Freelance gratitude: To whom do you owe thanks?
You didn’t do it all yourself.
Freelancers are independent sorts, and yes, we should give ourselves credit for where we are and what we’ve accomplished.
But we didn’t get here in a vacuum. Folks along the way made a difference, sometimes a huge one.
Over 50 cm of snow fell in a few hours. As my husband and I sipped steaming cups of hot chocolate to warm up at home while watching the snowflakes dance outside, we became contemplative, recalling fond memories of our many years together and farther back still, of those who’d made such a difference in our lives.
While I tend to write forward-looking pieces on this blog, for once I’d like to look back for a minute. And to ask you to take a few minutes out of your hectic schedule to do the same. Gratitude is empowering.
To whom do you owe thanks?
Beyond your family, your friends, your spouse or loved one, whose contribution can you look back on now and recognize made a marked difference in whom you are and what you are do today? No, you didn’t do it all by yourself.
In sorting through all the wonderful people who have touched my life, three stand out for the enduring effects their role played.
M.K., my high school history and geography teacher, exuded unfailing passion for his work, respect for his students, and a will to encourage our individuality and talents. His emotional intelligence (I now know to call it that) was a refreshing contrast to the classic French educational style that stresses conformity and uses criticism as feedback. He helped us gain self-confidence, to learn by trying and letting go of fear of failure, to accept ourselves (probably the biggest challenge for teenagers!) and to choose a path we’d be passionate about.
R.S, my college and grad school political science professor, who expunged the last bits of French influence from my writing in English. He must have spent hours correcting each of our term papers: the pristine white sheets with black type we’d hand in – yes, this was in the olden days of typewriters and R.S. loathed Correcto-Type – would come back covered with his tight red scrawl. I spent hours studying the corrections and remarks he made on mine over the years. I anguished over each sentence I’d write for the next one. I’d alternate between praising his clear commitment to scholarship and Clear English Writing and cursing him, bent over my manual Smith Corona, for making me a stressed-out wreck with very sore fingertips. With a computer, I still angst, but my fingers are fine.
And finally G.C., who was instrumental in launching my freelance business by bringing me in on a year-long project for a complex tripartite merger. His trust, confidence and support, as well as his generous insights to navigate sometimes turbulent political waters, contributed immensely to the project’s success – and to my confidence in building my business.
Do it before it’s too late
Pick up the phone. Send a note. Tell those precious people in your life what difference they made. They probably don’t know. Wouldn’t you like to know if something about you or something you passed on to another did?
Do it now, before it’s too late.
I learned a few years ago M.K and R.S had passed away. I’d lost touch with them, put off looking them up, I’d do it when I had time. I deeply regret my laziness.
I’m sending G.C. a note and this blog post, t o d a y.
So whom do you want to thank? Post a message of gratitude in the comments below.
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