Gratitude Followed by Hard Work, Part 1 – Leadership is a Choice #53

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Jessica Soroky continues her series Leadership is a Choice.

 

Tomorrow is not promised.

We are too often reminded of this, from the all-too-close deadly shootings that fill the news channels to the health scares we face with family, friends, ourselves, or our mentors.

This sentiment is always applied to life in a general sense. The next breath is a gift, not a guarantee. BUT what do we do with that? It is a powerful line but is it actionable? Do we live in fear and strap ourselves into a protected plastic bubble every day?

Of course not.

We are sad when tragedy strikes no matter the form, we think to ourselves – “Life is too short, I’m going to change this or that.” Then, this or that may change for a little bit but then we inevitably go back to “normal”. We go back to taking things, people, and every breath for granted.

A strong man close to my heart and a source of inspiration recently went through a life threatening, world shaking event. Thanks go out to the universe that he was stronger than the negative force. He rallied, not ready to be done yet. He has been journaling about his experience and just posted about life getting back to “normal” and how that “normal” had become a double-edged sword.

On one side he was grateful for the ability to even get back to normal, and yet it seemed unfortunate that “normal” wasn’t more wondrous.

This really got me thinking. Then I got busy and distracted with my normal and the thought slipped to the dark corner of my mind for quite some time.he perfect combination of stress from work, music and the willingness to let it all go allowed the thought to float back to the forefront of my consciousness.

It doesn’t always take a life threatening, world shaking event to cause us to question our normal. It can be caused by a prolonged unhappiness in personal relationships, a disdain for the work one does, or an endless list of other causes.

Christopher has talked for a long time about the danger of missing wins. The unhappiness or disdain I described just above can be a direct cause of not claiming the wins we experience all the time.

Something changed for me when I considered wins and personal choice.

I used to believe that wins were something that happened to me and I just had to grab them from the universe and claim them! Oh how easy that was – these mystical floating wins all around that I could just reach out and pull down to pump me up and move me a little more in whatever direction I was pointed.

Now I am exploring the notion that wins may be something I cause through hard work and gratitude. They are something I earn because I choose to go after them. There is no waiting around for them to come to me.

Creation is much faster than attraction. There are two parts to this –

  1. Gratitude for what is
  2. Earning what can be

Let’s stay focused on the first part: Being grateful for what is. Next week’s blog will take a deeper dive into the second part: Earning what can be.

This gratitude must come first from you to you. Yes, you can be appreciative of all the people and things around you, but the real power and freedom comes from not taking yourself for granted.

Call it loving yourself, self-confidence or self-secure. Whatever you label it—it all starts with you.   

I’m going to challenge you to do something—are you ready?

Are you willing to stop hating yourself for everything you aren’t and instead start loving yourself for everything you already are?

Being someone who used to (and still) struggles with living in the moment—always chasing the next accomplishment or win—I have spent a lot of time working on doing exactly what I just challenged you to do.

One big example in my life surrounds a college degree. A document I can’t say I have.  For a long time I was ashamed of this. In my eyes I failed. I had started down a path to becoming a journalist. When that didn’t work I changed to this and then changed to that before falling into a training class that screamed “Hey Jess!!! This is what you are meant to do. Go here!!”

I listened to family and friends who kept pushing me to finish my degree as “safety”. Then came the day my pockets were about to be empty.or the first time in three years of college I would have had to obtain a student loan.

I just couldn’t bring myself to choose debt for a piece of paper when I had found my passion, and was “lucky” enough that my passion came with a great, stable industry.

So I chose my path and then choose to beat the crap out of myself every time an employer, an old friend, or a distant family member would ask me the horrible question – “Where did you graduate from?”

One day some months ago, I made a different choice. I choose to forgive myself for all the things I had convinced myself were wrong with me regarding my education. Then I made the best choice I could—to love myself for the journey I have been on, because you know what, I have accomplished a lot!

With that love for what is true for me now I was able to control my days with an ease I had never experienced before. Because I am happy with me at my core, it becomes much more natural and genuine to express my gratitude for the people and things around me.

My boyfriend and I may be considered one of those obnoxious cheesy couples constantly telling each other all the ways we love each other. To me our open expression is our way to communicate appreciation. There is no doubt in my mind that he is grateful I am a part of his life and visa versa.

This goes beyond romantic connections. Nothing stops us from simple expressions of gratitude to our coworkers and bosses to the kind stranger who holds a door or an elevator. It doesn’t cost any money and its return is more powerful than any dollar.

With gratitude first for yourself,  then gratitude for those around you, the wins flow constantly and the natural tendency to fall back into the “normal” is fought off little by little.

In Part 2 I will take this journey of gratitude and optimize it, showing you how to create wins in abundance instead of waiting for them to come to you.

 

 

Jessica Soroky, CSM

IMG_3285Jessica is a Certified Scrum Master with over three years of practice in agile delivery and seven years of team leadership. She is also the youngest participant in The Leadership Gift™ Program and its growing worldwide community of leaders and coaches. After five years of nonprofit development through Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, Jessica continues her leadership journey in state government, not-for-profit, and private sector leadership studies.

 




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