The Gift of Gratitude | Susie Trigg Tucker
Three years ago I was mega unhappy in my career. It was a combination of burn out and being burned by a couple of individuals. If you’ve ever been unhappy in your career, you’ll understand this. Getting out of bed every day was a struggle. I had to face 9+ hours of being “on” on the outside, while inside I was feeling resentful, cynical, and mentally drained. To make matters worse, the overall climate of my workplace was extremely negative as well, so even the “fake it til you make it” mentality I was trying to project felt impossible. By the time I would pick my kids up and start the hustle of “the witching hours” between school pick-up and bedtime, I was not a pleasant wife or mommy to be around. Even when I was with friends or other family, all I did was complain about work. Negativity begets negativity, and I was sucked into the Dyson of negative vacuums.
I knew it was time to move on, but had no idea how that would happen. I had been in the same career for over 11 years and didn’t think it was possible to market myself outside of the field I was in. There was one job I really wanted, but it wasn’t available at the time, and I wasn’t sure it would ever be available, as it was a very small company. Still, for a long time I prayed for it and dreamed about it. One day my husband frankly told me that I needed to get a new job, because enough was enough, and he and the kids couldn’t bear me that way anymore. The next day, despite being in the middle of a contract, I began polishing up my resume and searching for jobs online. Over a few months’ time I had applied for a handful of jobs and reached out to everyone in my network to find any possible lead. Crickets. I gave up applying. I was convinced that without starting over at entry level, there was no way I was qualified to work in a different field. Nevertheless, I continued to hope and pray that the dream job (that I knew may never be available) would magically fall into my lap.
After a period of giving up, one day I randomly searched for jobs at a personal service clothing company that I used and loved, but talk about way out of my realm. It was for a management position that I wasn’t really qualified for, but low and behold, I landed an interview. Praise God! When I walked through the doors, I was in awe. The offices were polished and beautiful, with sharply dressed mannequins adorning the waiting area. It was straight out of a movie. As the receptionist gave me a tour through the kitchen (stocked with any drink and snack you could ever dream of- for free!) and halls lined with cool modern conference rooms and cubicles, I had to pinch myself. The interview went okay, but as I pulled out of the parking garage I knew that even if the job was offered to me, I wouldn’t take it. Though it would have been fun, the commute and hours simply wouldn’t have fit with my lifestyle. On the way home that afternoon though, something wonderful happened. The opportunity of the interview gave me a glimmer of hope that there was something out there for me. There was a shift in my perspective and I knew that day on the way home that something was going to change for me. With that I said a prayer and vowed to be at peace with whatever happened next. 3 days later (I kid you not), my friend at the company I so desperately wanted to work for texted me and asked if I’d like to meet for a drink to talk about a possible job opportunity. If you guessed that I got the dream job, you’re right. A month later I was in my new position and happier than I had been in a very long time.
This story was pivotal in a major shift in my mindset. I believe on that car drive home from the interview, when I opened my mind and stopped wallowing in my muck, everything aligned and fell into place more perfectly than I ever could have imagined.
Our mind is SO powerful y‘all! Remember how I said negativity begets negativity? Guess what, positivity begets positivity too.
I took two weeks off between jobs and did some soul cleansing. I traveled to New York City with my husband, read a couple of books, spent quality time with my kids, and most importantly, I rekindled my spirituality. It’s not that I had lost touch, but I realized what had happened when I was in that negative space. I was constantly asking for things. “God, please give me …” “God, why did … happen, can’t … just happen already?” “God, why is this so hard” “I’m unhappy God, please …” I had this great thirst for happiness, but I had forgotten that my cup was already full. I’m not saying God was punishing me or anything, what I’m saying is, I was, as my husband calls it… “mind f’king” myself. I was expending so much energy into the bad that it literally consumed my mind, body and soul.
When I realized what I had been doing, and that I could change, I felt like I had unlocked the secret to happiness. While this isn’t new news to everyone, it was a huge revelation to me. No matter how bad things are, there’s always, always something to be happy about. When we put our energy into focusing on those happy things, no matter how small or big, it’s almost magical how everything else falls into place. Seek out the happy things in your life, say them out loud and give thanks. You know, count your blessings.
Sunshine is out and you feel warmth? Give thanks. You woke up with tiny elbows and toes poking you in the ribs? Give thanks. You got a promotion at work? Give thanks. You have a job that allows you to provide for your family? Give thanks. You had a warm and nourishing meal? Give thanks. You spent the afternoon sharing time with family? Give thanks. You woke up and were given the gift of another day here on earth? Give thanks.
The past couple of years as I have learned to practice daily gratitude, it has changed my life. The opportunities and blessings in my life are abundant, and I do not believe that is by chance. All day long from the time I open my eyes in the morning I am saying “thank you.”
Like with anything else, this is an ongoing practice and this is a choice that you have to make every day, sometimes even every hour. Life is not always unicorns and rainbows; there are hard times and sometimes unfathomable things happen. But there is always beauty in life if you just choose to look for it. You are not defined by your circumstances, you are not defined by your past. You are defined by your thoughts about yourself. Choose positive. We are all gifted with blessings each and every day. Focus on the gifts, give thanks, and ask for your desires with a full heart.
By: Susie Trigg Tucker