Why Gratitude Matters

Why Gratitude Matters

“Give yourself time to worry.”

This was the advice that I was given this week by someone whose word I take as gospel. 

“Time to worry, really?,” I asked myself as I contemplated my choice of mentor. It seemed so counterintuitive. I’ve been told my whole life not to worry, because worrying is bad and pointless and never leads to anything good. But yet, here I was being told to schedule time out of my day to worry. 

“Okay,” I hesitantly responded to the seemingly mad advice, “I’ll try to worry more.” As I fidgeted in the chair, trying desperately to figure out the solution to my momentary crisis of faith came the lightbulb moment. 

“But I hate worrying,” I started to ramble, “Worrying leads to nothing good. It’s ridiculous, almost obnoxious even. As I worry, I get irritated with myself because I see how good I have it, therefore, why should I be worrying in the first place?”

A small, knowing grin emerges from my mentor’s mouth as she chews on the pen cap while she watched me stew over the irony that was materializing in  my mind. 

“I have it so good,” I continue, “Like there’s so much that I should be being grateful for instead of worrying.”

Bingo. There it was. See, this woman knows me well, almost too well. She knows how my mind works–how it gets from Point A to B. If she let me debate worry for a while, she knew I’d come back to gratitude–I always do. Gratitude is the saving grace of my life. 

If comparison is the thief of all joy, then gratitude must be the giver of all joy. It’s science, gratefulness is the deciding factor of what makes joyful people,well…joyful. (Seriously, Harvard did a study on it to drive this point home.)

We as a people have to practice gratitude more. It has to be the narrative consistently rehearsed over and over–during the good, the bad, and the ugly. We have to call out the things that are worth celebrating, no matter how big or small. Those tiny moments of insignificant good add up, and those are the moments that we should be screaming from the rooftops. That version of the story will change your entire life. 

So if you’re anything like me–stubborn, think you’re always right, slow learner–worry your way to gratitude. But if you’re smarter than me, just start with gratitude. May we all try a little harder to attain this quaint, light-filled spirit–it’s absolutely worth it. 

Photo of Intern Rachael smiling. She is a young woman with dark hair and green eyes.

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Forget You, Fear

Forget You, Fear

I have an adventurous soul–like I want to do all the things, dream all the dreams, visit all the places. I have at least five maps hanging on the walls of my house and a Pinterest board filled with places that I want to visit and things that I want to accomplish. I would like to think that I’m brave enough to make all of these wonderful dreams come true. But one tiny thing always gets in my way. And that’s fear. 

We all struggle with it, and if you try and tell me that you don’t–you’re lying to yourself, your mama, and me. 

Fear is a funny thing. It’s always being portrayed as the villain of the story, but in reality, fear keeps us safe. A healthy dose of fear keeps you alive, it’s why you look both ways before crossing a street and why you wash your hands after you cough or sneeze. 

And when left unchecked, my adventurous soul would get another dog (because one more can’t possibly hurt anything) or sell all of my belongings and move halfway around the globe without thinking twice about it. Fear, partnered with a healthy dose of realism, keeps me from doing irrational things with my time, energy, or money. But I also have noticed with my life, that this fear and realism sometimes hinders the pathway to the life that I want. I can continue to “play it safe” and leave my nice, quiet, and predictable life alone, or I can step into the unknown and see what else is out there.

For growth to happen, I have to be willing to be stretched. I have to step past what I can see in front of me and take a chance that there is even the possibility of something more. I have to be brave. I can’t let the fear stop me from trying again, from reaching a little further, or stepping completely off the beaten path. I have to be willing to face failure and rejection over and over. I have to be willing to put up with the pain of continually showing up only to be knocked down again. 

I am a firm believer that the universe listens to the brave. So today (and every day), show up and be brave. Take more chances with your life, because darling, this is it–today is the only chance you get and you’re not promised tomorrow. Be courageous in what you go after, leave no stone unturned and absolutely nothing left on the table. We’re worth it, and kind of owe it to ourselves to go after the life that we dream of. Stop saying “one day.” and conquer today. Chase today. Be brave today.

And that concludes my Ted Talk inspired completely by my idol Brené Brown Thank you.

Photo of Intern Rachael smiling. She is a young woman with dark hair and green eyes.

Intern Insights: Join Rachael every week as she journeys into the world of communications and marketing.

 





Effective vs. Efficient

Effective vs. Efficient

I remember when I was in high school and my teacher did an object lesson on the Industrial Revolution. She gave us each plain white sheets of paper and gave us five minutes to draw a person. “Make them as ornate as possible,” she said. The timer started and off we went. Our creations varied in skill, but the true artists in the class generated beautiful works of art. For the time given, I was quite impressed with our illustrations. Then, the teacher changed it up. She told us to arrange ourselves into an assembly line. Each of us would be given five seconds to draw a specific body part and then pass it to our neighbor for them to complete their designated job. We were supposed to crank out as many complete people as possible in five minutes. The timer rang and that second group of drawings we produced were TERRIBLE. We made a lot of them, but the quality was awful. 

Fast forward this valuable life lesson about 7 years into the future. Enter me today. I’ve always been speedy fast. Like, I get yelled at the most for running around like a chicken with my head cut off. “Slow down Rachael” is something that always echoes after my footsteps. And due to circumstances in my life, I’ve been forced to learn how to slow down and pause–and it’s taught me a lot. 

There is an art to stopping to smell the roses. There is a craft to slowing down and taking your time. Admiring the beauty of things is good–actually it’s necessary. While efficiency gets things done, it doesn’t produce the same quality of work that is needed to stand out in a crowd, especially in creative circles. In the creative field, it isn’t the quantity of work that counts, it’s the quality. I’ve found that when I take my time, my skill level increases. The people that count on me actually have less work to do when I take my time and do it right. I am more effective in the impact that I make when I take my time, and that is what ultimately counts.

Photo of Intern Rachael smiling. She is a young woman with dark hair and green eyes.

Intern Insights: Join Rachael every week as she journeys into the world of communications and marketing.

 





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