With Thanksgiving around the corner, and gratitude abounding, I could
not think of anyone better to write our November blog than my friend,
Jodie Fisher. Enjoy her amazing words. ~Kathy Edwards
A few weeks ago, an amazing human, who I have immense respect for, asked if I could write about being thankful, having gratitude. Funny thing, I used to preach every Tuesday via social media, a little thing called “Grati-Tuesday” - a day once a week to remember and put out to the universe (either screaming in your driveway or saying it softly in a closet trying to get through the day) a few things to be grateful for. Sometimes, those things were simply finding two socks that matched or mastering a pivot table in Excel. So, with a resounding ‘cheers’ to Grati-Tuesday, or any day for that matter, here I go!
“Always keep a bottle of Champagne in the fridge for special occasions. Sometimes, the special occasion is that you’ve got a bottle of Champagne in the fridge.” ~ Hester Brown
There’s a lot going on in this world, in OUR own small world - kids, laundry, groceries, bathrooms to clean, cars to gas up, animals to feed… wait… where’s the dog??... sports to go to ... wait… where are the cleats? … homework to finish, check the dryer and turn it on to ‘fluff’ the clothes that have already been in there for three days, and for some, there’s that other little hobby called work outside the home.
IT. IS. A. LOT.
To put the cherry on top of all that, sometimes (who am I kidding, a good majority of the time) with significant others in the fire service, you get to do it all single handedly.
I know most of us finish the day with a frustrated, fatigued, overloaded, yet, generally a grateful heart. Why are we able to finish our days with gratitude? Because we know in our beautifully chaotic, crazy weary lives, we have a tribe who understands exactly what that day feels like and is living the exact same story. Let’s be honest, that tribe can relate with no words needed.
Gratitude is having that tribe.
If you know me, you know that I am past the season of school kids, sports and homework (albeit, clothes in the dryer is still a struggle), but I can vividly remember the defeat of doing it all, organizing it all, cleaning it all and not feeling valued by the people I was doing alllllllll the things for. Here’s where older & wiser & better insurance (thanks Fried Green Tomatoes!!) comes into play. I WAS VALUED. I AM VALUED. I did alllllll the things to be at this chapter in life and be… grateful.
My husband has worked his way thru the ranks of the fire service, from a part-timer at age 18 to his current position of Battalion Chief, and he is forever a passionate student of the job he loves. He truly has a deep focus and love for mentoring and servant leadership. That zeal for learning involves lots of travel, juggling schedules, and time management, but the reward is he shares some of that learning with me. See what I did there? I’m grateful for the insane travel schedule because sometimes I get to join him and share the time together, and when I don’t go, he shares his experiences with me.
One of Rob’s favorite people to listen to is John ‘Gucci’ Foley. Mr. Foley is a former lead solo pilot of the Blue Angels, a Sloan Fellow at Stanford School of Business, a top-rated leadership keynote speaker, gratitude guru and expert in the “how” of high-performance teams. He shares his story of being a Blue Angel. They do a thing, a debriefing if you will, after every exercise, practice, or show, where the pilots and crew sit down and discuss the good, the bad, the opportunities for improvement, and what do to differently.
After each team member’s turn, they finish with “glad to be here!”. What does that exactly mean? Because honestly, looking at a sink full of dishes, it’s hard to imagine being “glad to be here.”
From John’s site: “Glad To Be Here is a mindset that enables higher performance. Research shows that teams and individuals that embrace a positive mindset as a core belief improve communication, inspire commitment and buy-in to group objectives. This fosters gratitude and new perspectives to recognize opportunities versus simply focusing on challenges.”
So, basically, in a nutshell, those Navy guys have a mindset of gratitude that makes their days, their actions, their outlook better, regardless. Period.
A grateful attitude, a thankful mindset can turn a negative situation more tolerable. And sometimes, those difficult circumstances are indeed opportunities for growth.
The ability to see through the crazy and know there is a brighter day around the corner and to be thankful for whatever adventure (or chaos!) lies with the next sunrise is what makes humans, especially our tribe of humans, simply exceptional.
To embrace and share our gratitude, we must learn to be purposeful with our minimal precious time. Ensure you surround yourself with a tribe that can listen without judgment.
A tribe you can vent to without them offering a solution (because seriously, 99% of the time, we already have the answer, we really just want someone to listen!). Ensure that you are that person when the tables are turned.
“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” ~ Dolly Parton
Learn to be grateful for both … both the rain and rainbows are necessary and inevitable in this life.
Lastly, rose colored glasses are not required. My mom always said, “you get what you give”. Give thanks.
I know, I believe, the good and the thanks will always be returned.
(gotta go fluff the clothes in the dryer now … with champagne… and a crazy straw)
“It doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or half empty. I am gonna drink it through this crazy straw.” ~ Joey Comeau