10 Reasons for Gratitude: Helping Others Thrive in 2019
Given that last year was focused on cancer recovery, I didn’t write my annual highlights blog. Early Thanksgiving morning, I woke up inspired to look through photos from this past year with gratitude.
Again and again, my eyes were drawn to moments that embodied one of my favorite quotes:
“Work is love made visible.” ~Kahlil Gibran
Following are highlights that celebrate being able to do work that I love – in ways that allow me to show my love for others – alongside people I deeply respect.
Leadership in Counter Terrorism-Alumni Association (LinCT-AA) Conference, Melbourne, Australia (Dec, 2018). Opportunity: Present on leadership and workforce resilience within the high demands of counter terrorism work. Gratitude: Experiencing the extraordinary collaboration between the five nations of the LinCT network – while enjoying beautiful Australia alongside my sister to include snuggling koalas, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, exploring Sydney, and hiking the Daintree Rain Forest.
University of Missouri THRIVE Workshop for Higher Education, Missouri (Feb, 2019). Opportunity: Work with personnel from across the university, including student services, undergraduate, graduate, law school and medical school. Gratitude: The sincerity and openness of participants who brought home this truth: Never underestimate the power of letting someone else see that you believe in them. Bonus points for perseverance– despite the university closing due to an impending ice storm, participants enthusiastically chose to stay and learn better ways to meet the needs of all students.
National Summit on School Safety, Texas (March 2019). Opportunity: Deliver a workshop on increasing school safety through intentional relationships and resilience building, as well as facilitate several discussion sessions. Gratitude: My friends, Michele Gay and Alissa Parker, who lost their little ones at Sandy Hook and went on to found Safe and Sound Schools, are shining examples of possibility. With the right support, we humans have the potential to bring forth goodness from tragic loss – coming through the other side with even greater strength, meaning and impact.
LinCT-AA and INVICTM International Learning and Networking Day, Toronto, Canada (April 2019). Opportunity: Lecture on incorporating resilience into counterterrorism strategies and present on global resilience collaborations. Gratitude: Witnessing the dedication of law enforcement and intelligence agents who sacrifice every day to make our communities stronger and safer – and working alongside professionals from around the world dedicated to supporting those impacted by acts of terror.
Resiliency and Trauma Informed Care Symposium, Iowa (May, 2019). Opportunity: Present the THRIVE Resilience Model™ to hundreds of Iowa educators and youth builders. Gratitude: Working in my home state – through events like the Symposium and the THRIVE Workshops we provide to Iowa schools (including my childhood school!) – honors the roots of my resilience work. Also grateful to locally pilot our Resilience First Aid Project — working alongside leaders and helpers in my own community to strengthen networks, grow human resilience, and better prepare for disruptions brings joy to this Iowa girl’s heart!
ReCon Veteran Resilience Conference and ReCon Youth Summit, Michigan (May, 2019). Opportunity: Deliver two very different keynotes for military service professionals and youth audiences, with a common theme of growing and supporting others to thrive through adversity. Gratitude: Meeting passionate resilience builders, being able to speak directly to young people, and sharing this experience with my youngest daughter, an assistant extraordinaire.
Vogel Resiliency Center, Joint Base San Antonio, Fort Sam Houston, Texas (June, 2019). Opportunity: Meet with our JBSA colleagues, participate in David Richmond’s presentations on leading in a volatile and complex world, and spend time with our National Resilience Institute Board Chair who proudly claims “Military City, USA” as her home. Gratitude: Strengthening those who sacrifice so much for our freedoms is an honor and spending time with some of my favorite resilience thought leaders is a joy.
Western New Mexico University (Sept, 2019). Opportunity: Provide a THRIVE Workshop at the conference renamed this year from the annual Challenging Child Conference to the 17th Annual Family Counseling Center’s Conference. Gratitude: Speaking at an event organized by a woman named Angel who lived up to her name. Grateful for deeply restorative time in New Mexico, taking in the bright colors of Santa Fe and the sacred land of the Gila National Forest, visiting Fr. Richard Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, and watching the sun set and stars shine from the hot mineral springs on the banks of the Rio Grande. When you bring a sense of play to your work, you create more for yourself — and others.
Annual Wingman/Shipmate Day, Joint Base Andrews (JBA) (Oct, 2019). Opportunity: Hold the National Resilience Institute’s annual Resilience Summit at JBA to benefit military personnel and installation leadership. Gratitude: Working and playing alongside highly valued and trusted colleagues (read summary here) and enjoying first class hospitality by the JBA Community Support team.
FBI Victim Services Division, VS Field Office (Oct, 2019). Opportunity: Present on cultivating a culture of resilience for FBI service professionals. Gratitude: Being able to encourage and strengthen agents who work on the front lines to support those impacted by heinous crimes, from human trafficking to acts of terror and well beyond. Even within darkness, we can strengthen and support each other to shine a light of hope, help and healing.
Thank you for sharing this time to reflect, memorialize and practice gratitude.
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~Melody Beattie
With grateful hearts, let’s embrace and celebrate every opportunity to help others more fully experience their right to thrive.