I started a post about framing a strategy on the plane. It was a large part of my week and something that always gives me great joy to work on. But then I looked at the calendar and thought that was not really what I was wanting to put out on Christmas Eve. January is probably a better time for that.
This is a time for reflection and gratitude. And the more I reflect on this year, the more grateful I am.
For the first time in a really long time, I feel at peace. Despite the fact that this is the busiest I have probably ever been, I feel a sense of balance that I just did not think it was possible to exist. And yes, it is incredibly hard to juggle, there is nothing easy about it, and some moments of the day (or some days) it may feel shaky. But overall, it feels pretty awesome.
Given the importance of a culture of gratitude and how it has gone such a long way to improve my life, I thought there was no better way to convince you how important these are in your life than to share mine for this year. They may get personal or some may not mean a lot to you. And I will certainly not have all the hundreds of gratitudes that I wrote every day with my good friends Teeba and Shilpa, but I will seek to cover the highlights and help you frame yours as the year draws to an end. Let’s see how short I can keep this, and don’t interpret too much into the ordering of it. Hopefully, they will bring out adjacent gratitude in you.
I am grateful for my children
I am grateful I was blessed with healthy and happy children. They fill us with joy, despite the scary tantrums, and definitely make us grow as individuals. Being a parent has to be the hardest job I ever did and will ever do. It was certainly hard for our parents and grandparents, and most likely is just getting worse as we want to be more involved and there are so many more complexities that get added to the day to day of the modern families. I am grateful I made time to be there for them in their special moments, first steps, first words, school plays and (few) playdates. I am grateful that we took memorable holidays together, shared laughter, rolled on the floor, cuddled up in bed and spent so much time as a family.
I am grateful for my partner
I am grateful that we continue to grow and invest in our partnership and its sustainability. I am grateful we are self-aware of our limitations as individuals and as partners and that we accept a relationship needs work. I recognise what was an extremely hard year for him, and I am proud of what he has achieved and grateful we had the strength to stay the course. I am grateful for keeping our date nights, even when we are just going out for steak (béarnaise) and fries and talking about work.
I am grateful for my family
I am grateful our family is so incredibly supportive of us. Despite the distance, they are always so present – thank you technology. I am grateful for the ones that also forgive my distance and always have open arms to receive me when we are back. I am particularly grateful for their support in one of my toughest weeks ever as Baby S was in the hospital. I am grateful for how close my children are to them, it is almost as they lived next door. This was the first quarter I was so long without going home (bad scheduling) and I truly feel grateful for them – and miss them.
I am grateful for health
I am grateful this was a year of health for the broader family. We have had some bumpy years before, but this one was relatively smooth. It is funny I say this as I had a really tough bacterial infection mid-year which really knocked me down, but I guess that just makes me feel even more grateful for coming out of it.
I am grateful for my friends
I am grateful for new friends, existing friends, far-away friends that I don’t get to see as much. I am grateful for their existence and their place in my life at different points. I am grateful for the ones that show up just when I need them, for the ones that reach out just when they need me. I am grateful for those that we see every other week and those that we see once a year, or once every 5 years. Some may not think of them as friends, but truly they are.
I am grateful for my charity
I am grateful for all that it has achieved and the difference it continues to make in children’s lives. For the team that keeps it going while I work. For their patience with me. For how it forces me to grow as a leader and make some of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make as a business leader. For how it brings joy to my heart and tears to my eyes. And for how it continues to get the strength to make effective change.
I am grateful for my work
I am grateful for the enormous opportunities I have been granted this year. It was a year of immense growth as I focused and developed my strategy expertise. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to train a new team. I am grateful for the change to have met over 80 fintech companies in under 5 months and get to know about their business and potential strategic fit. I am grateful for the increased role to effect change in my division at the global level. I am grateful I was provided with truly valuable training opportunities and that I feel my development is valued and nurtured.
I am grateful for my writing
I am grateful I found a way to link my passion for writing with all my other passions (not few clearly). I have always been an avid writer, and it always brought me some sadness how little I wrote. The re-launch of this blog and The Viewpoint community have been key to adding one more piece of balance to my life, as it links passions and helps me bring it all together. I am grateful for all the people that have been encouraging, reading, commenting. I am impressed by how it has made me grow.
I am grateful for making time to invest in myself
This was my year of greatest development across all areas of my life. I learnt about the podcasting world and became an avid listener. I am grateful for the Bizchix podcast and how it helped me shape my vision of myself. I am grateful for finding a new way of reading through audible, which brought me favourites Atomic Habits and 164 hours: you have more time than you think (review on this one still overdue). I am grateful I took an entire day (yes full day) away from work to do an HBS career reboot camp to establish my affirmations from what I value in all areas of my life. I feel that acknowledgement has a lot to do to where I got to today. I am grateful for my bullet journal passion and how I kept my commitment to it, re-enforcing its benefits and what it did for me throughout the year. I am grateful for training sessions I did not skip, for articles I got to read, for new topics I made time to learn about. I have grown more as a whole individual this year than ever before (HBS years included).
I am grateful for advisory/mentorship opportunities
I am grateful I was able to expand beyond the company I work for 14 years and strengthened my external engagement. I am grateful for becoming a mentor at Level 39, for engaging strategically with Lovys and eSolidar, for being open to new companies that may fit my work life or my personal life. I have learnt a great deal about these companies and business models but also was able to share a lot of what I have developed over the years to help them grow. And that is an incredible feeling.
I am grateful for being kind to myself
I am grateful that 2 years after I sat in a room with my therapist being completely unable to be kind to myself, I started to turn around. I am not there yet, but the difference is starting to show. I did not beat myself up for missing the date on Little Girl C school clubs, I did not beat myself up for not going to all the school trips (I went to 1), I did not beat myself up for not being there for Baby S’ first school drop-off (I did pick up), I did not beat myself up (too much) for the birthdays I forgot, for the friends I did not see, for the calls I did not make. The most visible moment was that there was no guilt when I switched off from everything to just be there for Baby S as he spent a week in the hospital. And I took care of myself while there.
There is so much more, I could go on for a long time. I will probably regret not continuing, but there are only so many games Little Girl C wants to play next to me on the aeroplane.
Thank you 2018.