Monday, November 24, 2014

Gratitude Circle

Eight and a half months ago, I found myself wearing slacks, a blazer and office-appropriate footwear and entering a building built to accommodate 950 workers, 98% of whom have direct access to natural light. The building is LEED Gold certified; there are a lot of windows. Eight and a half months ago, I took a calculated risk and accepted a position at a company that sounded cool; it seemed like this company made a legitimate difference in the lives of others. The position - an internship - came with no guarantee of full-time employment at the end of six months, and it paid less than what I made as a barista. (Side note: barista-ing was never supposed to be long-term for me. I reluctantly allowed it to turn into a medium-term thing that served as a band-aid for my somewhat directionless mid-twenties.) So, I quit barista-ing, spent two months skiing and looking for a job, took Anatomy & Physiology I, and was offered this intern gig. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and I knew very little about the company where I was about to begin my first sort of official 9-5 something or other.

And yet I took that leap and began a combined Communications/Corporate Social Responsibility internship with DaVita HealthCare Partners because thank Godness an employee on the Communications team thought I was worth their risk, experience be damned.

It is now three days before Thanksgiving, and this morning, we held a gratitude circle in my Monday morning homeroom meeting. Everyone sitting around the table expressed their gratitude for something in their world. "My health;" "my growing family;" "Colorado..." The energy in the room shifted. It changed from "Ugh, Monday morning meeting ugh," to something more positive, more reaffirming. What struck me the most was that all of the individuals in the room and on the phone said they were grateful they worked for this company, that they were a part of this team. I have never seen or been a part of such positivity in a work environment. I forgot to mention that this Gratitude Circle was actually a directive from our CEO, an instruction that every team around the country take some time during their Monday morning meeting this week to reflect on what they were grateful for in their lives. I told you this company sounded cool.

This year has been an absolute whirlwind of emotions and uncertainty and self-doubt and self-confidence and pretty much everything else that could happen short of popping out a baby. There's actually very little likelihood of that happening. But in all seriousness, as of November 10, eight months to the day of my walking into that beautiful, sunny, happy building as an intern, I am officially a full-time employee at DaVita. My position is incredible - I get to work with nonprofits across Denver and coordinate volunteer opportunities and design sponsorships and attend a huge variety of events that celebrate philanthropy in Denver and Colorado.

I am grateful. I am beyond grateful that I am still alive, still kicking and screaming and running and here to greet the Colorado mountains every single morning. That gratitude has been a part of me for a long time, and I know I will never lose it. But I am grateful, now, for this job and this opportunity to grow. I am shocked and awed that it has worked out like this - I work for a healthcare company while serving the nonprofit community in Denver. How freaking sweet is that?

The past eight years of my life have taken me down some crazy paths. It is not possible to predict where your choices will lead you or how certain decisions will shape your future paths and future self. I really have learned, though, that there is nothing more important than being grateful for at least something at any given point in time. Life's circumstances will necessarily change and shift and move in all sorts of unpredictable ways, but it is so important to recognize that there is always something to be grateful about.

I am grateful for life and for right now and for where I came from and wherever tomorrow takes me. How about you; what would you say in a gratitude circle, today?

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