Giving Thanks

I have been learning more and more about gratitude. I am wired to see problems and think about how to fix them. It takes discipline for me to see what’s good and right. This time of year is a time to stop, look around and give thanks.

I’m thankful for the reception to the launch of the new Stephen David Leonard brand! Many of you have shared kind and encouraging words with me and having your support means a great deal to me. I’m thankful for the opportunity to bravely engage life together—taking the risks necessary to fatherhood, leadership, and relationships. I’m grateful to provide product to inspire you in your journey—to live brave, risk and step into the life God created you to live.

I’m thankful for the noon crew at Gymnazo who inspire me to show up, work hard and live healthy through their presence and their own dedication to their health. In 2013, I knew I had to make a change in my lifestyle to get up from my desk and move. I needed a habit change—ideally one with accountability. In November 2013, a friend told me to check out Gymnazo and am proud to say I have been working out there 3-5 times per week for four years now! I feel better in my 40’s than I felt in my 20’s. Most important, I’m available to Lisa, to David with his physical demands, and to Matthias as he enters his teen years. I’m thankful to the coaches who encourage, correct and instruct us day in and day out to enjoy the God given gift of movement to its full.

I’m thankful for the conflicts, challenges and obstacles I have faced this year. They continue to teach me about myself—my blind spots, where I need to grow, where I am willing to give up instead of press on. One of my favorite books is Mindset by Carol Deck. Mindset talks about the difference between a fixed mindset (seeing intelligence, personality, talents as fixed traits) and a growth mindset (believing our abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work). This book taught me brains and talent are the starting point. A growth mindset creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities. Conflicts, challenges and obstacles provide me the crucible to learn, work hard and increase my resiliency. I’m grateful for the (difficult) lessons I’ve learned this year.

I’m thankful for my advisors, coaches, therapist, pastor, friends and mentors who have pointed me forward when I have felt lost and down this year. You have been willing to critique, challenge, and correct me when I need it. I have consumed gallons of coffee, made my ear shine bright red from hours on the phone and learned every frustrating feature of video conferencing as you have spent countless hours engaged in my life.

I am thankful for my boys, David and Matthias. Ever since he was in the NICU after his birth, I have delighted in seeing David’s eyes lock onto mine. I am thankful for his spark evident in his eyes and his smile. I’m grateful for his love of music we share—and when we rock out together! I am thankful for Matthias and his creativity and his willingness to work hard to grow and learn. He has had to find a new gear in school this year and I have watched him embrace a growth mindset, engage, and experience the joy of his labors. I’m grateful we not only share our love for Star Wars, superhero movies, Planet of the Apes and the ancient world, but he also loves to discuss and debate their deeper meanings now!

I am thankful for Lisa. The last couple of years have been the hardest and best of our relationship. Raising children—one with special needs, running a business together, marriage, all take their toll. Add to that the perfect intersection of our “stuff” as we approach two decades of marriage and you have a recipe for disaster. I am grateful we have separately and together chosen to do the hard work we need to do as individuals to become whole and healthy. (One day I will write about why “working on the marriage” is far from enough!) I am grateful we have sought help together for our marriage. Lisa is my business partner, my parenting partner, my confidant, my wife and my best friend. It could have gone otherwise. For her I am grateful.

I am grateful to the Lord for His grace, strength and power that sustains me. My faithfulness to Him lacks, but His faithfulness to me is everlasting. “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph 3:20)

What are you thankful for right now?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!