It’s Thanksgiving week in the United States and so we’re taking a little break from talking about the implementation and practice of Strengths. Instead, I’ve asked our team to briefly reflect on their year and share a few things they are grateful for in 2018. They each wrote something and then recorded it on whatever recording device they could find. Reflection is a powerful process that reminds us of the good things in life and teaches us something about the bad. Best selling author Melody Beattie says, “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
On this episode of the podcast, we share a snapshot of what our team is grateful for in 2018. As we pause to reflect on our hectic and hurried lives, you’ll hear some of the complexity and diversity that exists on our team. Below we also share our written thoughts.
RELATED: Meet our Team!
We often ask our clients how they feel about change – do they prefer the spaces before a change, being in the thick of it, or settling into new patterns after a change? The mark of a new year is often a time when people commit to changing things in their life. They want to eat healthier, join a gym, cherish the moment more fully. As much as I am for self-improvement, I am one of those people who doesn’t enjoy change. My Strength of Discipline prefers structures and routines that are predictable. Change inevitably means a shift in structure. If I had to choose, I would say I prefer the “after” side of change because I’m able to create and implement new patterns.
2018 has been a season of immense change for me personally and professionally. It has left me feeling unbalanced at times, but it has also left me feeling grateful for people in my life whom I hold dearest. My husband has the Strengths of Adaptability and Positivity. He is the type of person who embraces change and is equally as comfortable before as he is during or after! As I look back on 2018, what I am the most thankful for is him. That amidst all of the change this year, without structures or routines, he became the piece of my life that didn’t and doesn’t change. He taught my Discipline that structure could be found not in cleanliness, order, or routine but in consistent, deep, and meaningful relationships.
This year, I am as grateful as I have ever been for our clients. 2018 presented an unprecedented number of opportunities for me to continue the development and practice of the extraordinary work we do as consultants at Leadership Vision. As I’ve traveled the country to be with clients new and old, I’ve marveled at the extraordinary people whom we have had the privilege of coming alongside in their individual and organizational Strengths journey. In a time of immense tumult and discourse, connecting in the language of Strengths has buoyed my belief in the inherent good of humanity. I’m grateful for my Leadership Vision colleagues. We are indeed a collection of carefully curated individuals who come together around a shared belief that equipping every person with the ability to articulate their uniqueness not only makes us more empowered, but free and grace-filled. It is an honor and a privilege to share this season of my career and life with Brian, Linda, Carrie, Nathan, Steph, and Logan. I’m grateful and humbled by the love and support of my family. My husband, Aaron, believes in me and is inspired by my passion for Strengths. My children, Aidan and Charlotte, give me grace and support even when pursuing my dreams means being away sometimes.
Lastly, I’m grateful for YOU. Anyone who is reading this or listening. Thank you for giving me a reason and purpose every day. You are my life’s mission, and I will never take for granted the privilege it is for you to consider my words and perspective. You matter, you are magic, and I value you.
2018 has been bonkers! We welcomed a fourth child into our family and finished a big remodeling project that seemed to go on forever. Both my wife and I have had changes to our jobs and while we welcome the challenge it brings, it still brings challenges that make things just a little more complicated. This summer my wallet and iPhone were stolen out of a locked locker at the community pool. It happened hours before I was to leave for a work trip, and while it was frustrating and annoying to replace everything, it was also a moment of learning for me. It provided a moment of perspective that I’ve been trying not to forget. I have nothing to complain about in life and I know that’s not the case for many people right now. Sure, things are challenging and complicated and busy, and I’m not sleeping much, and our family keeps passing strep throat back and forth to each other, but we’re happy, have no major health concerns, and have more than we need. I’m not a rose-colored glasses type of person, and I don’t have the Theme of Positivity, but I think in 2018 I’ve learned, or maybe continue to learn, to be grateful for every small thing I do have. Grateful to be able to go for a run most mornings, grateful when my two-year-old daughters want yet another story before bed, grateful when my son only wants to play Legos with me, thankful for the financial resources to go out to a rare but fancy dinner date with my wife. All of these things and so much more, to say nothing of the fantastic team I get to work with and laugh with at Leadership Vision.
I am profoundly thankful for the work I get to do with my life. As one whose worldview is driven by a desire to “save the world,” I’m convinced now more than ever that Strengths work is the answer. I look back on people we’ve worked with this year who have felt genuinely heard, appreciated, and understood for the first time in a long time as they grew to appreciate their Strengths. I think about the organizations that have taken gigantic leaps toward allowing their people to do what they were created to do. I think about my relationships and how insights into the Strengths of others have empowered me to be a better friend, colleague, mentor, and husband.
All of these things inspire heartfelt gratitude; I am grateful that I get to spend my life helping people come alive and see the world around them come alive. And that gratitude gives me energy, vision, and clarity to pressing on evermore to this amazing gift that is Strengths.
It is 2018 and our table is full. There were many lasts and firsts as our daughter finished high school and transitioned to college this year. Who knew the “empty nest” phase would be met with such fullness? The question I’ve deliberately pondered since March of this year is, “who needs to be at our table?” to eat, relate, and connect more deeply. Our kitchen table, in particular, is one filled with deep conversation, thoughtful reflection, dreams, laughter, and great joy. So, I sought the answer in many ways. The answer came this fall during weekly “family dinners” with our favorite college student and her sweet friends connecting at our table and in their other new home away from home. It is 2018, and my heart and table are full.
I am thankful for three things: health, healing, and happiness. First, I am grateful for health – our family is healthy, our parents are healthy, Linda and I are healthy, our daughter is healthy. We all have health in body, in relationships, and in our spirits. Second, I am thankful for healing – my mother is healing, Linda’s father continues his healing, and we have healing in relationships close and distant. And third, I am thankful for happiness. We are happy with who we are becoming as parents, friends, and individuals within the community. And we are delighted for our daughter who is finding a place in college among friends who are genuine, passionate, and grace-filled – she’s happy and we are happy.
I’ve been told I function as a “North Star” for individuals because my Strengths allow me to chart a course forward based on my ability to see both far and near. This compliment is one of the greatest I’ve ever received. But, anyone who knows me, quickly realizes my Strength of Responsibility is the engine that drives all my other Strengths, in being able to guide people along. My commitment to complete anything I agree to is one of my greatest attributes and biggest downfalls.
2018 became a year when my only responsibility needed to be about caring for myself, stepping away from people and things that I care deeply for, and allowing myself some time to re-center. I’d lost my ability to guide anyone, including myself forward; my sky was starless. In this new season, I needed to rely heavily on others to guide me forward; a place I was not overly comfortable residing.
As I enter into a season of intentional gratitude, I am immensely grateful for a diverse group of people around me who have all aided in guiding me forward; each in their unique way. I am thankful for the gift of time that was afforded me to regain my perspective and allow the stars in my sky to reappear. This season of dependence on others, allowed me to see the beauty that comes from a community, instead of just reliance on self. And finally, I am appreciative to now have the opportunity to take what I’ve learned in 2018 and offer it to others who are struggling with the same things I have been through.
What are you Thankful For?
As you reflect on this past year, think about things in your life that deserve appreciation and gratitude. Over the next 30 days, I encourage you to carve out some time to sit down and literally write them out. Maybe list some of the significant highs for the year and celebrate those. Even small things should be celebrated! But also, reflect on the lows. Because even when things don’t go as planned, there’s an opportunity for learning and using those lessons to move closer to our life goals. As always, if there’s anything we can do to be of service on your Strengths or life journey, contact us! We’re always happy to help.