21 days to happiness: My story and 3 things I am thankful for:
“Courage is the ability to do the right thing, all the time, no matter how painful or uncomfortable it might be” -Tony Dungy
My mother is one of the most resilient and bravest people I have ever known. She was a single mom during a time when women were not allowed to have checking accounts or credit. We lived in the suburbs and were the only “divorced” family on the block. At the age of 30 she was raising 3 kids all under the age of 7 and I can not begin to imagine what that must have been like.
I remember the feeling of distress when the car broke down and work was a 30 minute drive away. And the tears when her wallet, with all of the money for bills that month, was stolen at a grocery store. She surrounded herself with a community of people who were very supportive. One year, a family from that group brought us a Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve because they knew we could not afford one. There were blessings everywhere and despite the misfortune, we always managed to get what we needed. During that challenging time she went back to college and eventually became a registered nurse working in hospice.
So here is my point. It was hard, and overwhelming at times, but she always got back on her feet with dignity.
Her example demonstrated that if she made it through that adversity, there is no obstacle I can’t overcome. In the midst of my search for employment, I have a lot to be thankful for. I am grateful for the gifts that experience taught. It gave me a strong work ethic and instilled in me the values of education, faith, community, building strong relationships and so much more.
Fast forward to the present. I am about half way through the Executive MBA program at The University of St. Thomas and it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am blessed to surround myself with a support system of positive people I trust who give me energy and encouragement. The evolution of acquiring knowledge and learning is hard, fun, exciting, exhausting and challenging, but that is why they call it an education, it isn’t supposed to be easy. Life continues to remind me that delayed gratification works and is far more rewarding.
The groundwork I am laying is making me a better leader every day and pay off is just around the corner because when I graduate, I will have gifts no one can take from me. Integrity, faith, accomplishment, education, wisdom, stronger work ethic so much more. But the most priceless are the values that are being passed on to my son because my passion for learning and growing are showing him I live what I believe. That is my legacy, to leave something behind that will last forever. My thoughts feelings and actions are aligned with my values, principles and goals.
I am proactively adding new tools to my toolbox with the excitement of bringing them to the next adventure. I am building authentic relationships with Professors and 25 amazing people who are in my cohort as I shape my future. We don’t get anywhere by ourselves and community has been and continues to be a resource, teacher, healer and a friend. It doesn’t get much better than that if you ask me.
Four things I am grateful for today:
- That the process of reinventing myself has been an invigorating journey
- My education and commitment to life long learning and growth
- The people who have provided insight and direction with me throughout my career through their mentoring. People like Doug Lennick, Patty Moren, Debbie Magnuson, Priscilla Faris, Barb Adams-Johnson, John Wetzel, Barb Henderson, Buckley Brinkman, Paul Debettignies, Gary Stinnett, Scott Hyland, JoAnne Pastel, Tom Endersbe, Marilyn Corrigan, Bonnie Bielen, Katherine Johnson, Jack Militello and so many more.
- My mom, who is simply amazing