Choosing Gratitude Over Grief

As 2020 is drawing to a close, I wanted to share with you some thoughts on the year that none of us will ever forget.

Personally, I am a follower of the thought process that taking responsibility for your response and reaction to an event determines your personal outcome. For me this means that in response to the unexpected year that we all had, we have two choices. We can wallow in self-pity about what a terrible year it was, or we can change our response and your reaction to one of gratitude for how the year turned out.

I want to share with you some of the ways that I am personally grateful for the changes that the pandemic brought into my own life and how I was able to change my thinking from negative to grateful.

I am always working IN my business and with the pandemic I was able to switch over to working ON my business. This meant I was able to develop and execute an on-going marketing plan which I never thought I had the time to do before. I was also able to develop an Entrepreneur’s Master Mind Group of other small business owners that provides everyone in the group an ear to our decisions and challenges, which is often missing when you are a solo entrepreneur.

I am grateful to my professional community, to the dentists and their teams I applaud them all. They had three months of shutdown where their lives were being thrown upside down and in a different direction every single day. They work in what has been deemed a dangerous environment and need to keep themselves, their patients and their families safe. To the other professionals in the dental community, we have all learned to pivot and change and I am grateful to the support and connections that have been made for myself and others. The dental community has truly come together to ensure that it comes out safely from the pandemic.

I had convinced myself for the last five years that I didn’t have time to volunteer anymore because I was always working out of town. I have taken on two volunteer positions that I find very meaningful and fulfilling that I will be able to continue with even when I am on the road full time again. I volunteer at Out of the Cold a dinner program for low income and homeless people in Hamilton and I am on the Board for HJFS along with their Food Bank Committee. Both of these positions provide help to those who deal with food insecurity on a daily basis. I have always been grateful for everything I have but helping with the daily struggles of others takes it to a whole new level.

I was able to complete another Coaching Certification which helps me bring a new level of Coaching to my clients. As well, I committed to some coaching in my personal life which again I never felt I had the time for. A good coach knows that they too need coaching and the difference coaching can make for what I can bring to my clients.

In February, I lost my voice completely due to nerve damage to my vocal cords from a virus. After six weeks of laryngitis I was almost completely inaudible for the next eight months. If I had listened to the initial specialist, I would have changed careers and spent the rest of my life with barely an audible voice. Instead, my response was to seek answers and eventually care from top notch specialists in the field. It was my tenacity (some may call it stubbornness) that didn’t allow me to accept the initial answers provided knowing that somewhere there had to be a better solution. Also, a big take away was that I had to learn to listen when I didn’t have a voice. Interesting how a different perspective can change your thinking.

I am also grateful for the patience that the pandemic has given me. Prior to the pandemic I may have sometimes been known for my lack of patience. Amazon used to be the greatest invention of all time for me, I could order something and twelve hours later it was on my doorstep, now I have found all of the things that I don’t actually need in my life and I want to support my local retailers. I have come to learn that standing in line isn’t a waste of my time, it’s a way for me to ensure that I am entering a safe environment. For this reason, the pandemic has made me a kinder person, I always thought that I was quite kind, this has changed my perspective in a totally different way.

My gratitude extends to getting to know my neighbours better, having exercise equipment in my house, appreciating a fine restaurant meal and I will really appreciate that first vacation ….

I wish everyone a safe, happy and healthy holiday time, knowing that for everyone this year will be different, being different means being safe at this point. I am looking forward to seeing what greatness 2021 will bring for all of us!

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