An Attitude of Gratitude
Heck yeah, the banner for this month is me holding a cheeky sign and grinning like I’d won the lottery! Why? So many emotions captured in this photo beyond joy,
happiness, relief, and exhaustion. The overriding emotion in this moment of completing my last half-marathon for the year was: GRATEFULNESS. Yes, my training paid off. Yes, my discipline to stick to my plan, even if it meant getting up at 4:30 am many mornings
enabled great results. But the reality is that there are many variables that come into play when running 13.1 miles that are simply not in my control. So on this day, as I crossed the finish line in Springfield, Missouri, with my best half-marathon time in
7 years (2:21:24), I felt grateful….all the variables came into play to my benefit. I never take anything for granted.
As I walked back to my hotel, thankfully just across the street, I encountered a fellow runner and his wife. From the way he was hobble-walking, I knew that he had run the full marathon. He asked how I did and I was eager to share my happy news. He smiled warmly
and told me congratulations. Then he said, “I DNF’d.” (Did Not Finish) Before I could ask, he said “My quads cramped up at mile 15. Never happened in my training. I thought I could gut through it, but I had to call my wife and she picked me up.” I could feel
his disappointment. I told him, “The marathon is a beast to be respected; way to listen to your body.” His eyes lit up as he gave me a side hug and said, “Yes, today the Beast got me but I will prevail next time!”
Maybe it isn’t an endurance race for you, but we all have an opportunity to face challenges with fear or with gratitude…yes, gratitude for the opportunity to be our very best and no matter what, to grow from the experience. This month we unlock the power
of mindset and gratitude.
The Good Life
Author Jonathan Fields dedicated his life, after losing a close friend in NYC on 9/11, to understanding what it means to “live a good life.” Not only what does
it mean, but how do you do it? In his podcast, The Good Life Project, he dissects the formula down to three simple categories. He calls them the Good Life Buckets. I love his perspective and
easy to digest thinking to put simple daily actions into play to lead a truly extraordinary life. Isn’t that the ticket?? Isn’t purposely building an extraordinary life what we all want? As you have probably already guessed, it isn’t a destination…it is
a process. And the best part is that you can start today.
The Good Life Buckets
Vitality. This bucket is all about optimizing
your state of mind and body. In past newsletters you’ve learned that our mind and body are ONE system; it’s important to optimize both! Pick one or more of these daily habits to fill this bucket: movement (exercise), nutrition (avoid processed food), sleep
(6-8 hours). Be aware of the pitfall — Fields calls it “Reactive Life Syndrome.” I’ve cautioned you about this before…the tendency to merely exist through the day rather than embrace every moment. Dodge this pitfall by slowing down and BEING PRESENT.
Connection. This bucket is about the depth
and quality of the relationships in your life. A 2020 study (Explore 2020 by Demarinis) reported 47% of Americans say that their relationships are not meaningful, and 58% feel like no one knows them well. Belongingness is on the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs motivational
model and clearly, we have a Belongingness Crisis in our country! Ways to improve connection that you can practice daily include: text/call friends & family, get involved in your community (hobbies, sports, clubs), be authentic with your values and core beliefs,
nourish your faith.
Contribution. This last bucket is all about
the way we invest our energy in a substantial and meaningful way. This connects to what we do for a living or our primary life role. We all desire to have a sense of joy and fulfillment from what we do most every day. So, it’s about what we give to the world
and how we feel about what we get back…feeling energized by that deep investment. Fields identified 5 Key Elements of Work that can give us that contribution spark:
1. Having a sense of purpose. It fuels our desire to do amazing things.
2. A feeling of being excited and energized or engaged.
3. Flow. Being so focused that you lose your sense of time.
4. The feeling of being fully authentic and present.
5. The thing you’re doing is deeply meaningful to you.
Both Mindset and Gratitude are in the fiber of each Good Life Bucket. Vitality, Connection and Contribution are all grounded in thinking > feeling > doing. It all
starts with choosing how to think about what we you are experiencing. Gratitude is one of the best ways to set an uplifting (anabolic) direction for that thinking!
Putting these daily actions all together so that you’re actively filling all three buckets daily puts you on the path of building your extraordinary life, moment
by moment. Life is a journey, not a destination. Don’t count the minutes…make the minutes count!
They Got Tattoos….
I absolutely, without a doubt, fell in LOVE with leading others as a 2LT, Platoon Leader, in the 545th Military Police Company, 1st Cavalry Division, at Fort Hood,
Texas. The image at left is during one of our training deployments in Germany, we had just picked up our vehicles from the railhead and our Supply Sergeant was snapping photos. Yes, I’m the tiny one. Only a few squads of my platoon shown here; I was never
much for taking photos in those days so I cherish the few that I have!
Leadership, at its core, is about influence. Contrary to popular belief, you need more than the rank on your collar to get soldiers to give their absolute best. It’s all about relationship and credibility which in turn creates TRUST. When I first took over
the 4th Platoon, it was a hot mess. They had been without a Platoon Leader for a few months and the Platoon Sergeant had been relieved of duty. In this limbo state, they had become the dumping ground for “unruly soldiers” and stripped of their tactical mission.
On my first day on the job, one of these soldiers tried to keep me from entering the platoon office. Let’s just say that my “close combat” skills from West Point came in handy and I set a new record in the company for getting him disciplined and chaptered
out of the Army. Credibility block – CHECK.
Next, I met with my Company Commander and secured his support to clean up the platoon and regain their tactical mission. To that end, I challenged them to create a motto. My only restriction is that it had to be tied to the history of the cavalry. After a week,
they came back with their product and they were exceptionally proud of themselves.
Through their research, they discovered that the very first unit in the U.S. Cavalry was known as Warhorse. They created a logo of a mustang rearing up, which would
end up stenciled on every piece of equipment we had. I ordered a platoon guidon with Warhorse on it and it became the official greeting response from any soldier in my platoon. It was hard work to bring the platoon’s proficiency up but once they adopted the
Warhorse identity, their performance soared. Everyone noticed. We started to receive challenges from other platoons. My soldiers loved it. The more I stretched them, the better they performed.
One Sunday evening, my Platoon Sergeant called me and when I answered the phone he said, “Ma’am, I have something to tell you but first…you must promise me that you won’t get mad.” My first thought was that some of our soldiers got themselves thrown in jail,
definitely career ending for an MP! Nope, that wasn’t it. So what had they done? Well, they all got tattoos!! Of the Warhorse on a 1st Cavalry Division patch! You may not realize this but the 1CAV patch is huge. It’s the largest unit patch in the Army. They
all got that with our Warhorse motto and mustang on their left upper arms. My Platoon Sergeant was laughing as he told me and then at the end asked, “Are you mad? I hope you’re not mad because they’re excited for you to see their tattoos at PT (physical training)
tomorrow. Act surprised.” I wasn’t mad. How could I be?? Sure enough, as we assembled for PT formation at 6 am that Monday morning, they all stood their with one sleeve of their t-shirt rolled up to expose their new tattoos. They were sooooo proud! I complimented
the artwork and politely declined their invitation to also get a Warhorse tattoo. Relationship block – CHECK.
I had never experienced that type of extreme trust before. It’s amazing and humbling at the same time. I’ve carried that with me into every leadership position I have held to this day. Even in my role now, credibility & relationship pave the way for trust and
In what way are you investing in relationship with those that you lead? Do you know what motivates them? Do you know what they care about? Do you know their fears? What they value? Do you know what they love to do when they’re not at work? If you answered no
to any of these questions, it’s time to spend some quality time with your team.
Your attitude is your emotional approach to life.
— John Maxwell
Find Your Tribe
Growth Day Now on BODi
I’m excited to share that the Mindset program on the BODi App is expanding! Brendon Burchard, popular personal development speaker and author, is partnering with
BODi so there is now an opportunity to leverage the amazing personal development, leadership, mindset and motivational programs, podcasts, and keynote speakers available from Growth Day. Connect with me to learn more and get started with limited time holiday
promos, through 12/31/23.
It’s also a great time to set your plan to embrace the holidays guilt free! Finish the year strong and set the foundation for a great start to 2024.