November is a month of gratitude. With Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, to me, this is truly the season to reflect and be thankful for all the great things we have in our lives. I find that coming from humble beginnings gave me a huge appreciation for everything good that happens to me. Truly, I never take anything for granted and have learned that by having that type of appreciation for everything around us is so important in life.
I also honor those who have sacrificed so much for our safety. Thanking others serves to give you perspective. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. It also makes us feel good about ourselves.
My childhood was spent in a working-class neighborhood where my family lived paycheck-to-paycheck. We never wanted for anything in terms of a roof over our heads or where our next meal would come from. We had clothes, but they were usually second-hand. I was the oldest of two, but was lucky enough to have older cousins and get all of their hand-me-downs. Looking back now, it’s funny how I was always so proud to get that brown shopping bag full of clothes for the year.
Growing up, we never complained about what we didn’t have. Instead, we were happy with everything we did have. My sister and I were never jealous of each other or anyone else. My father worked about 80 hours a week at the local grocery store. Every day, he wore a white short-sleeve dress shirt with a tie and dress pants. He relied on one pair of dress shoes. Once they got old enough, they became his yard shoes. With an eighth-grade education, my father rose to Store Manager — propelled into management by his work ethic and love of service to others. My mother was a homemaker and my grandmother lived with us since I was five years old.
We were the family that focused on being good neighbors, we shared what little we had while respecting and helping those around us. We learned to be thankful for everything we had and to work hard for everything we received. One thing my family taught me is work is not a right — but a privilege — and something I never take for granted. Bringing this mentality helped me to balance going to college to pursue two degrees while working full-time. I’m grateful for the struggle of that time because it taught me focus and discipline that I carry with me in my life every day.
After my undergraduate years, I went to graduate school and kept my full-time position as a manager and never once contemplated the notion of giving up. I was never envious of the students who could just focus on school. Truthfully, I thought being a manager while going to school full-time actually gave me an advantage: I was able to apply my education to the reality of the business world.
I carry this same thought process to drive myself and my fellow Pirates here. At iFrog Marketing Solutions, we don’t have unlimited resources or unlimited working capital. We need to build our business and earn our success each day. We take absolutely nothing for granted and appreciate each thing we receive. Any opportunity we get is earned by our Pirates. We cherish each of our clients and relish the opportunity to serve them and help them crush their business objectives.
Over the years, I have witnessed many companies where their work ethic is lacking, and they are not willing to do the little things that are so crucial when driving business outcomes. For me, growing up modestly gives you humility: you never think you’re better than the task at hand. Each task is a gift, and at iFrog, that’s how we look at those opportunities.
Honestly, I am incredibly thankful for my blue-collar upbringing and my work ethic instilled at an early age. I am thankful for my teachers in the classroom and in the workplace. I am thankful to all of those I have learned from in every position I’ve ever had. I am especially thankful that I joined iFrog and they have chosen me to be their leader in building the company. And I am deeply grateful and honored to be a part of a team of folks who are diverse, smart, driven, and work tirelessly to serve our clients’ needs beyond expectations.
So, this Thanksgiving, I hope you remember: it doesn’t matter where you’ve come from and what obstacles you’ve had to overcome. You are here. You matter. You make the world a better place. That matters.
Have a great day and have a Happy Thanksgiving!