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Count your blessings — at work and at home

The future of innovation will be largely connected to the gratitude we feel and express at work and at home.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

At this time a year ago, I had no idea how our family was going to pull through

For the second time within the span of a year, we had to admit my darling wife into a behavioral center. The gripping, gnawing pains of mental illness entangled her to the point of emotional suffocation. One cannot explain what it’s like to stare down the ugly beast of mental illness and realize you’re powerless against it — but it is real.

There, for weeks, she was safe. At home, for weeks, we felt hopelessly empty. The void her absence left consumed every physical and emotional square foot of our home.

Somehow (and God only knows how) I managed to show up for work. Somehow, our young boys didn’t fall apart without her motherly expertise and nurturing kindness. Somehow.

It’s a lot to endure. It’s a heavy, knock-you-to-the-ground load to carry. And I know, I know so many are silently fighting these wicked, relentless battles.

There’s so much to be grateful for and so little time to express it. Gratitude for coworkers who truly care. For managers who notice. For psychological safety within a team where you can tell them you’re not at 100% today (and for them to be 100% okay with it).

I’ve learned a few things about this world. First, about myself, that I love people, connections, and how I see teams being shaped to help their teammates fight through these extraordinary times together.

Second, it’s that much work has yet to be done to get this right in every workplace. I know there are countless workers who feel singled out in their quiet struggles. Managers and leaders who must build teams and cultures where employees feel safe to show up with this baggage and still do great work.

Because I promise you, the baggage — that ugly mental illness beast — doesn’t simply “shut off” when you clock in. It doesn’t wait at home, locked in some imaginary closet. It weasels its way into meetings, to critiques, to employee evaluations, to the day-to-day work.

I kiss the ground in my home office every day, filled with immense gratitude that I get to do the work I love in close proximity to the ones I love. We’re getting through this together, in large part through gratitude and recognition for what’s going right in our lives. Gratitude is the fuel, but there’s lots of work to do in the workplace to make sure we’re not running on empty.

I’m fairly certain the future of innovation will be largely connected to the gratitude we feel and express at work and at home.

Stay strong friends.

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Uncle Mikey helps amplify people and products through human-centered design. With 21+ years of experience in design, marketing, e-commerce, and UX, his passion is helping people & businesses apply their skills to the way they’re experienced by others. Connect with him on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, or follow his writing on Medium.

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