Gratitude Despite Adversity

It’s the evening before Thanksgiving here in the U.S., so this seems like an especially appropriate topic to cover.

Even in the best of times, gratitude for one’s circumstances can be overlooked. But when the going gets rough? There’s precious little gratitude that can be found anywhere!

Earlier this week, I came across two examples of people who had experienced less-than-ideal situations, but still showed gratitude:

One came from NFL player Al Harris. Al had been with the Green Bay Packers since 2003, but was released earlier this month because of an injury he sustained last season that hasn’t allow him to play since that time.

It wouldn’t be unreasonable for him to be bitter — he was laid off, which is never pleasant. Instead, Al took out a full-page ad in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In part, it read:

Thank you for always supporting me.

Thank you for making me a part of your family.

Thank you for treating my family like your own.

Thank you for making one of the coldest places the warmest place.

Thank you for making every single day I was a Packer a very special day…

No anger, no trash talking. Just an abundance of class. How many of us can say we’ve left a job on those terms? (Very few of us, to be sure.)

The other example came from Rachelle Friedman. Last May, Rachelle was just a few weeks away from marrying her fiancé, but then a terrible life event happened. At the bachelorette party, a friend teasingly pushed Rachelle into the shallow end of a pool. Rachelle’s head hit the bottom, injuring her spinal cord and leaving her paralyzed. This video is an amazing testament to Rachelle’s gratitude in the face of an enormously challenging situation:

Now take a look at your own situation. Maybe you’ve been laid off. Perhaps you are not so thrilled with your current job and are mulling over a career change, but have no idea what to do. Circumstances that feel like giant obstacles in your life or force you to travel down an unexpected path don’t exactly inspire thankfulness or optimism.

But really, is everything awful? Couldn’t that “terrible occurrence” in your life really be an opportunity to reach toward something you’ve only dreamed about? Or could it be taking you down a path that ultimately leads to connections and good fortune that you wouldn’t have had otherwise? Maybe you’ve already started making those critical connections that will lead to that new destination!

I encourage you to take the rest of this week to focus on the positive and give thanks for the gifts that life has given you. Who knows how an attitude of gratitude could lead to something else?

What are you grateful for?

Melissa Cooley, career coach and certified résumé writer of The Job Quest, LLC unearths her clients’ career examples to showcase the talents and results that make them must-hire candidates. Click here for more information on ways to partner with Melissa for your career success!

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