Being Grateful Means Thanking Yourself

March 25, 2015 in It is what it is - opinion column | Comments (0)


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If you heard a loud thump from Downtown Las Vegas, don’t worry. It was just me.

I fell off the daily writing rhythm for a bit. The last several days have been a remarkable whirlwind as the construction project to expand The Hydrant Club has slowed from gale force gusts to a soothing breeze of completion.

Standing in our brand new clubhouse today I felt the most remarkable sense of calm, peace and on more than one occasion an overwhelming sense of deep gratitude.

Gratitude is an amazing thing. There are many practices by which it’s suggested that a way to ground oneself and counter negative thoughts and overcome challenges is to focus on the things for which one is grateful. I’ve found that is true. Yet over the last several weeks as my emotions have raced the corkscrew curls of a mach 4 coaster ride, merely thinking of things for which I’m grateful has barely made a dent.

Last week a friend suggested I up my game on the gratitude front. Rather than merely think about the things for which I’m grateful, she said I should match each of the items on the list with the role that I played in bringing that thing to fruition. The idea being that the things for which we’re grateful aren’t things that merely happen to us, but instead that when we take an active role in our lives we are responsible for bringing the gratitude in.

This sounds so simple, and it is – a slight shift of the radio dial tuning in more clearly to an idea … a shift that carries more power than I could have imagined.

It reminds me that gratitude is a bit like the idea of luck. Being “lucky” is something that comes from within. Those people who you see as having luck are merely those whose eyes are open to the opportunities around them and with the courage to take risk and chances. We all have the possibility of luck it merely requires that we keep an open mind.

When Tony Hsieh invited me to come to Las Vegas on vacation back in 2012, I could have said no. I could have decided that the idea of coming to the desert in the middle of the summer was crazy and decided to stay in the cool fog of San Francisco continuing on my path. That wouldn’t necessarily have been bad, but in doing so I’d have missed the opportunity to explore what ended up unearthing a dream I didn’t even know that I had.

Today I stopped into Downtown Las Vegas’ newest eatery, PublicUs, to grab lunch. While there I bumped into Kacy Qua. As I shared with her the excitement about the construction ending, she smiled and said that she remembered our riding on the Delivering Happiness bus back from the Zappos All Hands meeting that took place at the end of my serendipity-saturated adventure that summer week in 2012. She was in town during that same time, just beginning her own “luck” filled adventure here.

As we mused on that ride and the conversation we had, she reminded me that on that ride, I’d already begun to consider that I’d be making Las Vegas part of my life. It was literally hours after that bus ride when the pieces of my Las Vegas puzzle fell into place, because I started a conversation with someone in an elevator, someone who then introduced me to the person who’d make my new dream take flight.

I now sit in the backyard of my home, listening to the breeze through palm trees, enjoying my now regular practice of reveling in a peace-filled evening writing session while I watch my dogs play and decompress. I began this new practice during the midst of the recent weeks’ chaos, finding a deep sense of calm, pondering on the lessons I’m learning.

Gratitude for everything seeps from my hand into the pen and across the pages, and I stop to consider that had I not been willing to take a chance, none of it would be possible. I think about the amazing people with whom my life has been filled in the last two years, and consider that each of these paths has come to help me grow as well as for me to give to others.

So if you’re having a challenging time, I offer you this … Pause and think about the things in your life, even those challenges, and allow yourself to embrace the gift that these things bring. More importantly never forget that when you think about things for which you’re grateful, know that the magic that has allowed those things to come to life is a power that resides entirely within yourself.


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