I was reminded recently about gratitude and how it can help during times of Restlessness.
That’s Summer and Monty in the picture; I love Monty’s face and overwhelming gratitude that he is going to share in our Thanksgiving feast.
My pups get a treat every night at 8:00. They expect it and my pup Cooper knows how to tell time. At 7:59, you get the stare. If you haven’t moved to pick up his Kong by 8:00, he will take his paw and tap your leg, just in case you didn’t know what time it was. He expects it but is still grateful. When you hand him his treat, he bounces to the den like he has just won the Lotto. Every time. Okay, I’m projecting, he probably doesn’t have gratitude but you know what I mean.
Having gratitude for the blessings in your life keeps you in a positive frame of mind versus focusing on what you feel is wrong in your life. I didn’t understand gratitude when I was younger. I remember when I was in high school, a college-age neighbor told me how grateful she was that God got her to school that day. She was short of money, the school was a few miles out, and it was raining. She said she found money in the sofa cushions and was able to ride the bus. I remember thinking, “you should be thanking the bus driver,” never connecting that “finding the change” was a gift from God/Universe. (you pick)
Gratitude is a recognition that you have many things in your life to be grateful for and I don’t mean stuff. I mean feeling supported, being able to shift a negative experience to an opportunity for growth. A negative experience like losing a job, maybe what is needed to redirect you to a better opportunity that you may not have taken if you stayed in your comfort zone. I had something happen to me recently and thought that this is without a doubt a gift from God’s hand to mine. I was certain of it; boy was I grateful.
My point? Taking time to reflect on what you are grateful for changes your perception and can shift your entire day and how you react or don’t react. Don’t just focus on the big-ticket items like a new promotion, but reflect on the little things as well. It will make them more memorable. I think having a practice of gratitude allowed what I’m about to share with you to happen. If I behaved like a spoiled, narcissistic brat with no gratitude, I am confident that I would still be blocked and struggling with fixing my presentation. Instead, I took a deep breath and said, I need some help here. So here is what happened. You decide; a gift or just dumb luck. I know this is for some going to seem minor, but for me it was huge.
I was building a presentation for work, and part of that presentation included two different charts showing values for life policies and values for health policies. I routed my first draft for feedback. There was a request to combine the two charts and to add a comma to the data, so the thousandth place was separated. Easy enough, or so I thought.
I went back to the software I used to create the charts and tried to join the two charts. It was a disaster. It made everything go amuck and it pulled in information I didn’t need. To top it off, the result was too large to paste into a new presentation. What was worse, adding the comma made the colored bar underneath the figure disappear. I panicked because I knew the person that asked for the comma in the figures really wanted it. I spent a few hours messing with it. Nothing worked.
I started practicing a speech in my head about why the charts couldn’t be combined and that I wouldn’t be able to add a comma on the original slides either. I was stressing. I decided to click on an old chart labeled “Life” to see if I could figure out what code was used to pull the “Life” data in so I could combine it with the Health chart. Low and behold, the chart labeled “Life” was a chart that was a combination of the Life and Health values and guess what … it had commas! Sweet baby Jesus. I must have created this version a few years back before the charts were built separately. I don’t think it was dumb luck that I decided to open that old file. I think I had a nudge to open it. I knew that was a gift from God and hollered out, THANK YOU! I found myself jumping around the office like I had just won the Lotto, hands held high in a victory dance.