What I’m grateful for: My Band of Jays 

Up here the winters are long, cold and snowy…. in fact, we just got another 10 inches of snow last night. I put out food for the birds pretty regularly. A variety show up from time to time – little chickadees, sometimes a grouse or two. Every now and then a very pretty Clark’s Nutcracker visits.

But daily, without fail, a small tribe of Steller’s Jays shows up. There are six of them, and they are like a gang of miscreants. They scold the cat, jump around on all the branches, scream like hawks, chatter at the squirrels, and glide and perch and sail around like a bunch of monkeys. When their food runs out, they yell at me from the tall pine trees until I get around to refilling the feeders. Sometimes they get really cheeky and steal the cat’s food from his bowl, right in front of him. He glares at them balefully. You can see resentment oozing from his whiskers – how dare they disrespect him so!

Every day, I find gratitude as I watch their antics, and this morning I realized that being aware of gratitude has a peculiar effect over time. You know the way that in general, we humans long for some “thing” (a new car, an Instapot, those fabulous boots) – then once we have gotten the thing, the pleasure that we felt about it begins to fade and diminish (sometimes nearly instantly!) Then we start looking for the next shiny thing that will give us that rush of pleasure.

Somehow this practice of gratitude has flipped that on its head! I am more grateful for those silly jays, each day that goes by. It seems impossible but it’s true – I really relish and cherish seeing them more and more every day. And it’s not just the jays. It’s really everything. There is so much joy in being aware of what there is to be grateful for!

If you haven’t started trying a practice of daily gratitude, I urge you to give it a try.

What I’m reading: Harvard Business Review’s On Leadership. It’s a collection of ten articles on how to become an exceptional leader. The HBR’s Must Reads series seems like a great choice if you are limited on time. Each article is hand-picked and the collection is well-rounded and solid. I particularly enjoyed the article, “Seven Transformations of Leadership” by David Rooke and William R. Torbert. This article delves into the stages of leadership, beginning with the Opportunist (5% of the population of leaders, since they don’t stay in leadership very long before getting kicked out) and moving along to other stages of leadership, including the Expert (38%) , the Achiever (30%), and ultimately ending with the Strategist (4% of the leadership population) and the Alchemist (around 1%) . What I found fascinating in this article was how to identify where you are currently at in your leadership “type” and how to intentionally work on self-development to advance to the next stage. Really powerful stuff here. If anyone out there is interested in this kind of conversation, I would love to dialogue with you about it!

Tip from Nick: Schedule time for your family and personal self intentionally, on a weekly basis. This will recharge you and bring balance to your life, ultimately propelling you to further crush your business and financial goals.

(Baby girl update) we are home and she is settling into the world. Happy and healthy. Time for more Lariat coffee…. Yawn

Quick web tip: Look for who’s linking to you, and make sure they have the links right! https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/55281?hl=en If you need help getting Google Webmasters set up give us a call!

Random thing I’m mulling over: Did you know? A group of jays has many collective nouns, including a “band”, “cast”, “party”, and “scold” of jays.