Every day the staff at See3 Communications each sends out a “Stand Up” email. It’s a message to the rest of our colleagues to outline three things we need to accomplish that day. This gives each of us a bit of insight into one another’s work and offers some interesting, unexpected points of connection. (And yes, we also use the opportunity to share the latest dopey GIF that’s made us crack up.)
But the other requirement for Stand Up emails is that we share at least one thing for which we are thankful. Sometimes it’s small, like “thankful for coffee” or “grateful my bus was on time.” Sometimes it’s a bit bigger, like when we’re thankful for co-workers’ new healthy babies, or important legislation that’s recently been passed.
The point is, we start the day with intention. We set out to accomplish great things, yes. But to do that we focus ourselves on thankfulness.
I admit, there are days when I write out my Stand Up email and have to sit for a moment and collect myself. What, really, am I thankful for?
Jewish tradition has its own Stand Up in the morning prayer of modeh ani. Immediately upon waking up, the rabbis ask us to announce that we’re thankful for, y’know, having woken up. Simple as that.
Something profound happens when you start the day with “thank you.” It’s easy to get up and be swept away by the impending stresses of the day – the unanswered emails, the upcoming family obligations, the barrage of little ordeals we conquer day in and day out. But to wake up with appreciation on your mind? To take that first waking breath, see that first light of dawn, and hold that moment to marvel at the wonder of it all? Whether you say the prayer or not, that’s a paradigm shift, a total reorientation that can help you carry yourself differently through the day.
Tal Dimenstein is a 12 year-old who woke up to thankfulness when she didn’t know whether her baby sister would ever wake up again.
Sometimes it takes the thought of losing the important things to make us appreciate the little things.
It might be even better, though, to add some thankfulness to your routine before it comes to that. Try out your own Stand Up, your own modeh ani, whatever it may be. Start your day with intention, and see how it goes.