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To Be (Grateful) Or Not To Be (Grateful)

By Tim Saumier, President of TYGES International

Every year I ask myself this question – Am I grateful?  Growing up we were fortunate – not like you would think because I am the youngest of five children, raised by a single mom on welfare in Syracuse, NY.  Throughout my childhood, I probably lived in 20 different places, which included (public housing, hotels, our aunt’s house, and wherever we had to go to survive).  We had food stamps that kept us fed.  We lived on or around the public transit system (bus) and could catch a ride for $.15 (that’s right, fifteen cents), but honestly we walked most places to reserve our money.  In addition, my two oldest siblings were born deaf which further complicated our lives.  fortunateSo with all this, why would I consider myself fortunate?  Well, for the most part we had food, shelter and water which is more than most people have today in this world.  But what set us apart is that we had a mother who was a stubborn lady with a wonderful work ethic who taught us many life lessons over the course of our childhood.

Was I fortunate? Of course.  But don’t get me wrong, I absolutely hated being poor and knew that as I grew up I would do my best to change this.  I was the only one in my house to graduate from college (my sister went back later and got her paralegal degree) and I knew that I would never be the smartest person in the room, but I would not be outworked – period – no excuses.  This in a sense what has helped define my life thus far.  I spent about 15 years after college chasing the “American Dream” or better yet “Nightmare” before realizing that the more things I accumulated the more miserable I became.  There would never be enough; I would never make enough.  Most people would consider my story to be a success story when it’s measured by dollars but I finally realized that things/wealth would not make me grateful.

I need to remember to be grateful for the small things in life:

1)      Ability to wake up each morning

2)      A roof above my head and food in my stomach

3)      A great family who loves me unconditionally

4)      A career that I love because I get to help people daily

So when you are pining for something you don’t have or you’re idolizing items that others have remember that this does not bring joy and gratefulness.  Keep it simple in your life.  And during this time of year if you really want to experience joy, go out and serve and give of your time.  Take the focus off of you and put it on others and teach your kids to do the same.  Don’t just make a donation but give of your time, your smile, your hugs, and whatever else you have to give.  Make it sincere.  Buying someone in the coffee line a cup of coffee is nice, but its too easy and not as impactful.  Find the lonely neighbor and invite them to dinner, take your family and serve at a shelter, find a family that you know is struggling and take care of their Christmas for them.

12143Instead of buying those things that end up being given away in less than two years, think about those who need basic things like socks, food, shoes, coats, etc.  It will feel like a sacrifice initially and you’ll think that you’re the one doing the blessing, but the real blessing is for you. It’s something that has changed my life in a radical way. I read this somewhere recently so I can’t take credit for it: “We’re here to make Good Things happen for other people.”  Pretty interesting words to live by.

So ask yourself – are you truly grateful?  I am.  I may not always remember it but I work hard every day to be grateful.

I welcome your feedback as we continue to Reinvent Recruiting with Resolve.  You can find me on LinkedIn and at Twitter you can find me at @timsaumierTI.  Also, you can learn more about TYGES at, on Twitter @TYGESInt, or here on our blog. Our mission is simple:

We’re here to make good things happen to other people.


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