This year, Gateway Bank President James Christensen is sharing occasional reflections about life, business, and what’s on his mind. Read on for the November edition of Mindful Mondays with James, as he shares his thoughts on gratitude. 

Mindful Monday is a bit like a Forrest Gump quote: “You never know what you’re gonna get.”

First, for those who don’t stop by my office very often, a fun fact is that I love 90’s-00’s hip hop. It just makes me happy, so if you see me swaying in my chair, there is likely Snoop Dogg or T-Pain playing on my phone. I have talked a lot about authenticity, and this is definitely part of my DNA.

As I was listening to my music this morning, I had an overwhelming feeling of gratefulness. We are close to Thanksgiving, but it is an incredible practice to be grateful all year long. It is difficult to be grateful when times are tough, but all the more reason to dig deep.

Here are some things I am grateful for:

  • An amazing wife who has tolerated me since 1984. Love her more every day!
  • Two wonderful daughters who are making a difference in the world. I’m also grateful for their choice in boyfriends. (Just don’t tell them.)
  • Our fantastic team at Gateway. This is my second family. We care for each other, cover gaps when needed, celebrate each other’s successes, and stand by each other when things go wrong. I LOVE our team and am grateful every day!
  • Coffee. I love coffee! As a Lutheran, I think I would be kicked out if I didn’t like coffee.
  • Diversity in every way. I’m grateful for the diversity in our team, friends, customers, and family. We all have a different story, and our diversity makes us stronger. My life is so much richer because of all the unique people I have had the pleasure of getting to know. I learn something from everyone I meet.
  • Freedom. It is easy to take for granted, but I appreciate freedom and the ability to question authority and speak my mind. With Veterans Day this month, I would like to thank all of our veterans who have made this possible.
  • Our amazing customers. Thank you so much for your support over the years. As we close in on our 15th anniversary next month, we hope you will come celebrate with us.  We have created something special at Gateway, and none of it is possible without you.
  • Trying new foods. As a Midwest transplant, I have not ventured too far out of my lane. A few of our customers have opened my eyes to new foods. For example, Hot Sauce & Pepper has an incredible menu of vegan foods that will blow your mind. Owners Tajia and AJ opened my eyes, so I have now tried Easy Oat Burgers which are excellent. Who knew! My grandfather was a learner his whole life and always explored new ideas. I see how it makes life so much richer.

I could go on, but this will give you an idea of where my thoughts are today. Take a moment to be grateful for three things today, and try this through the holidays to see if you can develop a new habit. I promise it will make you smile every day.