By Teri A. Coutu
Business & Marketing Consultant
About a month ago, I started keeping a gratitude journal. It’s nothing major – just a little journal I keep next to my bed, and every night I list three things I am grateful for. My rule is that I can never repeat an item, so I have found myself looking for things to be grateful for throughout the day so I have something new each night. (It’s been a great experience that I’ll write about another time.)
A few nights ago, my partner saw me writing my list and asked “What are you grateful for today?” “Today, I am grateful for productive business meetings, like-minded people, and feeling confident,” I said. “Like-minded people,” she asked, “Is that really a good thing?” I had to stop for a minute and think about it… “Yes it is” I replied, “but it’s not what you think.”
I had just spent the day in a great strategic planning meeting with eight other people where we discussed successes, challenges, opportunities, threats, and goals for the new year. Everyone was dedicated to doing something positive and making a difference in our community. People asked good questions which helped push us forward, and there was no negativity or animosity at all. During our meeting, we were a like-minded group of men and women with a common goal to work towards, having a discussion that was productive, professional, and harmonious.
I left the meeting energized and inspired, and truly grateful to be connected to each person in the group. But, here’s the cool thing – I know for a fact that some of those people have very different views on religion; that there was a mix of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents; a variety of cultural backgrounds; and varying views on several current hot topics such as police, LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter, and COVID precautions. But, those differences were put so far aside for the day, that an outsider would probably not have even realized they exist. In fact, I doubt any of us even thought much about our differences because we were so focused on our similarities.
There is no way we can be 100% like-minded with ANYONE – we are each unique individuals with varying views, experiences, and ideas. And, frankly, that’s what makes life so rich with different foods, music, books, art, businesses….. What we need to do to enrich our lives and that of others is to find those areas where we are like-minded and work together to create solutions that benefit humankind as a whole. We all want love. We all want good things for our family. We all want to be happy. We all want success – however we define it. And, we know that these things are more accessible and easier to accomplish if we do them together rather than trying to do them alone.
So, I challenge you to look around at the people in your personal and professional life and focus more on what you have in common, the areas where you are like-minded, and build something positive from there. Instead of letting our differences divide us, let’s allow our similarities to unite us.