Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Being Grateful

I talk a lot about running (and sometimes yoga).

I share my experiences; my strengths, challenges, rewards and weaknesses.

What I haven't talked much about is the emotional side of training. More specifically, being grateful.

I think it's easy in today's day and age to get wrapped up in the negativity that can circle in social media. This weekend I found myself being grateful in two small instances, but they are ones that rewarded me ten fold in the following days.

I found myself at the The Lab on Saturday morning with a friend. The class was taught by the studio's owner. She's a yoga master and completely amazing.

As I walked out of class Saturday morning, paused for a moment and recognized how grateful I was. There's a lot of things to be grateful for, of course, but with yoga on the mind, I focused on it. I'm grateful to have found The Lab and had such an amazing, challenging and rewarding experience there. In the moment, I made a note that I should email The Lab's owner and tell her what the studio means to me.

I jumped in my car and headed up north to run errands. I parked my car and walked to the different businesses on Southport. The wind was a bit crisp as clouds moved in. I could use a warm vanilla latte, I thought. As I finished my errands, I decided that I could reward myself with a Starbucks vanilla latte if I stayed out of Athleta (where I no doubt would purchase some awesome clothes x10 the cost of a latte).

I walked in to Starbucks and pulled out my phone. The Starbucks app is a handy and dangerous piece of technology. However, after this nasty, never-ending winter, I have fallen more in love with vanilla lattes and thus, the need to build rewards through my Starbucks purchases. I placed my order and planned to hand over my phone to the barista so she could redeem my free drink credit. It was then that I noticed my credit had expired. I flipped over to payment screen and handed the phone to the barista instead.

The barista asked why I hadn't used the credit, so I mentioned it had expired so I'd just pay for it. She paused and handed my phone back. She said she "wanted me to have a great day" and that my drink was on her. I was surprised by her action and fumbled for some small bills to tip her. I only had twenties. I asked her if she could break a twenty so I could thank her for her nice gesture. She said that wasn't necessary, but to please enjoy my drink and my day.

As I walked back to my car, I was grateful for the nice Starbuck's barista. I wondered, does Starbucks know how nice and engaging she is? I should tell them.

When I arrived home, I practiced a few yoga poses and took some progress photos. I found myself still thinking about The Lab and that morning's Starbuck's barista. So I decided to do what I often do - write a letter.

First I emailed the owner of The Lab. I thanked her and her husband for creating the company. I explained how my stress related aches and pains had all but gone away and I ran two marathons last year injury free. I tried to convey my love for the studio and how it's something that's impacted my life in the last year. Thinking back to where I was when I started, I really have come a long way. I shared a photo I took that afternoon of an arm balance pose and pressed send on the email.

Then I emailed Starbuck's to tell them about their awesome barista at the Southport store.

As I closed down my computer, I was happy I had taken the moment to share how I felt. The Lab and the barista at Starbucks are awesome and they should know it.

Later that day, I received an email back from the owner of The Lab. She thanked me for my kind email. She said it really meant a lot to her and all the instructors to read something so encouraging. She then asked if she could use the photo I sent her on their growing Instagram page.

The following Monday, I heard back from Starbucks. They were happy to hear of my experience and sent along a free drink credit as a thank you for my feedback.

Being grateful is a reward within itself. But being able to share your gratefulness allows your emotion to fulfill others. That's an even larger, greater reward.

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