Yesterday morning, my colleague and friend Melissa and I were in our usual Wednesday morning meeting, which we call “In the Clouds.” We started meeting in the clouds over a year ago, when we realized that the daily work we were doing was so “in the weeds” that we couldn’t see the bigger picture. We decided that at least once a week we needed to look around and think more strategically about our work and how it related to other things going on. We needed to rise up to the “clouds” level to be able to see beyond the weeds of our daily grunt work. (This has been a fantastic decision for multiple reasons, which I may get into in more depth in a future blog entry.)
For now, I want to focus on a specific part of our conversation and how it got me thinking the rest of the day.
Since Thanksgiving was on our minds, we decided to spend a portion of our time talking about what we were thankful for. I went first.
“I’m thankful for…stuff in my life. You know, just general things. I can’t think of specifics right now… Well, I guess I’m happy that I’ll be done with my November novel soon!” That’s about all I had to say. I wasn’t satisfied with my response, but couldn’t think of a way to make it better in the moment. I’m not always that great at expressing myself verbally, and this was a perfect example. My contribution left me feeling slightly cold and heartless, and generally not appearing that thankful for anything.
Then Melissa took her turn, and she was eloquent and appropriately grateful for all the wonderful things she has going on in her life. I envy her sometimes, in her ability to be genuine, thoughtful, and caring in her speech, and the way she elicits a warm and fuzzy feeling about life.
Anyway, I decided to try to emulate her, and spent the rest of the day thinking about what I was truly grateful for. This also helped me in preparing for a conversation I had later in the evening on Wednesday, with my weekly Mastermind group.
In celebration of Thanksgiving, the following are some of the things I am thankful for this year:
- My coworkers. I have had a lot of really meaningful conversations with them lately, which have helped me a lot in thinking about my work and my contributions. We recently had a meeting where we gave each other verbs that we felt embodied that person’s work and mission. The discussion around it, and the recognition that we were all different and valuable, was incredibly enriching. The verbs I was given—all of which I deeply resonated with—include:
- Salsa dancing in general, and the salsa congress in San Francisco I attended last weekend. I love how salsa allows me to express myself physically. I feel free when I dance, and I can connect with so many other people. It’s an amazing feeling, to let myself go and not worry about anything, and get a good workout, too! (That’s me in the background in the white pants in the video below. Thanks to my friend Jose for this video.)
- Being single, but not “desperately single.” I don’t always love that I don’t yet have a life partner, but I do still enjoy life and enjoy meeting and getting to know people—men and women. I don’t worry about going places alone, and I approach most activities with an open mind and open heart; if I make a connection, that’s great, but that’s not the ultimate reason I decided to show up.
- Massages. I love being massaged, and I also love practicing massage. I’m thankful for being able to connect through physical touch. Back in 2010 I went to massage school for about 5.5 weeks, and loved it. I never received my massage certification, which is a long story, but I’d love to go back someday and complete a massage course.
- Chocolate. Best thing ever.
(Note: #4 and #5 have almost nothing to do with #3)
- Group exercise. You show up, the instructor tells you what to do, and you do it. There is a set day, set start time, and set end time. Once you’re there, you may as well see it through ’til the end. So you get a fantastic workout in, and when you’re done, you’re done! I’ve been going to Zumba on Sundays and Mondays, Pound on Tuesdays, Barre Sculpt on Thursdays, and Core Bar or Volleyball on Saturdays. Group exercise actually has also contributed to #7…
- Community. I am thankful for having built connections among people who live in my city. I feel more connected to where I live than I have in years, which is a really good feeling. Just yesterday, I was looking to borrow something for the weekend and was able to text 12 different people to ask for help! I would not have been able to do that a year ago, and I’m so so thankful to have a community of people around me who I can turn to in times of need.
- Books and Learning. I love the library, and I love reading about new ideas and personal development. I’m reading a book right now called, “How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, Seven Steps to Genius Every Day,” by Micahel J. Gelb, and it is fantastic! There are so many opportunities to learn something new, and I’m thankful that there are so many resources available.
- Finally, at the risk of sounding mushy, I’m thankful for you, my audience. I could say all this stuff to my personal journal, but I appreciate being able to share my experiences with you, and when you read and comment, I feel blessed and thankful that I can help you consider your life in a different light that hopefully is refreshing, positive, and thought-provoking. As always, my wish for you is to Be Unique, Be Authentic, and Be Yourself.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you are thankful for many blessings in your life, today, and all days.
Feel free to share what you’re thankful for in the comments and on Facebook. I’m curious to see what you have to say!
You might also like: