While I look back over the last year, I see that some of the things that I am most thankful for would not have happened unless something bad had happened first.
While the recession has caused many hardships, it has also spurred creativity, innovation and an appreciation of the simpler things in life.
The economic times spurred me to look at social media more closely as a way to communicate our messages and connect with our customers. I felt badly for the cutting back we ended up doing and its effects on our vendors, but many completely understood.
The economic downturn caused me to look more closely at what my customers needed. Simple, easy to use and effective solutions without a lot of flash to search for candidates, post jobs and attend Cleared Job Fairs. The job seekers needed more resources in multiple formats to support them in their career search.
Finally I had to take a closer look at my own personal expenses. Cutting back was a pleasure rather than a chore. Lessening my financial requirements allowed me peace and freedom. I looked more closely at simple pleasures like coffee instead of an extravagant meal, cooking and even growing food. This freedom allowed me to participate more in my community which enriched my life more than materialistic pursuits.
During economic downturns, bad vendors show their true colors. All gloss and platitudes but no deliverables. As frustrating and detrimental as this can be, you have a chance to move from acceptance and complacency to action. If some bad vendors had not shown their true colors, we would have been willing to be in acceptance mode rather than action to find a better solutions provider. I am thankful for the pain and suffering to sharpen my skills in finding a better vendor. All the suffering reminded me that there are hard working, creative folks with integrity who will do anything to make sure that they fulfill their promises and exceed customer expectations.
Wounded Warrior EOD Ride:
When we signed on as sponsors for the Wounded Warrior EOD ride, it was one more thing in a very busy schedule. My husband a former Marine decided to participate and I full supported this. Little did we know what we were getting into? As my husband had not participated in a double century ride before – 2 100 miles in 2 days – he had a lot of training to do. Every weekend and many weeknights he was gone on a training ride only to come back exhausted. There was this void of a partner, helpmate and friend- companionship was lost, and chores had to been done all on top of a two career family. But when I thought of all the spouses of our deployed military, I shut my trap. My inconvenience was nothing compared to spouses of our military who hold down the home front during 6-18 month deployments. They deal with loneliness, frustration and anger while having to be the one person fills a two person mission of family head, financial breadwinner, and helpmate.
My husband got back from the ride having ridden with Wounded Warriors who were in the ride missing 1 or 2 limbs but filled with pride, commitment and charisma to finish the job. He was humbled and honored to be in their presence.
I have now had the flu three times this year all at the worse possible times. Each time work colleagues and family members take up the slack with only a word of encouragement to get better.
In the fog of the flu, I usually can see more clearly as to what is important in my life. My rushing to fulfill too many commitments is not going to solve world hunger or really make a huge impact. Being healthy to do what I was put on this earth to do is a little more important than meeting too many deadlines that I put on myself.
Somewhere along the way I learned that each inconvenience or disaster was either an opportunity or lesson learned. I am thankful I have maintained that perspective.