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Find Gratitude Within Hardship

Updated: Dec 22, 2023

In our line of work, we see and experience hard things.  When these overwhelm your day, swirl in your head at night, weigh on your heart… Practice gratitude.


I've heard this wisdom again and again throughout this year. (Sometimes from the most unexpected sources, like Jonah Hill's therapist in the movie Stutz who recommends a wonderful exercise called, The Grateful Flow.) Although it's easy to be grateful for the big things - my family, home and health -

It's not always easy to find small moments of gratitude within hardship.

As 2023 draws to a close, I want to share with you 

my three moments of gratitude amidst the hard stuff.


No one in my Learning Forward Conference session knew this, but minutes before I went on stage, I experienced a bit of a presenter's nightmare. 


I had been given the wrong room number, my laptop did not connect and the host who was supposed to introduce me, was not yet there. 


Amidst slight panic with less than 5 minutes before go-time and no powerpoint displaying, I looked out at the crowd. I breathed a moment of gratitude. 


Nearly 300 people came to hear me speak and they were there because the challenge of team trust is universal and we need to connect with one another to talk about it.


No sooner had I taken that moment, when a tech person showed up with the cord I needed; Peter, an educator I had just met, volunteered to give me the warmest of introductions, and the audience graciously welcomed what I had to share.



I have three 14 year-olds in the house.


My twins, Liam and Grace, and Oscar, my 2 year old dog - 14 in people years. Let's just say there's a lot of teen boundary-testing in the house. I’m grateful for all of them… and for snuggling up to my Great British Baking Show when everyone goes to sleep. ;-)



My newest book, Intentional Moves, almost did not get published.


About three-quarters of the way into writing this book, my husband of 20 years, got a serious cancer diagnosis. I was unsure if I had the capacity to finish writing while working and managing this family health crisis.


I remember having to facilitate a virtual team retreat the morning after learning his cancer had returned after only a few short months. Somehow I managed to compartmentalize my personal hardship and be fully present. But after I ended the call, emotion caught up with me and I felt like I could not continue to manage it all. Something had to come off the plate. I decided to drop writing the book.


But each time I had a ground-breaking coaching conversation, or supported a leader in navigating a difficult team meeting, or engaged with educators in a thought-provoking workshop, I was energized. I felt compelled to write. I knew this book was needed.


In August 2022 it was published and in 2023 became a bestseller.


And so, my moment of gratitude is for you -

the educators, past and present, who have partnered with me and

shaped who I am as a person, an educator and a writer.  


(And… I am so grateful that my husband is now in remission!)

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