behaviors like being “too busy,” stressed, overwhelmed, disappointed, grouchy or worse.
Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season provide a wonderful opportunity to re-center. During this holiest time, we can practice a more hopeful, “happy” or “glad” way of being. To get there, all we have to do is STOP and APPRECIATE all of the precious, perfect blessings in our lives.
For me, that means regularly making a gratitude list – either a short list I’m grateful for from today, or a longer list of things I’m grateful for in life. No matter how challenging our circumstances, there are always blessings to count. And, when things are on the upswing, saying prayers of gratitude can re-enforce our positivity, too.
Today, my gratitude list includes my:
- Wonderful husband, Brian, with whom I celebrated 30 years of marriage this year. He is my bestest bestie and I hope for AT LEAST 30 more years together
- Fun and fantastic daughters, who I am proud of, in awe of, and love dearly
- Intelligent, strong parents who fight hard to stay healthy and enjoy their family and the simple pleasures of life. I am so blessed to have them with me still!
- Five siblings, 18 nieces and nephews, and many more grand nieces and nephews who are so unique and yet all cut from the same genetic cloth as me. We are an army that can pull together in both crisis and special occasions to achieve anything
- My two Weimaraner pups who are full of mischief and destruction, yet are also sweet, loving personalities who have entered “old age”
- Beautiful, unpredictable Earth with its magical seasons, wildlife, trees and flowers, topography, and weather – and the ability to enjoy it through vacations, travel, running in different cities and by being in my own back yard
- Bright, fun-loving and committed team members I get to work with each day. We are so blessed to be on this leadership development journey together
- Smart, strategic and change-ready clients who share their hopes and dreams with us and allow us to help achieve them. Our clients become our dear friends, too
- Health! Blessed to still run regularly, to focus on getting stronger and faster. This year, my prayer list for those who are ill or injured has grown significantly and serious illness has struck close to home. I pray for so many to be restored to health and I pray in gratitude for my own
- Technology that continues to evolve and makes things more vivid, easier and instantaneous
- Friends from different parts of my life who support and challenge me and make me laugh a lot, too!
- Spicy meals, coffee, wonderful fruit and all the delicious food and drinks available every day, at our fingertips
- Safe and cozy home where I work, live, rest and recharge
I could go on, but then you’d be reading about my appreciation for the color purple, Starbucks, Thinsulate and so much more. You get the point, though, that gratitude can live in the big and small – in the everyday and the exceptional, too.
How does gratitude make a difference in your life? How does it impact your mindset or leadership approach?
What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?
I’m grateful for you!