Gratitude

Domitille Lemaire

I would like to start this blog with gratitude. Mine.

Launching this internet site has encouraged me to reflect about what it was I was really doing, teaching, coaching, consulting. It turns out to be somewhat of a melting pot that is closely linked with what I believe in. That organizations can transform themselves in order to value and breed leadership and become better positioned for sustainable bottom line growth, continuous improvement in teams dynamics, and individual well being for a greater number. That individuals can empower themselves to give meaning to their everyday job, gain leadership in promoting ideas to start crafting change for the better around them, and that it can be fun.

Fun is always a good indicator.  I will always remember an uncle I had a long discussion with on the train ride back from his son’s wedding. It was a beautiful wedding and Christophe was happy, and rightfully proud. Throughout the four-hour train ride, he felt the inspiration to tell me about his career. He was roughly 60, his face was beautifully expressive as he told me patiently some of the things he had learned along the way. That you need courage, sometimes physical courage. That you have to learn, always continue to learn just like you learn to make a relationship good, or a marriage work. That it required generosity. His eyes were shining, and he smiled emotionally as he spoke. Christophe irradiated youthfulness, wit and joy. It fascinated me, never had I heard someone talk about work, a job, even a career quite the way he did. When I asked him if he would do it all over again, he answered with tears in his eyes, yes, every bit of it, it had been so much fun. Christophe stayed in my thoughts from that point on. I kept thinking all careers should be that great. That uplifting. He had been successful by most criteria. His career had been financially rewarding and he had huge legacy as he had transformed his company, a once small bolt manufacturer into one of the world leaders on now several diversified markets. But it’s not just all he had done that made him so fascinating. It’s the joy and generosity of it all. He got it right. He had fun. Could we all have fun?

A couple of months later, as I was leaving my strategy consulting job and was stopping by to say good bye and thank those I had enjoyed working with, one of the partners who had recruited me 4 years earlier, looked at me very sincerely and said “It hasn’t been fun, has it?” It took me a while to connect. I wasn’t expecting him to see that deep into me. That it hadn’t. Interesting, challenging, and structuring yes. Fun, not really. I remember him telling me during our first interview that he felt very free in the firm, I could feel his enthusiasm, I had no doubt as to his truthfulness. As he sat there, more than four years later, asking me about the fun, I thought back at our discussion and realized that I had never felt free. And now it was time to leave because there was a high price to pay for staying on after the birth of rugrat number one, long hours, lots of politics, lots of personal sacrifice, but fun was not part of the equation.

Am I having fun now? Yes, absolutely. Undoubtedly. A lot of fun. I’m very much hoping to look like Christophe in a few years. Tearing up about all the fun I’ve had, all I’ve learnt, all the fantastic people I have met. So far it’s looking good. So gratitude is what I want to start this blog with. Research shows there is a strong correlation between gratitude and happiness. Those of us who learn to express gratitude are happier people. So these few lines are my daily routine to happiness. I want to thank all the people who have helped me make my way to this great place where the more interesting, challenging, and structuring it does gets, the more fun I have. It’s a great equation.

I want to start by thanking the very important people that actually made it happen. My clients. Making it possible for me to build my job, in Singapore, Casablanca or Lausanne, into this fun, rewarding, challenging and ever changing journey, trusting me year after year while offering me new challenges and common adventures. It has been fascinating to see change happen, to see organizations define their vision and put effort into successfully making it all happen, step by step. It has been my favorite part to see individuals, and a few women in particular, become stronger and own their success more fully. I have been constantly mesmerized with their achievements, sometimes sprouting when I least expected it. I will always be in admiration of their perseverance. in spite of the difficulties, the tiredness, the politics, the resistance to change, they have willed their success and it has happened. I have always been grateful that I could be there to witness greatness beyond anything I could personally achieve. It’s a privileged role and if I have contributed in any small way, it has been 200% worth the while. Everyday, you have taught me the rewards of hope, optimism, courage, drive, and generosity.

Looking much further back, I also want to thank to those who have kicked my bum and helped me transition out of the hot, sleek, glorious and overpaid world of banking and consulting to the somewhat different world of teaching and coaching. Connecting the dots, I have picked up a collection of random yet magical events they have triggered, that rank from adorable to world-class-creepy, but that have all been catalysts moving things in the same and right direction. A wonderful friend telling me what a horrible employee I must be, questioning everything, that I had no choice but to be my own boss. No kidding. My sister, her friends, their friends friends squatting my weekends lining up young graduates and professionals who needed help figuring out their next step and telling me that that’s what I was good at, waking up other people’s energy and helping them find the drive to act. She was right, I’m much better at it than I was at excel. A collegue commenting about an association she had started that sometimes it’s the small things in your life that end up becoming the most important ones. A give-back-weekend-gig has become a career. My mother rattling on about the fact I should have been a teacher, repeatedly ignoring my same old answer, What can I teach? I know nothing. Today I know that doesn’t matter. You don’t teach with what you know, you teach with what you believe in. And, my all time favorite cherry on the whipped cream, an ever-corporate HR manager, mother of 2, who answered my hesitations at hiring 24hour childcare, by We told you you could have a family, we didn’t say you could see them. I also want to thank those closest t me in the role they played at that time. My sweet life partner, who has now survived over 11 years of common existence but whose determination out powered mine and who has repeatedly tampered with any of my attempts at pursuing a linear career in any industry I was drawn to by throwing our life up in the air and uprooting us as many times. And I want to thank my daughter, whose little bumps and bruises have encouraged me let go of what was gone, and to support a little girl who has become a true example of strength and leadership. Though some of the then-sizzling-possibilities still feel unexplored, I’m not sure I would have so much fun.

I would also like to thank those who have helped me formulate my ideas and create this site. Thank you to my patient proofreaders who refused to indulge my English with the clemency usually granted to us native French speakers. Thank you to my idea givers who have shared their own coming out experiences, and those who have rocked the boat and opened new perspectives. Thank you to the critiques who kept right at it, I know there is still much to work on. Thank you to the wonderful clients who have chipped in feedback, they have been kind and it makes me so proud. And thank you to the supporters, you’ve gotten me here.

I also want to thank all the people that continue to inspire me everyday. My husband, for his support and great insights. My kids for their outstanding sense of humor, their free spiritedness and their endless questioning of any certainty I may try to offer. My father who probably doesn’t know how much of a feminist he really is. My fellow coaches with whom I can build new skills, share doubts or rejoice for success. The professors I have been lucky enough to collaborate with. The participants and students who have inspired me and pushed the thinking by their unquenched thirst for more answers and all the ideas they are constantly pitching in. And all my deliciously free-thinking and every-faithful friends who have given me miles of food for thought over the years. It can be a solitary career. It isn’t.

So I hope you will like the site. I hope you will find it explains my activities clearly. I hope you will be enticed for us to start new projects together.

But above all I hope it inspires you. As so many of you have inspired me. For which I thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

, ,