At the risk of overloading the web-based universe with positivity today, I’m feeling #gratitude.

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

Gratitude for the roof over my head, the food in my cupboards and all the trappings of a modern, Western European life.

Gratitude for those who toil and labour in utilities, healthcare, emergency services, agriculture, science, retail, hospitality, manufacturing, media, professional services, and of course my professional clan HR, OD & Learning.

Gratitude for those I respect, regard and revere in the circle of comrades, connections and collaborators who wish and work for similar outcomes to my aspirations and desires.

Gratitude for the team of people I can call my work family. #TeamPTHR has become a place of love, learning and leaning in to work we believe in, is important to us and the world.

Gratitude for the family around me close and distant.

Gratitude for Mrs T <Teresa> and her continued struggles in life with the debilitating condition that is Multiple Sclerosis.

Gratitude for my Dad and his continued struggle without his love and my Mum, Rita.

It’s exactly 1-year today that she left us in mortal form. A morning where I woke up like all others, ready to face the day. Just weeks into lockdown 1 in the UK, days into facing the challenging collapse of work planned and revenue depletion. Months into the expanded #TeamPTHR and more uncertainty than I’d ever faced in my life.

And then my Mum’s battles in her life came to an end around 7 pm on the 23rd April 2020. Her heart, always big, open and tuned to others, finally gave up on her.

I’d experienced loss before. Nan, Uncles, Aunts, close friends. I’d prepared myself for her eventual passing after years of failing health. Even on the drive over to be at my Dad’s side, I knew what was coming and steeled my resolve to deal with it and instinctively knowing to be strong for him.

Yet, I have nothing but gratitude to show. For the person who brings you into the world, nurtures you, does everything for you. The selfless act of parenting is something I’ve never experienced through choice. Yet is perhaps the most outstanding example of where gratitude should prevail.

People wonder why I dedicate myself to this thing called work. This thing that has corrupted, damaged and even oppressed the human spirit for centuries.

It’s because I have gratitude in my soul for the chances I have had to discover who I am.

My work — firstly in the UK Civil Service, then in the non-profit arena in grant-giving, and latterly as an independent portfolio practitioner — has helped me learn, appreciate, develop, grow, diversify and mature.

Without the kind of work I was engaged in, I wouldn’t be who I am and I’m pretty OK with who I’ve become. People, practices, professional disciplines, insight, understanding.

Of course, I’m grateful to people.

  • The interview panel who gave me my first chance in a professional arena. I can barely recall them, but I owe them.
  • My first line manager. Mike Parker. Who helped me settle in, be productive, learn the ropes.
  • My first mentor. Mike Littlewood. Also, my Chief Clerk/Court Manager, who saw something in me and helped me grow and lead.
  • My first project manager. Judi McKay who helped me learn and practice in an all-new game of work I came to love.
  • My first coach. John Daniel. Who taught me all he could about the art of training others.
  • My first endorser. Alan Ronald. Who spotted my ability to straddle tech and business process. He invested in me with faith and belief.
  • My first enabler. Ken Fraser. Who got out of the way and let me lead ventures, offices and projects.
  • My first big inspirer. Sir Ian Magee KCB. Opening up my world view on what a people-centred, high-performing business really was.
  • My next mentor. Richard Green. Who helped me step into community leading, speaking and business modelling.
  • My breakthrough mentor. Helen Dudley CBE. Who gave me the chance in HR. A profession I’ve come to love.
  • My culture mentor. Rob Neil OBE. Who reminded me why I value difference in people so much.
  • My final manager. Dianne Hughes. Who backed me to the very end of my corporate days.
  • My continued big inspirer. Siobhan Sheridan CBE

And so many others in between in varying ways.

I’m grateful to so many people. I feel like I have a hall of fame in my mind for all the people whose lives intersected with mine and who made a difference to me. Some probably didn’t even notice it. Some were just doing their job.

I’m not sure I’m as good as I can be in expressing my gratitude to people as much as I believe they’re deserved of it. I don’t want to overdo it or make it feel tokenistic, but there appears to be nothing more enriching to the soul than someone else saying to you with pure intent and clear conviction.

I am grateful for you.

Not to, that’s nice but is “act” dependent perhaps.

Being grateful FOR someone is a real act of love. All that they are. All that they stand for. All that they mean to you. Flaws and all.

There’s a grace in gratitude that seems to endorse their 3 letters starting similarity. I see it in those who express gratitude sincerely.

Graceful ways are in short supply as we rush, blurt and blunder our way through the world.

Gratitude is perhaps a big step towards more grace. More sincerity and more true virtue.

Brene says it best though, so I’ll leave you with that, and my gratitude for reading this and anything else I choose to emit to the world.


CEO PTHR |2x TEDx speaker | Author: Transformational HR + The Energized Workplace | HR Most Influential Thinker 2017-2019 | Soulboy + Northampton Town fan