Gratitude. It’s a simple concept, really, the idea of being thankful for something; however, as I quickly approach my 24th birthday, I have found it has become increasingly difficult to remember and practice. Certainly, I have always said thank you to others for their random acts of kindness to me, like cleaning up my shoe boxes after I have finished with a guest in the store, or to my sweet husband for putting away clean laundry - these are the simple acts I am grateful for. Recently though, I’ve been trying to figure out what I am truly grateful for on a deeper level. What is it that really makes me happy and thankful?
Being a part of the Millennial generation, I have a stereotype stamped on me that I am high-maintenance, self-centered, lazy, and, “incapable of face to face interaction” - darn those smartphones! (source: Fortune) We make up the largest portion of the workforce now, and in an environment where we’re statistically overworked and underpaid it’s easy to lose ourselves in the stress of this unstable and unpredictable economy. Obviously I can’t speak for all of my Millennial counterparts, but I have felt real anxiety thinking about all that I’ve done at my place of business and feeling like I have nothing to show for it. So, I keep working, I keep “grinding”, if you will, and try to equate success at my job to happiness and fulfillment at a personal level. This is where we have it all wrong.
It’s hard to categorize Playmakers as a “workplace” because in some aspects it isn’t the stereotypical workplace at all. I genuinely enjoy my coworkers’ company, enjoy what I do day to day, like helping others with footwear and crafting the perfect Instagram post, and receive countless gifts and incentives for simply being an employee. I have felt so much gratitude for all three of these things the past four years I’ve worked for this company, and I truly believe I have become a better person and salesperson because of it. Being the incredibly driven and competitive person I am though, I am always looking for ways to get better at my job. I firmly believe complacency can be the death of a business, so every day I come to work and try to answer the question, “What can I do to be better than I was yesterday?” I am sure this is a direct result of how I grew up (see my previous blog post, “The Best Thing I’ve Ever Seen”), but I also think our society teaches us from a young age that your personal happiness is a direct result of your success at work. If you make enough money, you’ll be happy. If you get the promotion, you’ll be happy, etc. etc. Recent events in my life have brought me to the realization that this can’t be all there is to my life. My life equation isn't supposed to just be school + degree + job + retirement. If work is the only thing that makes me happy, what happens if, God forbid, it’s not there anymore? What is something else in my life that can be added to that equation that gives me the ultimate joy?
For me, I’ve been contemplating these questions for the past several months. Heck, since graduation. What am I grateful for? How can I take that gratitude and spread it around to other people in my life so they feel grateful too? What kind of impact will I make on people? If we don’t stop and think about what makes us truly happy, we can forget about what's really important to us. What makes YOU happy? Is it lacing up your shoes and going for a great run? Is it spending time with your family? Is it a giant bowl of Moose Tracks ice cream? (That’s me) Whatever it is, I encourage you to hold onto that and cherish it. Find what gives you joy and live the most beautiful version of your life. It's too short not to!