Gratitude for the Long Run

About a year and a half ago, my family settled into a new home. As anyone whose moved a family to a new home can attest, it can be a big change, even if it’s just 20 miles away. It means more than just a new place to lay your head and keep your stuff. It means a new commute, new grocery stores, new neighbors. All change takes energy and can be a challenge, even change we pursue.

One of the challenges I didn’t anticipate was that my eldest daughter, who would be settling into a new neighborhood, school, and room, might not be fully on board with the change. While there were many things my wife and I tried in order to help her overcome her resistance to the change, the one that I think has helped the most was the addition of a simple bedtime routine: Gratitude.

As we say our goodnights, her and I started saying one thing - just one thing - that we were grateful for from the day. We agreed that the rules were simple: We could pick whatever we wanted, big or small, but we had to pick something we were legitimately grateful for. And we said no repeats for a month.

What happened was transformative. Besides ending the day on a positive, we found ourselves searching not only at the end of the day for things to be grateful for, but also throughout the day we took notice of the things we were grateful. It picked each of us up in a really amazing way, because in reality, we had much to be grateful for.

This journey that I started with Long Run Leadership is a bigger change than I probably want to admit to myself. It’s probably at least the equivalent of a six-year old moving to a new neighborhood, school and room.

Today, I’m grateful for:

  • My spouse, who without her extraordinary calmness and support none of this would be possible.

  • My kids, who not only teach me lessons on Long Run Leadership every day, but were the most excited people in the world when I told them I was starting a company. (seriously, they jumped up and down and clapped)

  • Friends and neighbors who have encouraged me. I was nervous about telling people because admittedly, it felt like a big leap for me. Every single one of them was encouraging and awesome. Thanks to Brian, Barry, Ryan 1, Ryan 2, Laura, Spencer, Sara, Claudia, Bob, Bry, Paula and about a hundred other people who’ve offered words of encouragement. Every little word of encouragement mattered to me.

  • Another friend, Jesse, who generously donated his time to make a logo for me that I absolutely love. I think Jesse understood my vision for the company before I did! Thank you, Jesse. By the way, check out Mauled By Design. They are cool and amazing humans.

  • My friend, Brian, who used his legal expertise to help me think through how to get all this started. More than an attorney, he was a like a therapist! You can’t go wrong if you work with him at his firm.

  • My sister-in-law, Jenny McDermond, who took time to take photos of me in 20 degree weather with snow up to our knees. She’s a truly gifted photographer. If you need a photographer, you should hire her. She’s really amazing!

  • And finally, it goes without saying that I want to thank the good colleagues (and dare I say, friends?) that I made the past four years at Employee Strategies. I’ve learned much from working with you, and I look forward to a great partnership in the future.

Writing down what I am grateful for feels amazing. You should try it! You don’t even need to post them to get the feeling. Just scribble them on the back of a piece of junk mail. And if you do it daily, you’ll find that you start viewing the world through a whole new lens.