Gratitude

Earlier this week was Worldwide Gratitude Day. A perfect time to start on this journey and express my gratitude for you. Thank you so much for all the encouragement and support you have shown this self-indulgent, amateur writer this week as I move into seeing what is next. I am so grateful for all the connections, the ability to network, and hear from, and be inspired by other passionate people following their bliss. I am also SUPER grateful for the hilarious moms in my daughter’s class that I can laugh and keep it real with during this “challenging” time (understatement of the year) as we are home trying to stay on top of the homeschooling with our kids ALL DAY LONG!

A friend of mine with two young kids shared with me a practice they do at their dinner table. Roses and Thorns. We started this in our family about a year ago (don’t get carried away, it doesn’t’ happen all the time). I love this for so many reasons. Sharing our roses, or the things that brought us joy in the day, and the thorns, the prickly parts of our day, allow us to 1) connect as a family 2) reflect on the day in a thoughtful way 3) be appreciative for the wonderful little things that happened, and 4) acknowledge that “thorns” are also part of life. There is nothing to fix. There is no right or wrong answer. Sometimes if my daughter can’t find any roses, (because she can be a 6 year old brat) we give her a reminder of something simple that was lovely, like completing the LEGO build she was working on or the beautiful picture she drew for someone else.

Gratitude for the little things has been one of the easiest ways for me to stay in the present. When Asti, my 11-year-old Cavapoo, joined our pack at 7 weeks old, I remember taking him for walks and he would stop and smell everything! At first it was super annoying, I needed him to keep it moving so we could get to the coffee shop and look cute. Fortunately, it didn’t take me too long to realize, this is what stop and smell the roses is all about. My sweet pup taught me to slow down, be grateful for these moments to smell the roses (or whatever nasty thing he was smelling in the streets of San Francisco). One reason I like being on Facebook is the wonderful reminders people share daily that lift each other up. To be present, to appreciate, to focus on what is good. What is good for me is the people I surround myself with.

We all have seen many programs set up to appreciate our colleagues. They are great (usually). They also cost a lot of money ($25 gift cards start to add up in an organization). They are also not needed. People want to be seen. They want to be seen and acknowledged for the work that they do and the people they are. A “thank you”. A true genuine, “thank you” for a job well done, or how  a situation was handled, or an admiration. Yes, we get paid to do the job, but being seen for the job we do is critical to ones motivation. It is not hard. It does take a gratitude mindset and putting a little energy into knowing about someone else. Some like to give tokens/gifts, to show appreciation. The adage “it’s the thought that counts,” I genuinely believe. The monetary value is not what’s important. I decided when I do give a gift, I want to be sure it is saying something. Using my buying power for good, giving gifts that have a meaning or purpose to me. I love giving the Pride Candle to friends! It shows people what my values are, while also helping a small business make an impact. I buy on Etsy too. Instead of giving gifts to colleagues and family during the holidays I have a long-standing practice of making donations to different charities instead. No this isn’t the “Human Fund”, please note Seinfeld reference. Maybe it is a cop out for nothing wanting to try to find the “perfect” gift for someone, but it brings me as much joy. PS. I still am an avid Target and Amazon shopper.

Call me old fashioned, but I have a stack of thank you cards. I write at least one a week to someone I am grateful for. They did not give me a tangible gift for me to acknowledge (I do that as well). They may have listened, they may have done something I admire, I may just notice they need a boost. “They” say there is no such thing as an altruistic deed, I agree. We get so much more back when we appreciate, acknowledge, and really see people for all the good work they do and what they bring to our lives. Leadership is the job of inspiring and connecting with people. What better way to demonstrate your leadership than by acknowledging people for their contributions. FYI we are all leaders, no fancy title required.

In celebration of World Gratitude Day, thank you. I hope you find something every day to be grateful for. The smaller the better!

Published by rachaelsarahgass

Working mom, wife, friend, sister, organizational psychologist, learner, coach. Kindness Counts. People First. Integrity Always.

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