Why You Need to Strive to Grow

As I think more about gratitude, I realize that I have so much to be grateful for. Sometimes, it takes a reality check to realize everything that you do have.

One of the things I’ve become incredibly thankful for is the rich network of women I have in my life. Through my job, I’ve met a lot of amazing people, who are incredibly talented and driven. Over the past few months, I’ve really begun to collaborate and spend more time with my colleagues-turned-friends, and my life is much richer for it.

Why You Need to Strive to Grow

One thing I realize that I need in my life is an environment that fosters growth.Back when I lived in Madison, before I met Jason, I was pretty miserable. Reflecting on it now, a lot of it stemmed from being bored. I worked at a job that I liked but didn’t provide much professional challenge. It wasn’t until I started my blog, Racing Bananas, that I began to get out of the funk. I had a project to focus on, to help me explore my interests, learn a new skill, and connect with people with similar interests. Seems intuitive, but I didn’t realize I needed that then.

The past 1.5 years have been a whirlwind for me – meeting Jason, moving to a new state, planning a wedding. I found last spring, though, that I was beginning to feel the same way that I did in Madison. Nothing excited me and my challenged me, but not in the way I needed. I feared that I wouldn’t be able to pull myself out of this slump.

But – things turned around. I’ve been fortunate to connect personally and professionally with colleagues who share similar interest with me. I’ve come to realize that having a network of friends and colleagues who challenge me to think outside of the box, be creative in problem resolutions, and push to me to think of what I can do is crucial to me and my life. It pushes me to to better at my job and makes me more happy. I now have a project that I’m working on with a friend that excites me and gives me something to focus on, to research, to help me develop professionally and help students grow. It’s a win-win.

What I’ve realized is that growth isn’t just for students or the overly ambitious. Submersing yourself in an environment of growth is important to continue to develop and grow, and push yourself to be better. It may be in your career or personal life, but pushing yourself – or at least, myself – to be better, I find that I am much happier. And I’m grateful for that.


Gratitude Check In

Happy Wednesday! I was awoken a bit earlier than usual this morning by a very cute pup jumping into bed and snuggling with me. I’m not even mad – it was nice to start off the day with puppy snuggles. I guess you could say that I’m grateful for that sweet moment we shared and I definitely started my day in a happier way!

Last week, I talked about how I am focusing on gratitude for the month. I have to say, I’ve definitely been more aware of being and expressing gratitude. It’s a nice change to focus on what I do have. Unfortunately, sticking to my resolutions – particularly writing in my gratitude journal each day – has been tough for me. So I’m taking action. What’s the problem? I forget to write in my gratitude journal. So, I’m setting an alarm in the evening to remind me to write in my gratitude journal each day. Boom – problem solved!


Yesterday in meeting, a colleague talked about how a previous supervisor helped to create an environment of gratitude in the workplace. She would leave cards or post-its in the office, thanking people for the work they did and leaving cheery notes. The supervisor also challenged her office to write 10 thank you cards to people each week.

I really like this idea. I like the idea of thoughtfully taking time each week to identify someone who has helped me or gone above and beyond. It’s so easy to focus on the every day tasks we have to do, and take for granted what other people do. So I’m challenging myself to write a thank you note each week this month to thank people for everything they do. Small steps, right?

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December 2015 Resolutions

Oh December, where did you come from? November was a blur. Actually all of 2015 feels as if it were a blur and now, as I finally have a chance to catch my breath, it’s coming to a close. As one of my favorite writers/podcasters Gretchen Rubin likes to say: The days are long but the years are short. As I get older, this becomes more and more true.

I talked a bit about gratitude in my last post, and decided that is going to be my theme for December. Gratitude. Being grateful for all that I have in my life. Focusing on what I do have, instead of what I want (or think that I want). This may seem like a more applicable resolution for November, but hey, it’s my project, so my rules.


December Resolutions:

  1. Write in my gratitude journal each day. Each day, I am going to purposefully write down at least one thing I’m grateful for in my life. I like this, because it will help me get in the habit of focusing on all that I do have, instead of thinking of what I don’t have, or what I want. I like the idea of fostering an environment of positivity each day.
  2. Intentionally express gratitude to people in my life. It’s easy to live each day and take for granted what the people around you do. I want to be more intentional about thanking people for the things that they do every day. I try very hard to thank Jason each day for everything he does – taking care of me and Hoss, making dinner each night, being my partner. I want to make this effort more widespread.
  3. Make gratitude a habit through pairing. One technique Gretchen Rubin suggests to help build habits is use the technique of pairing. Pairing refers to putting two things/actions together, and meaning they always go together. Since they always go together, you cannot do one without the other. So, my resolution for the month is that every time I get into the car (typically a minimum of two times per day), I have to think of one thing that I am grateful for. This will help me build the habit of starting and ending my work day by being grateful.

So December is my month to focus on gratitude. Particularly since December seems to be stressful with work and the holidays, my goal that by practicing gratitude, I will more easily be able to focus on the good in my life, rather than what I perceive to be “the bad.” It’s worth a shot, right?