Motivation and Gratitude

Thank GOD for It!

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the What Kind of World do YOU Want Series

When life gets tough and we struggle ON


None of us has it easy.

There are far too many days when the weather turns nasty — when life dumps its challenges from some dark cloud up-above just as we pass underneath — and we suddenly find ourselves up to our necks in complications we never saw coming.

ALL of us.

Then what? Do we give in and give up because it seems too difficult to do much of anything else?

Can we imagine soldiering on — even if we have no idea HOW we will continue to put one foot in front of the other day after day?

At times like that we have choices to make. Because life is a CHOICE — and choices can be positive or negative.  They can encourage or dis-courage our efforts to keep on keeping on.

Can we find a reason to believe that there is indeed some light at the end of our tunnels without seeing so much as a glimmer of evidence?

What choice can we make that will keep us soldiering on through blackness?

  • And sometimes it looks like we HAVE no choice — and that no one understands or cares.
  • Too many times, in each of our lives, we search desperately for a much needed gust of wind beneath our wings, straining for awareness of movement at all in air that seems stale and stagnant.

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Comparisons and Contrasts

When we are very, very lucky – even though it is rare to hold that thought in times of struggle – elements of hardship are interwoven with times of success. Efforts to continue moving forward are rewarded, and life looks bright once more.  YES!

  • When we’re very, very lucky we might be tempted to believe that life always provides evidence that perseverance is rewarded. We build a store of memories to fund forward progress when subsequent hardships come into our lives.
  • Only SOME of of the very, very lucky remain aware of the reality that life is not that way for ALL – that they themselves are, in fact, among the group of very, very lucky ones.
  • The rest join the ranks of the unconscious. They come to believe that those with lives not quite so fortunate have brought struggle upon themselves somehow – through insufficient resolve, inadequate action, or a failure to believe that their efforts will be met with success.

Anonymous_Cards_Aces_carteThe unconscious fail to understand that one can only bid the hand s/he is dealt, and that some hands are simply better than others.

One can only do so much in the play of the game — even when one’s game is among the best in the room.

  • If our hand consists of smaller cards, and none of them are trump, everyone else must do poorly for us to win.
  • Unless, of course, we’re paired with a partner whose hand completes our own, and we are content to sit the game out.  In Bridge, that’s the hand they call the dummy.

The unconscious have no experience with a run of crappy cards.  Nor can they personally relate to unremitting spates of strife.

With atrophied empathy skills, they fail to realize that, as difficult as it is for those with lucky lives to keep the faith at times of struggle, when hardships come one-after-another-after-another life becomes FAR more difficult.

Down4CountRefThe unconscious lucky never seem to understand the domino effect — when several things in a row go wrong they take far too many other things down with them.  At some point, life begins to look impossible.

Prizefighters can take only so many blows in a row
and remain upright.

It is simply cruel to compare the prowess of the ones that hit the mat to one’s own without counting the blows they sustained before they crumbled — and each deserves the kindness of a hand extended to help them to their feet once more, regardless.

  • Lucky people can be cruel.  Perhaps they mean well, intending to motivate.  Were their cruelty pointed out, they would no doubt double down in defense of their intentions.
  • Lucky people find it hard to understand that the words “tough” and “love” rarely make sense yoked together.

Pushing through cruelty

When life itself seems cruel and the people we look to for help and encouragement have been lucky, we must close our ears to their words, reaching deep within ourselves to find the resolve it will take to stand again – blow after blow after blow.

Must we give up?  Is the game of life just too hard?  Can we imagine continuing to play — even if we have no idea HOW we will continue? Can we find a reason to believe that there is indeed a light at the end of our tunnels without seeing so much as a glimmer of evidence?

Is there a choice we can make to keep us soldiering on through blackness?

  • Some people do choose to give up, of course.
  • Some reach out for help and support and find a hand that reaches back, just enough help that faith is renewed so they can pick themselves up to begin anew.
  • Others continue to fight the good fight, practically alone, in circumstances few of the rest of us could survive.

And some do MORE

I can’t imagine the bleakness of a world without Philanthropists – those angels on earth who are inspired to give of their good fortune – largesse of the highest order.

Their existence alone shames the offspring of Midas who keep score with money — those who lock up their larders of gold to keep them secure during forays to acquire still more.

Because the gifts of the Philanthropists are large and dramatic, uplifting our world in large and dramatic ways, the world responds with public acclamation.  The applause for their efforts surely rattles the gates of heaven – as well it should.

Yet those are not the supporters of whom I speak today.

It is long past time for public acknowledgement for those who give, in more than a million public and private venues, despite meager stores themselves.


I am so grateful for your efforts.  Each of YOU uplift our world as well, perhaps all the more, since you labor away in relative obscurity.

NOW I want you to put my thank you under a magnifying glass – so it can look so large you can imagine that it had been expressed by so many more of the individuals whose lives are better because of what you, personally, dedicated time from your own busy lives to do.

Yet even those are not the supporters of whom I speak today. 

I want to bring this day’s attention to those who spend their LIVES supporting the lives of others – beyond the relative few who are sainted for their efforts – lauded by the press, finally acknowledged by ceremonies in their honor and awards created in their names.


I want to acknowledge those who continue to give when it’s their turn to GET – those who don’t give up when life seems unlivable, who continue to get up every time they are knocked to the mat, who reach out to find no hand reaching back for them — and transform moments of lack of personal success into support for the successes of others.

THAT is no less a miracle than the turning of lead into gold or water into wine.

It’s high time the world became aware of how we manage to do it – so that many more might join us in the endeavors of alchemy when they, too, have reached points where they have no idea HOW they will continue and are tempted to give up.

EncourageListen UP

Those of us who have dedicated our LIVES to making a difference in the lives of others do so because we have a unique response to our personal experiences of just how difficult life can be –
we encourage.

When we can find no wind to sustain our own forward trajectories, we do our best to provide wind for the wings of others.  We make that CHOICE.

Unfairly, sometimes life itself responds with the inconceivable expectation that we will always be available as human wind-machines, with nary a thought that we ourselves might need some of what we always give to others.

Nonetheless, we keep on keeping on, most days without getting back even a little of what we so freely give to others

My fellow supporters and I continue to encourage — despite lack of acknowledgement, without ever hearing what many of the individuals go on to DO once we’ve helped them back to their feet, and despite the reality that it is rare to observe that there is any awareness at all of the part WE played in the successes that follow in their lives  – day after day after day . . .

. . . far too frequently without so much as a simple “Thank you”
. . .
and sometimes in the face of feedback that we aren’t giving enough
. . . or in the ways that would work BETTER for the ones to whom we give for free.

We rarely call them out for their unenlightened self-interest.

FancyLegacyIt would be far too easy to dismiss those times when we would like to call them out as yet another encounter with the takers – although perhaps too many of them do feel entitled to continue to receive from life’s energy without participating in energy’s flow by passing it on without price tag attached.

We can’t afford to think thoughts like that – at least not very often.  We’d drown.

We make a more positive CHOICE.

  • We CHOOSE to believe that our efforts make a difference in the world.
  • We CHOOSE to believe that others feel the gratitude they don’t express to us.
  • We CHOOSE to believe they are passing it on, and that the world is slowly becoming a better place because WE have been able to do what we do – whether or not we will be alive to see the blossoms or taste the fruit from the seeds that we have scattered.

Supporting the supporters

I hope that my name will be written in God’s ledger book under “Angel Support” – my actions have certainly put me in contention for that honor.  And I’ve certainly received precious little in return, compared to the great deal that, to borrow Oprah’s favorite phrase, I know for sure that I have given in support of this world we share.

But I could NEVER have done it completely ALONE. 

The times that I simply could not have carried on one more step with ONE more knock, there has always been someone to pour water into my empty pitcher, so that I could continue to make the CHOICE to offer precious drops to those thirstier than I.

Despite the fact that many of them are struggling themselves, they set their lives aside to gift some time to me – making the CHOICE to offer a few precious drops from their own nearly empty pitchers.  Because that’s simply what they DO.

To express my gratitude, I want to end this article with portions of a longer comment – a feast prepared especially for me on Thanksgiving Day – because I know many of you rarely visit the sites I link, and fewer still take the time to read the comments there.

And I want everyone to read it.

In gratitude – honoring a Day of Gratitude

A TBI advocate and colleague extended his hand to me with the following response to my own most recent cry for help. He blogs under the name BrokenBrilliant on the blog of the same name, through which he supports others who are struggling with Traumatic Brain Injuries.

It is part of a comment conversation inspired by his recent article,
When in doubt, why give a sh*t?

Click the title of his article to read the full response — AFTER you’ve read the article itself – another of the well-written, always heart-felt and emotionally vulnerable articles you will find there — in addition to a great deal of information and explanation designed to help.

You will also find the cry for help that inspired his response to me and a loose agreement to join together in a gratitude project you may be interesting in taking on yourselves.

THANKS BB for being the wind beneath MY wings on Thanksgiving 2013  – not much else went right.
You made the TOP of my
Turkey Day gratitude list  ~ mgh

Broken Brain – Brilliant Mind

Using the infinite mind to overcome the limits of the brain … Experience-Based Brain Injury (Concussion, TBI, ABI, Stroke)
Survival Strategies and Tactics

I can really relate to a lot that you’ve written. You should know that you have a way of popping up to comment or contribute something, just when my resolve and determination is running at a low ebb, and I’m thinking this awareness stuff isn’t worth much of anything in the grand scheme of things.

But when I look back at the comments people have left here, and I search for “thank you” in my comments, 150 comments come back, and I think about the people who have said what a difference it makes to hear others say out loud what they have been experiencing… and I change my mind about whether or not this is worth it.

It is totally worth it. And for different reasons than I think we suspect.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought, lately, to people who go the extra mile to do for others. They carve time out of their schedules, they sacrifice social activities and fun, and they seriously inconvenience themselves, so they can be of service to others. It’s a calling.

They (or more accurately, WE) can no sooner escape it, than we can escape our eye color or the shape of our bones. We put ourselves out there and do what needs to be done, because it’s part of something bigger than ourselves — be it official service, or a sense of duty, or just this inescapable need to do *something* to help.

And we can lose ourselves in that Work.

The thing is, I really believe that when we lose ourselves, we are truly found. And in the doing of the difficult — without glitz and fanfare — we enlarge our souls far more than they ever would have been, had we stayed comfortably ensconced in our party life, our fun times, our inexplicable resignation to just living day to day because we could never see another way to live.

We’re a bit like Adam and Eve standing outside the Garden gates, exposed and vulnerable and blinking in the bright sunlight, cut off from paradise… wondering if the knowledge we have gathered was really worth it, thinking that the apple didn’t taste all *that* good, but we did partake, so there you have it.

As for those snake oil salesmen who peddle their made-up knowledge for large sums of money… God, how I resent them. And not only because they’re benefiting unjustly, but also because of all the people they lead astray. It makes me nuts. Livid, actually (so I can’t think about it that much).

Maybe they believe in what they’re doing, maybe not. In any case, they are a fact of life in the helping “line of business”, so the best we can do is just keep steady and hold the line. I do have hopes of one day discovering a philanthropist or organization which will financially support independent researchers and bloggers like us, who help others as a way of life.

But I’m not holding my breath. Maybe we can find another way… I just don’t know. It seems like all the money is on a select few…

– – – snip – – –

But back to the Work. What you do does matter. What I do does matter. It’s funny, isn’t it, how we look back so many years down the line, and we realize it would have been nice if we’d gotten at least some compensation for our work.

When we’re young, the idea of making a change can seem like enough of an emotional paycheck. But we don’t stay young forever, and our needs and expectations change.

I am personally very thankful for your work, and I am sure that it has benefited many people who otherwise have no access to good information or a model for dealing with their lives. I’m hopeful that eventually someone will realize what a service individual bloggers provide, and will organize a way to support them and their work.

It’s a hope, anyway.

But enough of my talk – – snip – – Hang in there and don’t let the season get you down. All the bright colors and hustle and bustle and commercialism plays havoc with my sensory issues, so I have to lay low and block it out.

Here’s to a good end to the year, and an even better start to the next!

Happy Thanksgiving and all the best.

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About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

12 Responses to Motivation and Gratitude

  1. Pingback: December 2017 Mental Health Awareness | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  2. philippinewanderer says:

    I can relate to your opening picture, let me explain…I was in the Philippines at the time (2000) and the locals could see there was something wrong with me by the crippled way I walked. Many asked and many more assumed it was due to a stroke.

    “We have a remedy for you…if you will allow us to bury you in the sand up to your face?”

    Well I knew most of the Pilipinos and the ones I did not know were friends of my friends; so I acquiesced to be buried after they guaranteed they would not leave me alone to fry in the hot, hot sun.

    So there I was on the shore of the South China Sea in Bauang, La Union buried in the sand – unable to move any part of me except the eyeballs. I felt the weight of the sand and it comforted me, though soon enough, even though I was cool below the neck, my head was burning up and I asked one of them to wipe my brow and to block the sun.

    Then I began worrying. What if a dog came and hiked his leg on me? Or what if a cat scratched at my roving eyes? I became obsessed with those worries and demanded to be dug out of the sand. The party of Pilipinos were laughing and joking around, not laughing at me – at least I don’t think so. You know, I tried everything not to move the way I did. I made the 18 hour flight to be engulfed by sand on a distant shore I knew nothing about.

    The kaibigans (friends) released me from the confines of the hefty sand and for brief moments, I walked better and felt renewed and smooth once again, however; the feeling was gone before I left the beach.

    Those brief moments made me feel so wonderful, even though that feeling of triumph was short-lived. I continued to try and walk that way, effortlessly, but I realized that it was only because of being loosed from the heavy confine.

    Have a good day.


    • Perhaps the ease with walking was a result of the contrast between your confinement & your release – perhaps it was the heat, or the *weight* of the sand, or it was a result of total immobilization itself. Who KNOWS? (but don’t you wish that somebody would study it?)

      I loved hearing about your experience, in any case – because there are posts around the internet that refer to the practice (a full moon or solar eclipse or some act of nature was mentioned often as well). They will forever “live” differently in my memory now, thanks to you.

      But darlin’ you put me to shame if you’re keeping those floors spotless AND struggling with ease of ambulation!!!

      If you ever decide to “advertise” on one of those “find your soul-mate” sites, I have the “ad” heading that NOBODY could resist (I could not, anyway): Single Dad Does Floors and Windows 😀 lololol

      Always GREAT to hear from you Steve.


  3. Jeanie Smith says:

    Madelyn, another engaging article! You always provide so much to think about in your comments. It is good to be encouraged to remember that we have a CHOICE in how we think and act.

    I am reminded by these articles of the poem on the wall of the Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta, called “Do it Anyway,” and Martina McBride’s song by the same name. You are a very special friend who lives this poem out so beautifully.

    Check out an earlier article for my take on Jeanie’s comment immediately above [==>link] When the Going Gets TOUGH ~ mgh
    We are among the many who owe you so much and appreciate you very deeply. We are better people and have a better relationship and more fulfilling life because of your investment in us! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Wayne and Jeanie


    • How brave and wonderful of you to take the time to leave this comment, Jeanie – and for expressing your gratitude for the small part I played in your process in words that will live forever on the internet (in addition to the times you said them “live” during or after one of our sessions. As I have said to you more than once, there were many times when I’m sure I got more out of working with the two of you than you would ever get from me.

      As I tell my coaches working on Practice-building and Practice Management, there ARE no accidents – our clients find their way to us because WE need to grow in the areas in which they are working — working with them is our workshop too. Interdevelopmental.

      Thank you for pointing me back to the poem (link inserted in your comment to me) — in total, those were EXACTLY the words I needed to hear at this very moment, summed up by my comment in that post.

      . . . [her] thoughts themselves changed pathways in her brain, reframing how she heard them:
      I am not alone. EVERYBODY feels like this sometimes.

      And when we do, we must stand on our resolve until our emotions fall in line with our hearts and our Spirits.

      I am grateful to have gotten to know you in ways that perhaps few others will ever see, up-close and personal demonstrations that I got to witness in every interaction — two people who honored their marriage vows and each other (even when, I’m guessing, one or the other of you felt more like running away or casting blame – or worse ::grin:: ) – CHOOSING to take your actions from your STAND for each other and your marriage, rather than your emotions.

      You are one of the most generous and loving Spirits I have *ever* encountered, Jeanie – and one of the best at [link==>] listening from belief. Your native “coaching” ability surpassed – and surpasses – the abilities of many coaches with years of training.

      Wayne is one of the best examples of commitment despite personal struggle, to tasks that might be done easily (and much more quickly) by someone with a neurotypical brain but have been put on his plate, so he continues to get back on the horse and ride in service to a greater objective. Day after day. And somehow he retains his wry sense of humor that always made both of us laugh.

      I wish everyone could have been in my seat for your particular “show” to witness how true it is that we live the intimate relationships we EARN — and that both partners must be willing to do the work if they expect to forge a lasting and loving bond that can hold fast through whatever life decides to throw their way.

      Although it would violate every confidentiality statute in the coaching field, part of me wishes I had taped every single conversation between the three of us (not to worry – not even one ::smile::) – so that I could turn them into a relationship seminar with “live” demonstrations of LOVE in ACTION – help for couples desperate for more love and closeness in their relationship with each other.

      God knew what He was doing when he “assigned” the two of you to what you are doing with your lives.

      You are two of my favorite people and I miss you both – and the next time I am awake in the daylight, expect a call. If you face a night you can’t sleep, give me a ring.

      MUCH love to you both,


  4. philippinewanderer says:

    A thoughtful, enlightening article and I often worry that my “Hand” has played out , but maybe not? I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.


    • Trust me, I can personally relate to feeling like your hand has been played — but that kind of thinking turns sand to cement. OTHER hands may well have been played out — but as long as we stay in the game new hands are dealt.

      You have an intelligent and beautiful daughter who loves you, and you are an amazing Dad. It would seem from here that your NEW hands will be played at that particular table – and who knows how many others.

      I have no idea why some seem to have “lucky” lives and others don’t. I have no idea why there is so little support and even less empathy for those who struggle from those who don’t.

      But I do know this: the world may well be filled with people whose character seem to be devoid of empathy, but WE don’t have to join their number. When it seems that no one reaches out to us, we CAN make the choice to reach out to others who need a hand up. Perhaps that’s why we are on this earth at this time – I don’t know.

      I am grateful that there are people like you in this world (and me, and others who show up here from time to time and take the time to leave a comment to let me know that they exist).

      I am grateful that our lives are going well enough that we have access to computers, have figured out how to use blogging software (and for those who developed the platforms!) and that we have homes from which we can blog — and I am grateful that we find each other somehow.

      Perhaps our job is to do what we can to lift the vibration here on earth, leaving a trail for others who need support, and perhaps inspiring others to join us and pass it on. Who knows – maybe they’ll even reach out to US when we need understanding and support. It makes ME feel better to think that thought than some of the darker ones, in any case.

      Your blog tells your story – your readers are helped by your honest vulnerability. That’s playing a less than wonderful hand WONDERFULLY well.



  5. Nynia Chance says:

    Reblogged this on Nynia Chance @ Nexus of Now Media and commented:
    Madelyn Griffith-Haynie shared these wonderful thoughts on how gratitude interweaves with inspiration. Well worth the read!


  6. @BrokenBrilliant: Thanks for the reblog AS WELL AS the kickstart for the post itself.

    Look in the mirror as you parcel out those thank yous (below).

    No one who hasn’t also struggled to overcome brain injury could even BEGIN to realize what you have to do to do what you always DO.

    YOUR name is surely in God’s ledger book under “Angel Support.”

    Onward and upward.



  7. Reblogged this on Broken Brain – Brilliant Mind and commented:
    Fantastic thoughts for a time of thanks-giving. Thank you to all who help others, because you can — and that’s just what you do.


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