Remembering to slow down and find gratitude

Written by EMBA Director Donna Blackburn 

If you are like me, your days are filled with activity and your mind with an ever growing list of “to do’s” and “things to be done right NOW.”

Every morning as I back out of my garage, I am thinking of the first meeting or project I need to work on, so by the time I get to the end of my street, I wonder, “did I close the garage door?”  I say, “every morning”, because this happens a lot with me backing the car up my street to my driveway to ultimately face a closed garage door.  And no, it is not creeping dementia.  It is, as I like to put it, so much mundane in the brain clouding the wisdom.  In other words, simply too much to do in a small window of time.

So, how to overcome the clouding of the brain?  For me, it was remembering something I read by Arvind Devalia.  Devalia said, “Gratitude is a way of reaching back to your natural state of happiness. Notice what’s right instead of what’s wrong and begin to see every “problem” as an opportunity for growth and development.”

We often find ourselves overworked and second guessing ourselves.  Did we do this? Did we forget something?  Usually because we are looking ahead instead of focusing on the now.  We can fall apart or get frustrated when we miss a step or make a mess along the way, or we can take a breath and take a moment to give thanks for the opportunity to learn and make it right.

The garage door has now for me become a moment of reflection.  No matter what may be racing through my head as I leave in the morning, as I back up my car, I stop. I take several deep breathes thinking of nothing but breathing in and out as the garage door closes. One benefit has been that the mind stops racing, even if it is only for a few minutes.

What is your garage door? What is your problem that will lead to a growth opportunity?

Happy-ThanksgivingThe University of Alabama will be closed the rest of this week for the holiday.  From all of us in the Executive MBA office, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

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