Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gratitude's the Attitude

Today's Truth

With the holiday, Thanksgiving Day, coming up, my thoughts naturally turn to gratitude.  This time of year a great deal of thought is given to thankfulness, appreciation, respect, generosity.

Serenity, Thad L. Rice, 2009, Rice Agency

What struck me to write about is how gratitude can take many forms.  For it to be a spoken affirmation, is always nice...and a gift is certainly welcome.  Although, what I am most interested in today, is how gratitude is unspoken...that shiny little coin we take out of our pockets and share everyday.

 Gratitude is action.  So, what does that look like?  It is found in caring for an elderly parent or friend.  We share its grace when we keep nagging thoughts to ourselves.  When we consciously do not complain about a co-worker to anyone who will listen -- it is after all a choice -- is, actually, a form of gratitude. 

Once I jumped on this train of thought, I had to smile.  Thankfulness isn't always the supplicated form on bended knee.  (Although, that certainly can't hurt).  Thankfulness can be recognized in our everyday selves -- our kindness, generosity, our ability to put some one's needs before our own.  Even when we can quiet a fear or worry.  I saw a quote once and I hope I am remembering correctly..."Ingratitude is worry in advance."   Hmmm.

Thank you and me, for all of our daily efforts. 
Thanks for the laundry done; asking which show the other person wants to watch; listening when we are too busy; going to all the football games; smiling when we want to snarl; patience at the grocery or bank or cleaners; the ability to hear what is being said and accept it; not rolling our eyes at whatever is said; noticing the mundane daily chores that get done; being brave; facing fear; not always thinking about ourselves; driving with kindness; understanding it is okay to not always be right; saying the kind word; bringing an extra coffee to work; smiling at loud children; understanding it isn't the waiter's fault.  I am sure you get the drift here.  

Once started, this list can go on and on.  I appreciate, deeply, the efforts we all make to be good humans.  Let's give ourselves a little pat on the back, and keep at it.  Happy Thanksgiving...it IS the attitude of gratitude.

With respect,

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weekends are forever...oh, really, I thought they were.

Play a little bit all week long

Today's Truth
Ah, the weekend is virtually here.  It is Friday and the countdown to freedom has begun.
Yep, we all feel that way...bosses, owners, managers, employees, volunteers...we all think "TGIF".  Why is that?

As a self-employed worker wearing all the hats mentioned above, I do have some flexibility in my work week.  I don't cram my work schedule into 60-70 hour weeks anymore.  Thank you, oh, thank you!  if I want to juggle my schedule and go to a golf game, I can, and answer only to myself about it.  Wouldn't you think that would make the weekend less important to me?  As we speak I am sitting at my computer drinking coffee and eating cookies...in my sweats, mind you.  So why, really... why, is the weekend still as important to me as it was when I was working all those long hours? 

I have thought about this for awhile. Here is a question (and it's not a bad one)...could it be because we give ourselves permission to be happy, relaxed and focused on our real lives on the weekend?  Do we just let our hair down and and think, "Boy-oh-boy, I can sleep in; wear no make-up; live in comfy clothes; spend more time with the kids; cook; read; veg; watch television - movies; get outside; nap; stay inside; paint; write; decorate; repair; shop...do you see where I am going with this?

Hey, I am right there with ya, buddy!  I am peddling that work wheel all week too! (say that three times very quickly-- sounds like... would a woodchuck chuck...).  Yeah, we do chuck wood. All week.  It doesn't matter if we love our job or not.  We are still, each and every one of us, not starting our day with our own agenda.  Man, who gets to do that?  The very, very wealthy?  

We are not alone.  A recent study of more than 50,000 employees from a variety of manufacturing and service organizations found that two out of every five are dissatisfied with the balance between their work and their personal lives. 

How do you get a more balanced work and personal life so the weekend isn't the only freedom you have? Here are some tips that might work for you...
  • Negotiate and change your hours at work -- can you flex or go part-time?
  • Get a new job -- some jobs are more stressful than others and suck the life right out of you.
  • Take a good hard look at consulting or free-lancing.  Can you make it work financially?
  • Schedule fewer meetings...really, and schedule more time in between them.  Talk to your team and see how you can eliminate some meetings.  They will cheer!
  • Slow down and do not plan stuff every evening and weekend.  You are in charge of that, aren't you?
  • Take time out for you.  No one will faint if the dishes aren't done or the lawn doesn't get mowed.  Hire a baby sitter, dog sitter, housekeeper, gardener, if you can afford one or all.  Or, ask your friends or family for a favor -- it's allowed.  Escape for a few hours during the week.  You will be amazed!
  • Just say no.  Really,  politely, say no.  No, I can't go shopping, or take on the project or host the holiday feast or plan the company picnic or chair that special fundraiser for the school.
  • Take a "mental health" day away from work. We used to call that playing hooky.  It's OK, I give you permission.
  • Oh, I hate to say it...Make a list, set priorities and accomplish them.  Putting off tasks adds to stress.  Getting it done at work and at home, will simplify your life and take some of the guilt off your mind.
  • Live in the moment and not in the future or past.  You can't get it all done and make your whole world right, at this minute, can you?  Probably not, so take a deep breath, don't beat yourself up and do what you can with each day -- just make sure you include in it some of the things YOU want.  And, reach for the happy.  I promise you will lose some frustration...a little resentment and feel recharged throughout the week and weekend.
With respect,