Thursday, November 21, 2013

Week Eight: Accepting Gratitude

A few times at work last week I caught myself responding to Thank-Yous with "no worries" or "of course". I am not sure what made me catch myself and start noticing a pattern, but once I did I couldn't help but notice this wasn't a very grateful way to respond.

I have been trying so hard to be grateful and appreciative that I have been dismissing other people's gratitude! Accepting gratitude is not always easy because we assume that if we are being thanked for something that is just part of our jobs, that a thank you is unnecessary. But let me tell you, a thank you is never unnecessary.

And once I started thinking about how I responded to gratitude, it was as if the universe were thinking about it too. In one day I saw two articles/posts on LinkedIn about the response to a thank you. How synchronous (look it up, its a fabulous word)!

The first was an article called "Why You Shouldn't Say 'You're Welcome'". The second was a post by my friend and inspiration when it comes to inspiration, Stephen (you may remember him from this post) that said "Nothing quite feels better than those relationships where the only natural response to 'Thank you!' is, 'No, thank you!'". 

The first article talked about how you're welcome has become such a reflex response and how there are better responses that imply expected reciprocity and are about doing favours for one another. Well, Adam Grant, I respectfully disagree. I don't think gratitude is about reciprocity. I think too much of life is about reciprocity but I think gratitude is the opposite. Saying "Thank You" can be an admission that you needed help, or just simply an acknowledgement of another person's kindness, talent, or dedication. It is simple and it is pure, and I think saying "You're Welcome" is a fantastic response.

Which leads me to Stephen's post. I had an old office manager that I used to drive crazy by responding to her thank yous with "no, thank you". But Stephen put this in an entirely different light for me. While I would say it jokingly to my office manager, if there is one thing this reflection on my response to thank yous has taught me it is that I really want to thank the person for thanking me. Thank them for acknowledging me, thank them for appreciating me, and thank them for taking the time out of their day to realize that life is full of reasons and people to be thankful for!

While writing this post I realized that today someone said thank you and instead of the usual response, I answered "My Pleasure!" And it really was. I really was pleased to be able to help, and to be able to cause someone else to be grateful.

So my challenge to you this week is to think about how you respond to thank yous. I think you will find that thinking about your response will make you more grateful and make you notice more thank yous too.

Gratefully yours,

Jaime Ariella

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Week 7: Unexpected Role Models

Those of you who know me, or read  my blog, will know that I love me a good TED talk. I love finding new TED talks that inspire me to do new things or give me new perspective on things I am already doing, or make me see things in a new light. I also like getting my daily inspiration on Instagram from Simon Sinek, and reading all of those "12 things happy people do differently" posts, but most of all I like finding inspiration and role models in the most surprising places.

A few months ago Ashton Kutcher accepted a teen choice award and surprised the world with the amazingly inspirational speech he gave. The video went viral the next few days because no one expected him to give amazing advice and perspective on  the things he had learned. In short, his words of wisdom were: opportunity looks a lot like hard work, the sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart thoughtful and generous, and build a life instead of living one. If you haven't watched the original video, watch it here.

Earlier this week Ashton was on Ellen talking about this speech and how it was an opportunity for him to be honest, and to help break through the propaganda so that kids want to grow wanting to do something and be someone instead of just wanting to be famous. I agree with Ashton that this new generation of entitlement is an unhealthy one, and that "working hard, and being generous and thoughtful and smart is a path to a better life".

Ashton could have gotten up there and said the same old crap that other actors do in acceptance speeches, but instead he chose to say something meaningful and powerful and for that I am thankful. I am thankful that there are people out there who understand what being a role model is and and appreciate what is really important. Check out Ellen's interview with Ashton:

Who is your favourite unexpected role model?

Gratefully yours,

Jaime Ariella

Friday, November 1, 2013

Week Six: Moustaches and Hashtags

 The month of November is full of advocacy and activism. Movember, Crohn's and Colitis awareness month, Diabetes awareness month, Holocaust Education week, just to name a few. These are all causes that have affected people near and dear to me, and for that I am happy to help spread the word.

Movember, which raises money and awareness for prostate and other mens cancers, while populating our city with some pretty hideously moustached men, has been a game changer in charity events and campaigns. While it isn't something I can participate in personally, it is something I am glad to support my friends in.

(at MoStock 2011)

One of my closest friends suffers from Crohns, I know many people living with Diabetes (not to mention the love of my life Tom Hanks), and as the grandchild of Holocaust Survivors I feel strongly about the importance of Holocaust Education Week, and I care a great deal about all of these causes.

And this year, my friend Stacey Beth is adding another campaign to the month of November. She is calling this one #GratitudeTweets! While pretty self explanatory, Stacey is going to use twitter for the month of  November to tell her friends and followers what she is grateful of, and asking you to join in!

So this month, whatever cause(s) you care about, get out there, spread the word, donate to life-saving research and education, and show off your mo. I, for one, am grateful for all these amazing charities and organizations, and their dedicated staff and volunteers, who make all these incredible awareness months and campaigns possible. This reminds me of one of my favourite quotes by Thomas Edison: "If we all did the things we are capable of doing we would literally astound ourselves". So lets all do what we are capable of, lets raise money and awareness, and change the face of diseases and illnesses. I am ready to be astounded!

Happy November!

Gratefully Yours,

Jaime Ariela