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Attitude of Gratitude – Happy Thanksgiving

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Tue, Nov 25, 2014

Thanksgiving is just two days away.  The holiday means this will be my only blog this week.  I thought instead of providing Liz Wiseman’s Growth Summit presentation on Rookie Smarts I’d take a chapter from your previous book Multipliers and send a message on thankfulness.  

It would be especially neglectful for me not to take time to be thankful for the many of you who offered prayers, support, messages, and simply kept me in your thoughts over the past three years as I struggled to overcome a fateful diagnosis for Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  I feel like I’m back to almost normal, and that certainly wouldn’t have occurred without all your kind, caring thoughts, and especially one person who has been so selflessly dedicated to nurturing me back to health.  I sincerely hope I won’t miss anyone in this blog, but I especially wish to thank the one person beyond Divine Intervention who is most influential in my recovery from Acute Myeloid Leukemia. That is my wife Michelle.IMG 0741 edited resized 600

Meditation, especially as outlined in Dr. Joe Dispensa’s “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself,” is an important habit for me in my miraculous remission of cancer.  I’d like to reveal the story of how I achieved recovery at some point; I did that at my Toastmasters meeting several weeks ago.  However I can tell you that it was unexpected, surprising, and not something me or the doctors could have predicted.  I’m working on a book to reveal the events surrounding it.

In my meditations Dispensa states that living in a state of gratitude is living in a state of receivership.  It’s feeling like your prayers have already been answered.

How many of us live this way?

How many of us are truly so sensitive to the gifts and generosity that others have given us to pause and thank them or even mutter words of thanks as we go about our day.

The recent Veterans Day should symbol just one reminder of how much we as Americans have to be thankful for.  People haven given their lives to preserve our freedoms.  We remember them one day and many of us don’t even fulfill our sacred right to vote to acknowledge the sacrifice our military so many times afforded for us.

Recognition, thanks, celebration and acknowledgement are small efforts to make for us to administer to those who help and care for us.

When was the last time you thanked someone?  When was the last time your recognized the value, contribution, and significant effort someone made in your behalf?

We can say it in so many ways.  With our eyes, our face, our lips are hands, our posture, the happiness and warmth we greet others with.

Why don’t we?  We’re so busy in the moment doing our thing, we may even believe we have thanked someone.  Our thoughts might make us believe we did, but how much effort did we truly make to ensure the person who did something for us is truly reciprocated with a gesture or word that meaningfully expresses the intention and energy they truly offered.

Great Businesses are built on making sure that the people we work with are recognized, appreciated, and rewarded appropriately.  People want to be recognized and appreciated.

How can I speak so knowledgably about this?  How do I know how it feels to be not given appropriate acknowledgement and thanks?

It’s only recently that I’ve begun to fully understand the sacrifice and hardship that Michelle, my wife went through while I was in the hospital and then through recovery.  She reluctantly revealed that when I was in the hospital she had conversations with the doctors and nurses she didn’t at the time disclose to me.  The first meeting with the team of nurses and doctors I was told my chances of surviving were less than 5%.  These were reduced further when it was discovered I had monosomy 7.  

During the five failed chemo therapy treatments Michelle had continuing conversations with my doctors and nurses.  They prepared her for the worst.  As she pointed out to me it was never a matter of if I would die it was when.  When I asked her why she didn’t reveal this additional conversations she told me it would have been cruel.  She also didn’t want to affect my positive approach.

Imagine having to take care of the household, all the chores that she always did, the additional burden of what limited number of chores your husband did, plus visit the hospital each day, a 45 minute drive each way including parking (another burden since at UHIC you pay for parking), to visit your husband who’s occupied working with his customers, all while anticipating each day it may be the last time you see him. 

Add to your day the emotional burden of running the household, taking care of two teenage boys, responsibility for additional chores, mounting hospital bills, and then the unforeseen but foreboding possibility that the financial provider for your household is about to die.  I’m not talking about a few days, this went on for 8 months intensively and the fallout from it for a 3 years.

What would that do to you?  How would you handle that?

Now imagine the other side, eating hospital food for 8 months.  One or two days of hospital food is sufficient to make anyone go on a fast.  Michelle would bring me lunch every day so I would eat, and not lose weight. She always had great empathy. Michelle would make the time to prepare something for us both every day she visited, so we could eat together.   You can’t imagine how wonderful it felt to see her arrive every day with something that was much more appetizing than the hospital food I was required to eat. 

I thought my eyes, my face, and my eagerness to see her communicated how thankful I was!  It wasn’t the meal she provided; it was how much she cared to see me each and every day.  I know now that I never showed her the appreciation she deserved.  I could hold her hands, look into her eyes and sincerely thank her every day or shower her with diamonds, jewelry, and exotic vacations until the year 3000 and still not adequately thank her for what she did for me.  Her visits were that important to me!

I have clients to thank for continuing to work with me.  I have friends who generously prayed, sent money, cards, and visited frequently.  I have a wife, Michelle, who made the ultimate sacrifice by giving up her life to help support me despite the knowledge that I most certainly was going to die. 

Did I thank her enough?  How could I have failed to do so?  How could I have failed to thank the woman I love, the person who inspired me to meditate each day with a vision of what it would be for us when I survived?  Michelle puts a sparkle in my day!   She makes me feel more alive and inspires me to do things I would never have the willpower or desire to undertake. 

Even after my bone marrow transplant, she continued to care for me at home.  Everyday she sanitized every door knob and every place I met come in contact with that could cause me harm.  She constantly reminded me to wash my hands and sanitize myself and wear my mask when I might contact others.  

And yet I know I fell short, far too short of giving her the recognition, respect, love, and thankfulness that her superhuman efforts advocated.

It’s thanksgiving on Thursday.  Who do you have to be thankful for?   Who at work, at home, at school, in your neighborhood, what friend or relative have you not thanked adequately enough for what they’ve contributed to your life?

Between now and Thanksgiving please be thankful!  Make sure you make someone know how thankful you are, not only by your words but by your actions!

Next blog, Monday will be on Liz Wiseman’s new book, Rookie Smarts.  How can behaving like a rookie help your business grow.

Topics: Acute Myeloid Luekemia, positive reinforcement, Gratitude and Recognition, appreciation, Thankful

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The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

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