Surprises and affirmations from the Gratitude Challenge
On the eve of World Gratitude Day, I’m officially wrapping up my 21-day Gratitude Challenge. I know, it’s been more than 21 days since I started the challenge. But I’ve been hesitant to end it. Then I reminded myself that the Challenge will live on, for me, and hopefully for others, for much much longer.
During this challenge, I’ve blogged, Twittered, Facebook’ed. I’ve taken an A to Z inventory of everything I’m grateful for in the course of just one day. I’ve verbally expressed my appreciation for others at every opportunity that I can remember to do so. I’ve fought battles with mommy guilt. I’ve even tracked down my high school counselor from 20-years ago and reached out to him with a belated “thank you”.
And how has this exercise changed my life? On the surface, not much. Didn’t win the lottery. And gratitude didn’t do my laundry or put home-cooked meals on the table every night. But I don’t need to scratch much deeper beneath the surface to know that I have changed in profound ways.
The expected. Life’s little moments, like the way my toddler demands to listen to “opera” but calls it “ABBA”, has become so much sweeter. The experience of not taking people for granted and expressing how I feel has become addictive. The ability to see the silver lining in every situation has been enlightening. Witnessing how others deal with adversity with grace and optimism has been awe-inspiring. These were the types of rewards I hoped for when I first envisioned the Challenge, and I was delighted to confirm and experience them.
The unexpected. The Gratitude Challenge surprised me with some unintended consequences. A dozen folks from Tiny Prints participated in the challenge, and many of them on the Marketing team. The original intent of the Challenge wasn’t for team-building, but I think that’s the byproduct we got. I feel that we have a much stronger team as a result. The Gratitude Challenge helped us build closer relationships. The process of disclosing and sharing intimate reflections and details of one’s life allowed us to get to know each other as people much more deeply than we otherwise could have. This I hope will help us trust each other more and appreciate each other in our entirety. The Challenge has also given us a common goal and focus. Even for those on the team who did not officially participate, they still cheered each other on from the sidelines and lent a hand of support. I hope the team will agree that it’s been really fun to march down a shared vision together.
So on the last night of the official leg of my Gratitude Challenge, I feel especially grateful for the opportunity to work with the team at Tiny Prints. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to integrate personal passion with work, and see those two meld together to produce something that is rewarding both personally and professionally. And to top it off, I got to do it with a great group of people whose inner worlds I have gotten a glimpse of in this journey and whom I appreciate so much more deeply as a result.