Over four years ago I wrote a blog pos about a lesson learned from Dad. We were working on a project many years before the post and he shared a little gratitude trick he practiced. “Whenever you use a tool take a minute to think about who gave it to you, the projects you’ve worked on with it, and who worked on the project with you.” It was Dad’s way of creating a habit of gratitude he would go on to practice most of his life. To this day I take a brief second to stop and thing, to remember, and to be thankful when crafting with my tools. If you want to check out the original post you can find it here: https://39yearsofthanksin365days.wordpress.com/2016/01/17/day-112-thankful-for-a-lesson-from-my-dad/
Just over two years ago I blogged about this lesson from Dad again, but with a subtle twist. Instead of using it to think only about tools I used it to spend a moment of quiet thanks and reflection when receiving texts, messages, and other birthday and well wishes. Not just a quick “that’s cool,” rather a thoughtful and purposeful moment of pause to think about my favorite memories with the person and be grateful for them. This added so much extra joy to my heart and has become a practice I work to continue. You can check that one out here: https://thankful4forty.com/2018/10/01/day-733-thankful-for-re-implementing-an-old-lesson-from-my-dad/
So here I am again with another added twist to this lesson in purposeful gratitude from Dad. Last night as I blogged I had many thoughts going through my head. My fingers never seem to keep up with my brain and I usually end up missing something I would’ve preferred to include in the original version. When I hopped on LinkedIn this morning I saw something that brought on an instant face palm. MARLENE!!! Slap went my palm as it connected to my forehead… I knew I was forgetting something in my blog last night!
As I was writing about a difficult situation there was an awesome piece of advice I’d picked up from my friend Marlene Chism several years ago. There was a specific phrase that has stuck with me ever since and it served its purpose wonderfully yesterday. “Are you willing?” The phrase reminds us that we all see a beautiful opportunity that we want to reach for (the island) but we also have to want it so bad that we are willing to fight the difficulties (the sharks) along the way. “Are you willing?” is a beautiful way to determine if you are truly ready to pivot and attempt something truly difficult in order to reach your goal. This great advice from Marlene came in especially handy yesterday and helped me bridge the balance of supportive AND demanding.
After I added a quick comment to LinkedIn I chuckled to myself and realized that Dad had done it again, in a way. There are so many times when I hear the advice of others coming out of my mouth or rumbling through my head. In almost each of those moments I can clearly see the face of the person who shared that advice with me. When I thought of Marlene when she shared those words with me I immediately smiled form ear to ear. I had flashbacks to some great phone calls we had when she took extra time to help coach and mentor me. I remembered conversations about losing Dad, writing, and dreaming big. The memories of her road trip to Winona and La Crosse and the drive up the Mississippi River made me smile even larger. So many amazing interactions, advice, guidance, and friendship. I’ve been things of her often and am so thankful for all she’s helped me with in the few short years we’ve known each other.
Taking Dad’s advice in a slightly different direction; what if I took time to be purposefully thankful for the people who shared wonderful ideas and concepts with me? In many ways they are tools they’ve given me and tools we’ve built things with together. What a beautiful way to continue to grow and cultivate my gratitude practice on a daily basis!
Even though he’s been gone for almost three years I’m so thankful for the advice, guidance, and lessons Dad gave in our time together. Finding ways like this to continue to learn form him help keep him alive in me some I’ll forever be grateful for.