I suppose there should be some reflections on this exercise of sharing what I'm most thankful for, and there are a few thoughts. More to come I'm sure, but here are a few things that stand out to me as I complete this journal of sorts.
- In a season where I've been struggling to understand what may be next and sensing many barriers in my way that seem to be beyond my ability to overcome, it was important to reflect on everything, and specifically everyone, that is for me and with me in this journey of professional and personal life. 31 days of thinking about all the really great things and the people that make life good is renewing to my spirit and gives me confidence that I'm in good company.
- I know some really incredible people and I can see specific ways each of them work on improving my character through the traits I most admire them for. I've got many mental notes on how the people I'm around make me a better person and that's an incredible feeling.
- Some of the common traits of those on this list seemed to be: kind, generous, gracious, intentional, and welcoming. I need to reflect more on what that says about me or them, but I've glad the list of people I'm most grateful for in 2015 had those traits.
- We need tell more people what we like about them and how they impact our lives for the better. We need focus on the positive characteristics of those we love the most and they need to hear it. Too often we hear what we suck at, how we're failing, and wrestle with all the internal battles of knowing what we want to make different about ourselves. That's exhausting and once in a while, we need to be lifted up and say we're just fine the way we are, or that we're really great at something. I sense we don't tell those we love that we love them and specifically what we love about them.
- The diversity of the community I highlighted as it relates to the different ways I know these folks in these 31 days is encouraging to me. I consider it a privilege to get to know so many wonderful people with a variety of backgrounds, interests, perspectives on faith and service, and ages. It could always be more diverse, but I'm pretty grateful for how it is today.
- I need to do more of this in 2016. It felt vulnerable to write public and specific notes to friends and family, but it felt right to do it publicly. I didn't promote each post nor did I do this for any professional gain, but as a public statement to share appreciation for others. I think equally important. For me, I'm not the most outgoing person and I many things I'd like to tell folks but am not great at telling them. So, I write notes and emails, and now this series of blogs. Just another way of stretching myself as a leader and a friend.
Whether you are good at telling people what you're grateful for or not, give it a shot. Send a note, email, or better yet, a phone call or conversation over coffee. They need to hear it and you likely need to share it.