Attitude,  Balance,  Challenges,  Coaching,  Motivation,  Overcoming Obstacles

Lessons In Being Grateful

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One of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life was to walk away from corporate America. To be honest, it was corporate America that walked away from me first. 

So what happened?

The company I had put my life into for over ten years decided to make my Director of Corporate Communications position redundant. So I was floundering around for almost a year trying to get another job in a company because that’s what I was SUPPOSED to do. 

Working for myself was out of the question. I needed to have that big paycheck and health insurance. It was 2005. I was in a relationship. We had a child and a huge mortgage. Both of us had to work. We needed that support and stability. 

I finally got a freelance gig that turned into a full-time job. I started as a corporate communications manager, then was offered a job as a corporate event manager. 

Honestly, it was not something I wanted to do. I only stayed because I loved my boss. When she went out on maternity leave, all hell broke loose in the company. Working for a new manager, who I had no respect for and who I knew I could run circles around her.

And yet, I only took this job for the money, security, and health insurance.

One year later when I had to have emergency surgery and be out of the office for a week, I had this intuition that they would lay me off while I was recovering. And that’s exactly what they did.

It felt like a combination of a blessing and a curse. Now, what was I gonna do?

It was then that I got a call from my old friend and mentor from my old job. He said that he was sorry I was laid off again. 

He pleaded with me not to go back to the corporate world. He said he’d been incredibly successful since starting his own executive coaching business. And he had just bought another business. 

He was offering me an opportunity to come work with him. He said that if I helped him, he would also help me create my own successful online marketing agency.

And so I did.

There were so many lessons I learned in being grateful during that time. I was so thrilled to be able to create my own schedule, work with people I loved, earn my own money, pay my taxes, and be surrounded by some amazing people to help create some awesome businesses.

That was over 14 years ago. I have not ever looked back. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that it’s been that long since I put out my shingle. I’m certainly not saying that the road was all rainbows and roses. I’ve had my share of up and downs.

My business has morphed a few times as I got more experience and started to specialize in online marketing, creating online customer experiences and product launches.

Yet, I’ve not ever regretted starting my own business.

And not a day goes by that I don’t think about my mentor – Rob Berkley. If it weren’t for his phone call, asking me to come work with him, my life would have looked very different. 

I wouldn’t have been able to: 
– Spend a week taking care of my dad when he was suffering from Alzheimer’s. 

– Be with my nieces and nephews for their birthdays, graduations, and holidays, creating so many beautiful memories. 

– Take three weeks off to get married. There are so many things to be grateful for in my life. One person I’m incredibly grateful for today and almost every day is Rob. He was a huge force in my life and my business. Sadly, he died in 2018 from cancer. He was only 59.

Gosh, I miss him.

(The picture below is Rob and me after a Vision Day I had with him. He always made me laugh.)
The core lesson in gratefulness that I’ve learned is that when I’m feeling sad, upset, not myself, or can’t shake something – at that moment, I think of at least two or three things I’m grateful for. 

I realized when I do that, I’m not able to feel sad, frustrated, or anything else at the same time as I’m feeling grateful.

And yes, of course, I’m allowed to have my feelings. Yet, I don’t let them be a cause to suffer. My most favorite saying – “Pain is inevitable, and suffering is optional.”

I say let’s all choose gratefulness for this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday (Or you can do this any time you would like). 

Even though with the pandemic, I won’t be with or see any of my family. I’m incredibly grateful for my health, knowing that I’m ok with sacrificing this one year of not being with family for this holiday in exchange for having many more years with them.

Now it’s your turn.

Write down at least three to five things you’re grateful for right now. Or put your gratefulness on steroids and do this every night before you go to bed for the next 30 days.

I know it will make a huge difference in your life. And don’t cheat and write down one or two words like your family, spouse, kids, or animals.

See if my examples of gratefulness below will inspire you to go a little deeper.

– “I’m so grateful for my spouse because if she’s up before me, she always makes me a cup of coffee. I am grateful for her thoughtfulness and kindness.”

– “I am grateful for my hike today because I had the most beautiful view of Mt. Shasta amidst the fall leaves. It took my breath away.” 

– “I am grateful for my dog Emma who constantly makes me smile, especially today when she jumped in my lap while I was on a Zoom call and started to lick the camera. Instead of being mortified, everyone on the call smiled and wanted to know her name.”

I am also very grateful for you being in my community. I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful holiday.

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