By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service
With the Thanksgiving holiday this week, I’ve been spending extra time reflecting on all that I am grateful for. In a year as challenging as 2020, the practice of gratitude has become even more important to me. It’s far too easy to succumb to the tough moments and dark days – putting effort into focusing on the things I’m thankful for helps me to be resilient in the trying times. So, without further ado, I am sharing with you a list of seven things I’m incredibly thankful for this year.
#1: Greater Perspective
I try hard not to take things for granted, but I think inevitably we all do to some degree. This year has given me greater perspective and a more profound appreciation for so much – for example, travel. I haven’t stepped foot in an airport since February and while many people who travel for work may be thankful to have that halted, I miss it in many ways. Meeting a friend for coffee or a beer, without second thought. Being able to take my kids to the Children’s Museum or local amusement park. Concerts. Hell, going grocery shopping without a mask. But while it can be challenging not to become frustrated or angry or sad about what’s been taken from us (which I do, sometimes), I am thankful for the perspective of looking back on so many moments with such joy and knowing that, when they happen again, I will appreciate them more than I ever have before.
#2: Deeper Connections
I love getting to know people and one of the things I’m thankful for this year is how people have been willing to engage on a deeper level. With such a major shared experience as we’re all having this year, it’s been interesting to observe how the “small talk” that often got rushed or dismissed before seems to have taken center stage in many conversations. It’s like we all want to know each other better – on a more human level – and I am loving it. I am so incredibly thankful for all of the interesting, enlightening, amazing conversations that I’ve had with service leaders this year – discussing how they’re leading through such crazy times, but more so just getting to know them for who they are.
#3: Being of Service
With in-person industry events on hold and challenges abound this year, I’ve felt that a platform like Future of Field Service is even more valuable than before in terms of keeping people connected and creating as sense of community. I’ve tried in my conversations to be a force of positivity for those I’m speaking with – whether it is offering useful information, or just lending an ear when it is most needed. I’ve tried to help folks in my network whose careers were impacted by COVID. I’ve brainstormed and worked hard to try to think of more impactful ways to serve this community, now, when we need it most. I am grateful to be of service in any way I can, small or large. And I’m grateful to IFS for the opportunity to do so through Future of Field Service.
Shout out to today’s technologies for making this all possible, am I right? This is an area that, again, we can take for granted – but when you think about how COVID would have impacted us even more deeply without all of the tools we have access to today, you realize just how big of a deal it is. From fueling the ability to stay connected to friends and family that I can’t see in person right now to ensuring I haven’t missed a beat in my career, the virtual world we have created is quite impressive. Don’t get me wrong – I will jump at the first chance to have a conversation in-person over coffee versus on Zoom, but I am incredibly thankful to have the option.
#5: My Family
Can I tell you how absolutely insane it is to work from home with four and five-year-old boys? There are no words (and those of you that know, know). Yes, I have help – but there’s no replacement for mama. As crazy as it has been, and as close as I’ve been to losing my mind, it has also been sweet. I realize that all too soon, these boys will be off to school and no longer my “babies” and so I’m grateful for every extra lunch break I can squeeze in with them. In a year of isolation, it is really comforting to realize how much happiness and joy exists inside your own little bubble (plenty of screaming, fighting, whining and crying too – but, hey, this is a list of gratitude!).
#6: My (and my family’s) Health
My five-year-old son has Type 1 Diabetes which has given us some practice coping with scary health situations – but also put me extra on-edge when COVID began wondering how much more at risk he is due to his condition. I had COVID in October and overall, my symptoms were mild and thankfully my husband and sons were spared. While I do worry about the indications of potential long-term impacts, I’m very thankful that thus far my experience has been manageable. I feel immense gratitude to the healthcare workers on the front lines caring for those in dire need.
I’m a skeptic with a healthy dose of anxiety mixed in, so hope doesn’t always naturally rise to the forefront of my mind. For me it is more of a muscle that needs strengthened and flexed and I’ve found this year has given me ample opportunity to do just that. On the days I feel most disheartened, I dig deep to find hope. It can be in the form of a prayer, a few deep breaths, looking around for examples of how people are coming together despite being apart, or the commitment to exert more mental energy on the positive “what-ifs” than the negative ones. I’ve learned I often find what I’m looking for, so I try to look for hope.
Thank you all for reading – I am grateful for each and every one of you as well. What are you most thankful for this year? I’d love to hear.