A Little Hope, And A Lot Of Gratitude
2020 has been an extremely challenging year for many. Businesses have been shuttered, jobs have been lost, family members and loved ones have fallen ill, or worse, passed away. In the midst of all of this darkness, it’s easy to feel weighed down and to feel hopeless. I know I’ve been there in the past. I know what it’s like to wake up feeling like you’re living a nightmare with nowhere to turn. I know the feeling of loneliness, mental breakdown, and heartache. I’m writing this message today to let you know that you’re not alone and that there is hope within us all if we know where to look.
What are you grateful for?
A few years ago, I would call my good buddy Howard on a semi-regular basis to complain about all the “crap” that I was having to deal with in running the business. Howard is always a very sympathetic listener. However, one day (I don’t know if he was just fed up with my complaining or if he had this being-yoda-moment) he asks in the middle of one of my fearful and hopeless rambles, “Ted, can you give me a list of things you’re grateful for?”.
I remember the question stopped me cold in my tracks. At first, my reaction was, “WTF? What am I grateful for? Are you crazy? Life is hell right now!”. But Howard, being the patient friend that he is, pressed gently and asked me to work out the exercise. Reluctantly, I agreed to the exercise. It was really hard to come up with the list at first. I struggled and fumbled. But after about 5 minutes of rattling off a list of things I’m grateful for, I actually forgot what I was so upset about.
I’ve heard many gurus like Dan Sullivan talk about gratitude in the past, and I typically brushed it off as “fru fru hippy nonsense”. But sometimes I guess as the saying goes, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. Over the years, I’ve developed a daily gratitude practice, and it’s really been a beacon of light in some of my most challenging times.
As 2019 ended, I found myself thanking all the people who supported me through an extremely tough 18 months. I actually counted, and I had thanked over 60 people. This year, as 2020 comes to a close, I wanted to share with you a list of what I’m grateful for.
I’m grateful for all our neighbours & friends in public health
I remember banging pots in the spring and summer. And while we live in the suburbs where neighbours are spaced apart, it made a difference for our daughter who got to understand that there are people risking their lives to keep us safe. I later found out that one of our neighbours Sarah, who lives at the end of the street and who works in health care, could actually hear the pots and pans, and told me how appreciative she was of the gesture. To those of you who have continued to work tirelessly so that we are safe, thank you.
I’m grateful for Dr. Bonnie Henry and our government officials
Yup – most definitely grateful for the professional, calm and cool personality that is Dr. Bonnie Henry. I’m so glad she’s here to help lead us through this. I’m so grateful to have her as a leader.
And I know, no one likes praising government officials. I don’t care what political stripes you hail from. I’m giving credit to where credit’s due. If it wasn’t for the coordinated work from all levels of government, we’d be in a world of hurt. From getting all the emergency money that helped so many of us stay afloat so quickly to having to make difficult choices to keep our hospitals from being overwhelmed, I think they’ve done a tremendous job. Were all the decisions perfect? No. But since most of us have never lived through a global pandemic before, I think they’ve done the best they can with the cards they’ve been dealt. So thank you to all of you who serve the public. A lot of you politicians I know have been working your butts off and I want to say it hasn’t gone unnoticed. I want to give a special shout-out to our MLA now Finance Minister Selina Robinson (congrats on the promo!), MP Ron McKinnon, and my buddy Coquitlam City Councillor Steve Kim.
I’m grateful for our entire Ballistic Arts team
This year has been a world of difference from last year. I mean our holiday zoom party ended past 11pm…! It started at 4:30p!
I’m so grateful for all the positive changes (which readers can check out here). We’ve been able to weather the storm so far, not having to let anyone go, and in fact, our Digital Marketing team is about to add yet another team member! I’m just so incredibly grateful to have this cast of creative and digital characters. It’s fantastic we are all so aligned (other than our internal dispute about the best way to make mashed potatoes. Mark my words – our first company event post-pandemic will be a mashed potato showdown!)
I’m grateful we have a plan for growth in the new year. I’m so excited to share it with you all when we get started! Thank you all for being on this ride with me!
I’m grateful to our business leaders
I’ve been blessed to be a part of a number of business associations: The Business Council of BC, The NEXT Leaders Council, Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce, HAVAN, and MAPLE. I remember being on a conference call with all these great, calm, and thoughtful business leaders at the BCBC Board when we were having weekly calls through the late winter. I remember how mindful the conversations were. They discussed the impact the lockdown would have on their employees and shared their insights on the macro efforts to the greater economy. I felt so privileged to even be on the same call with these titans of industry who collectively tried to solve the greatest challenge of our lifetime. Thank you to all you business leaders who cared so much about your companies, your employees and the betterment of BC’s future.
I’m grateful for so many things…
I’m grateful for our family’s physical, emotional and spiritual well being (and that we haven’t been sick since March 13th).
I’m grateful that Marisa and I are still madly in love after all these years. ❤️
I’m grateful our parents are healthy and happy, for their continued love and support, and to hear their voices and laughter.
I’m grateful for my mom’s soup.
I’m grateful I didn’t have to wade through traffic, have just filled my 4th tank of gas since March and have only paid for parking once!
I’m grateful that we had a little bubble with our friends Rich and Linda during the summer months so that I had a buddy to eat ridiculously good food with, and Charlotte had a little bestie to play with.
I’m grateful for having the space to turn our basement into a gym.
I’m grateful that I’ve had the time to train my daughter in Hapkido in said basement gym and to help her with her French and Math.
I’m grateful Marisa has found a love for sourdough baking, and for her new
crazy normal love of plants. 😂
I’m grateful Marisa has become a leader in Ballistic Arts to help me turn it around.
I’m grateful for my meditation and reflection practice.
I’m grateful for having friends to call upon to support one another.
I’m grateful for Zoom video conferencing and text groups with friends, families, and neighbours.
I’m grateful for the music of Michael Franti & Spearhead.
I’m grateful for online delivery.
I’m grateful for having a warm and loving home.
Also, as a plug to our little fundraiser, I’m grateful for the generosity of my friends and family who have donated to our Pie in TED’s Face Fundraiser for SHARE.
Lastly, I’m grateful for you
Those of you who have worked with me and Ballistic Arts through the almost two decades, I truly want to thank you. If it wasn’t for your support, there is no way we would have made it through all of this.
If business life has taught me one thing, it’s that the relationships I take time to nurture are the ones that see me through – time and time again. I’m so very happy we’ve been able to affect change in your business, and I hope that in our little way, we’ve helped you fulfill some of your dreams.
My wish for you
My wish for you is that you take this time to reflect upon what you’re grateful for in the year that was 2020. It’s not going to be easy I’m sure. This practice is like working a muscle we don’t exercise very often. But with a little practice, I’ve found that gratitude has kept me grounded through it all.
Well, that’s it for me. I wish you much love to you and yours.
Hit me back if you’d like and tell me what you’re grateful for. ❤️
Happy 2021! 🥳 🍾 🎉
Ted Lau, CEO
Above is my personal share and well-wishes to you. That said, I know how serious mental illness can be. If you or someone you know needs support, act now, and contact HealthLinkBC’s Mental Health Resource.