By Valorie Oonk

Even before the Coronavirus pandemic, our team at Whittaker Associates have conducted team meetings via Zoom or GoToMeeting as our team is located in different parts of the world.  Typically, at the end of every meeting, we are each asked to name three things in which we are grateful for. Anyone can come up with three things to be grateful for, right? We’re encouraged to avoid using the same things week after week in order to be a little more creative and think outside of the box. This generally brings such awareness to the smallest of “things” which trigger even more from being taken over by a feeling, to an act of kindness or simply kind words or gesture, to an activity, the weather, an object, observation, event, rewarding relationships with family, friends or in business. The list could be endless once you allow yourself to open your mind and focus on all the good and positive around you. It amazes me how easily I can jot three things down even if I feel like it was a very demanding, tough week!

So let me tell you about last week’s team meeting! Our incredible team was taken aback when our Founder/President and wonderful mentor, Dean, announced that he wanted to switch things up by asking us to come up with three fun things we did the previous week. FUN? Three things? I already had my three things to be thankful for written out without hesitation. I was suddenly very preoccupied during that meeting brainstorming anything I could think of that might translate into fun that I had done in that previous week. I strived to use the same positive spirit referenced above with listing three gratitudes but failed. Struggling to come up with one, I used something from over a week out which was watching my grandson overnight. This was a true wake up call. Maybe some of you are able to relate. I seemed to be working so much and just put that as a priority, seemingly work, eat, sleep. Work can be fun, eating is enjoyable, sleep is great but to say anything stood out as fun at least for that week was sadly pretty difficult. Had I not taken a walk or worked out? Planned and prepared meals? Had a fun encounter with friends, family, clients or co-workers?

My take away from that was wow, get a life, or at the very least, attempt to make anything you do more enjoyable to the point of fun. My hope is that we get asked that question again this week. I am happy to report I could come up with a list! I hung out with friends, family, had enjoyable experiences at different places including my jobs,I helped other people which brings me joy, cleaning my garage, working in my yard and around the house with music on in the background, and relaxing with my pet. Sometimes we need to make sure we are taking time for ourselves, seek and do things that bring joy, and accept invitations when you would rather just stay in. We can be the one holding ourselves back from having fun and really enjoying life. Don’t hold back. We all have weeks that fun escapes us and we put work, others, household chores before ourselves. Having this mindset of this has to get done, this has to be clean, and it has to be now but don’t let it turn into weeks or a constant stressful, busy lifestyle without fun.

Now it’s your turn. First the easy one: Name three things in which you are grateful for. Now I hope this one is easier for you: Name three things that you did in the past week that were fun! I hope you continue to challenge yourself weekly along with us at Whittaker Associates by asking and coming up with answers to both of these questions! On a side note and always looking for the brighter side of any situation, at least we were not asked to go live with video!