What Are You Proud Of?

Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. Today, it just happened to come from my job. Weird, I know.

One week ago, my boss asked everyone in our company to come up with three things we do well at work. It was a simple task, but as the week wore on, those three things kept looming in the distance. Coming up with a trio of positives should not have been this difficult. Yet somehow, it was.

I’m not a bad worker. Not by any means. But I’d never actually sat down and thought about what I was proud of, related to work or otherwise. Fact is, we never take time to acknowledge those things that give us a great deal of pride. We’re so consumed by negativity in our everyday lives that we rarely focus on the good. We’re conditioned to believe that perfection is our goal and we can only improve. And yet there’s so much we have to celebrate, to be thankful for, to enjoy.

Eventually, I found three positives I could live with. I took them to our weekly company meeting, exactly seven days since we were given the assignment, and proceeded to share these positives. All my coworkers did the same. And as we went around the room, you could feel the mood change. Even the smallest details were warmly received. We had joked about the Kumbaya session, alluded to campfires and trust falls and the like, but as we revealed our stories, we all felt better. About everything. For a brief moment in time, all the crap we deal with on a daily basis was ejected from our conference room. In that brief moment, we became happier.

While pride can often be mistaken for ego, there is certain value in acknowledging the good that you’ve accomplished. I don’t know why we don’t do it more often. It’s like we’re so determined to trudge our way through life that we turn a blind eye to those things we’re genuinely ecstatic about.

So I want to try something. I want to share three things I’m proud of with regards to this little website. And I want all of you to take time and share three things you’re proud of, too. You can do it with your friends and family, do it in your own online space (on your website, your blog, your Facebook account, your Twitter), do it right here in the comments section if you want. Just take a minute and think about what you’re proud of and why. When it’s all said and done, you’ll feel better, I promise.

Without further ado…

1. I’m proud of this article.

I didn’t really expect an article entitled “Welcome To Seattle Motherf**king Washington” to be all that popular. First of all, I dropped an f-bomb (albeit a censored f-bomb) in the title. That’s usually a red flag right off the bat. A deterrent for the morally-conscious readers out there.

But shortly after I published that column, people started passing it around. There was positive feedback. There was resounding pride from other Seattleites. People were proud of this town because I blasted my emotions onto the keyboard (heh, note the double entendre…don’t think because this piece is a little touchy-feely that I’ve grown up or anything).

Eventually, 20,000 people shared that article on Facebook. Twenty-freakin’-thousand. Do you know how many that is? That’s 2,500 more than Key Arena can hold. Ridiculous. Thousands more found it through Twitter or some other link. At work, my boss shared the article via all-staff email as a motivator of sorts. He didn’t realize at the time that I had written it. I wasn’t planning on owning up to the authorship — this was another side of my life that should never mesh with the corporate world — until another coworker refused to let my work go unnoticed. It was, in a word, surreal.

I’ve written many things in my life, but none have made me as proud as that one. I had a goal when I started Seattle Sportsnet. That goal was to bring people in this town together. There’s so much that divides us, and yet so little that unites us. That was maybe the first thing I’ve ever scribed that united so many people around here. I couldn’t be happier to have achieved that goal, if even for a day.

2. I’m proud of the charities represented on this page.

I’ve written about both of these charities at length before, so I won’t go into too much detail. But I will say that both charities mean a lot to me, and for those of you who have donated your time or money to either of those two causes, thank you.

The two individuals who inspired the charities, Ashley Aven and Robert Vasen, were both taken from us far too soon.

I didn’t know Ashley personally, but I’ve gotten to know her family over the past year and they’re an amazing group of people.

As for Robert, we go all the way back to our days in elementary school together, and I know how much of an impact he had on the lives of all the kids I grew up with, as well as so many other people along the way.

I know how it is. We hear so much about charities on a daily basis that it can become cliche. Give to this, donate to that, read about this, sign up for that. I’m a realist. I know that while most people would like to give, the act of giving can be hard to do. And that’s just fine. Relinquishing money is not always easy. Neither is setting aside free time to volunteer. We lead busy lives, we have bills to pay, it is what it is.

But at the very least, I encourage you to read the stories of Ashley and Robert. Because maybe there will come a day when you can give. And when that day comes, if you have nowhere else to donate some small part of your paycheck or an hour of your day, I want you to be able to have two good causes you can fall back on. And these are great causes, inspired by great people with great stories.

3. I’m proud of the people around me.

In the nearly three years that I’ve had this website up and running, I’ve gotten to know a number of good people. People that have made my life better. People that have become some of my closest friends, that have inspired me on a regular basis, that have kept me going when my world was a little shaky. These are good people. And sometimes I think we take for granted all those good people surrounding us.

Before any of my existence was ever shared on these pages, I was lucky enough to have a great group of family and friends already installed in my everyday. And without a doubt, those are good people, too. Among other things, I never would have had the fortitude to start writing if it weren’t for that group of people. That group has shaped me into the person I am today. It goes without saying that I’m extremely grateful for them, as well as everyone in my life.

But when it comes to this website, all those good people have directly impacted everything that goes on here. There are people that promote the things I write, people that endorse almost everything I do, people that I can’t help but depend on when I need a second to lean.

This is a domain name and some words. It’s nothing. It could be gone in an instant. There are billions of domain names out there. There are trillions of words on the internet. Only a tiny percentage of either of those mean anything at all. And yet because of all these good people in my life, this domain name and these words have some semblance of meaning to many readers out there.

I could write all day long and no one might read a single sentence. But because of you, because of the good people I’ve surrounded myself with, there are others who care about my grab-ass humor, my strong opinions, my weird way of thinking, my Saved By the Bell references, all that junk. That is amazing. Absolutely amazing. No one paid me to do this. No company endorsed me. No one told me this was my job. I just started doing it and you responded. This thing was borne out of nothing. Because of you. It’s crazy.

So thank you for believing in me, for making my life better, for caring, for being here when you didn’t have to be. We are nothing without each other, but we’re something right now. I’m proud of that most of all.

What are you proud of?

4 thoughts on “What Are You Proud Of?”

  1. I’m proud of calling you a friend and the biggest force in how my writing has developed. I’ve noticed that even in my English essays my writing is starting to sound Alex Akita-ish. It’s awesome. Thank you.

  2. I too try and write Alex Akita-ish, it is a goal I have yet to attain, but persevere I must!

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