Grateful: Reflections on My 41st Birthday Plus a Challenge For You Today


by Don Smith

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I turned 41 today. I'm still young enough to feel like I'm in the prime of my life, yet old enough to have lived through a few things. Last year, I shared some quotes that inspired me, and the year before, I shared some life lessons that apparently resonated with people as it went viral and became one of our most popular articles.

This year, I want to say thank you and leave you with a challenge.

Don & Wife Pamela on Vacation in Mexico
I'm Grateful for Moments like These

Thank You to Those Who Have Been a Part of My Life

Thank you to everyone who has challenged me, who has been a good friend, who has laughed with me, who has cried with me. Thank you to my family, who raised me and has supported me over the years. Thank you to my wife for being there, encouraging me, and for being the type of woman I am proud to have in my life. Thank you to my children for the joy you've brought into my life (we won't talk about those gray hairs).

Thank you to those who thought highly enough of me to allow me to speak into their lives as a group leader, mentor, speaker, and coach. You've probably helped me as much, if not more, as I have you. Thank you to those who have mentored me and provided excellent examples of walking that fine line between being friends and being a leader and teacher. Thank you to my fellow Toastmasters who have encouraged and challenged me to become a better leader and communicator and became close friends. Thank you to my friends and coworkers at Nelson Systems, who have stood by me for the last 18+ years. Thank you to my clients, whose support has allowed me to do what I love to do.

I could go on and on for the next ten pages thanking everyone who has impacted my life and listing out everything that I am grateful for today. I've even learned to be thankful for those people who taught me painful lessons, for, without them, I would not be who I am today. Suffice it to say, I am grateful. Thank you.

Challenge For Today: Focus on The Positive

I could have started this letter with all the people who have hurt me or been negative influences on my life; there have been many of those. I could have shared some of the many issues I'm facing. Instead, today I'm choosing to focus on the positives, those things, and the people I'm grateful for, which are many. It's your choice who you spend your time with and what you choose to focus on.

I've learned over the years that everyone and every situation has both positive and negative aspects. What you choose to focus on is what you will see.

My challenge to you is to take a little time to reflect on what you have to be grateful for. Say thank you to those who have helped you become the person you are today, and make an effort to surround yourself with those who care for you enough to challenge and encourage you.

Choose to look for the positive. Choose to be grateful. Say thank you to someone today.

About the Author 

Don Smith

Happily married with five kids, Smith owns a technology company, has served on the board of directors for multiple companies, and loves playing soccer, hiking, and mentoring.

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