It's Thanksgiving weekend...a time to reflect on what you have in life. Thanksgiving morning I woke up in my mom's farmhouse where we had spent the night. I took a run that morning on the open country road. I love running to think, reflect, set goals, plan, and there is no better place than away from the city. I love how it clears my mind to have that space. As I was running that morning I was thinking about how blessed I was in life. Most tend to reflect on this at this time of the year. Some might think naturally of food, water, shelter, career, money, etc. My thoughts kept circling around the people in my life and how thankful I am for the relationships we have built.
my two worlds
I live in two worlds. You may feel this way yourself. I have this personal world of my close friends and family, but a whole other world at work where I spend a large bulk of my daily life. When reflecting on the people I appreciate, my thoughts naturally go to my family. My immediate family of my husband and two kids along with the extended family of parents, siblings, niblings (nephews and neices...real word I didn't make it up), and in-laws. I also love the circle of friends I have grown in my personal life, from those that are hometown, life long friends, to those I have met as I progressed into my adult life.
The other world I spend a lot of time in is my work life. I've been extremely blessed to feel "at home" in the two schools I worked at and the current role I have as an instructional technology trainer. I have made so many friends and strong connections through the years. Not everyone feels this way at work and it can have an effect on your happiness and productivity. Research shows that having friends at work is more beneficial than trying to separate your work and personal life. There may be some struggles with it, but in the end the benefits outweigh the negatives. I know that I would not feel the level of engagement and happiness I have at work, if I did not have a strong connection with those I work with.
Here are a couple sample posts if you care to read more on this topic:
"We All Need Friends At Work"
"Work Friends Make Us More Productive (Except When they Stress Us Out)"
When I reflect on what I'm grateful for in this world, it stands out in my mind the people I work with on my team. We informally call ourselves a training team, but behind the scenes we joke about being a "family". We truly work as one. We struggle through disagreements like a family. We celebrate successes when one wins an award, a team member is newly engaged, or one crosses off a bucket list item. Our work family rallies around those going through struggles in their personal life or when a goal we planned to move towards as a team goes off path. Beyond my immediate work family is the extended network of colleagues that we have connected with. The teachers and leaders in the buildings that we have grown to know as we discuss their needs and try to provide the best support for them are a key part of what I love about my work.
Gratitude for Relationships
What is always striking to me is how separate these two worlds can be for those I interact with. My personal life connections and work life connections rarely interact. My personal family knows little about my work family and vice versa. However, to me they all intertwine into the world within me. When I look closely at what I most appreciate about my life it is definitely not material possessions. It comes down to RELATIONSHIPS. In my life, I am most grateful for the relationships I have had and continue to have. The relationships with those I'm close to in my personal world and in my professional world. It is what I focus on when I ever feel off balance in life. I look towards what relationship is not getting enough attention. It can be in my personal life, my professional life, and even the relationship with myself.
As Thanksgiving weekend comes to and end and I'm finalizing this post I feel a balance in my relationships. I've had time with close family and those I have not seen in a while. We've reconnected through good meals, a long game of Phase 10, reminiscing of old memories, and teasing one another. I've taken time to catch up with friend who had a recent surgery, reached out to some via text, and spent down time with a couple on our deck as the unseasonably nice weather granted us that outdoor time. Holidays help us with this reconnection of those close to us. We slow our lives down to have that hour with a person, a slow cup of coffee, an extra long card game, or a walk to the park. The problem is, these times come too far and few.
This morning I started the book, "Better Conversations", by Jim Knight. I'm one chapter in and I so need this book. With relationships being the number one thing I'm most grateful for in my life, I need to prioritize the cultivation of them. I'm at an age that I know which relationships need to be focused on and don't feel ashamed to let some go. This book is setting out to share ways to communicate better and build habits for better conversations. A quality that will enhance anyone's relationship in their personal or professional life. Most conversations don't happen over a holiday when we have large amounts of relaxing time. It may be a conversation that is quick and fast at work, or on a rushed morning to get the kids ready for school. It might be those longer conversations as we plan out at work the best way to tackle a problem, or as my husband and I plan out our goals for the future. As we come close to December, I have already set a focus on strengthening relationships as my current goal for 2018. I feel this book is going to lay a great foundation for this journey. If I hold my relationship with others so dear to my heart, then I need to take a concerted effort towards making them as strong as possible and the tie to this all is communication.
Mother, wife, teacher, learner, information seeker, outdoor lover, & I guess now a novice blogger.