A couple of days ago, after the American Thanksgiving Holiday, I was flying back to Perth from Sydney.
It was late and I was tired; I had been at an intense 2 day seminar and would have been grateful for some sleep. I sat next to a small wiry man in dirty work clothes and well-worn work boots. He had paint on his hands, his arms and his clothes.
Shortly after take-off he struck up a conversation “You from Perth?” I didn’t recognise his accent so I asked where he was from.
“Yugoslavia – I come to Australia 17 years ago. Never go back.”
I don’t know what his name was – we didn’t get to that bit. But over the next couple of hours he told me his story.
He cannot believe his luck in ending up in Australia. So he is grateful for the opportunities he has here. He came as an immigrant with his wife and two children, choosing Australia because he has a brother living here. He “lost” his wife. She chose to go back to Yugoslavia to be with her parents. He stayed here with his children.
He had been an electrician in Yugoslavia but in his own words… “No work.”
“Very hungry, always hungry.”
“When I was kid, my family no food, no work always hungry.”
“Always fighting, always war; Milosovic no good. People killing.”
He settled in a small town in rural WA. He is so incredibly grateful for everything he has; grateful to be able to work hard. “Always work – never run out of work – I go knock doors get work, always.” “No work there, I go knock more doors.” “I do anything, paint, build, fix… I go night school, I learn English after work.”
He bought some land and built a house – so incredibly grateful that he could do here what he could never do in his birth country.
Then he proceeded to tell me about how he was going to subdivide his block, sell half and buy more blocks to grow his personal wealth. “But not too much, just enough. Too much make people greedy. I see it.”
He has a business idea for a food van – he has it all mapped out who his customers will be and how he will sell to them.
And he was so incredibly grateful for being able to live in peace “No war here” and for being able to work and earn and enjoy his life. He had built such a good reputation that his employer had flown him to Sydney to do some work for him. He was in his work clothes because he wanted to get home to his family and his next job as soon as he could. “No time to wash before fly.”
Sometimes we forget how lucky we are “Very lucky” he said “Very luck here.”
Have we forgotten how lucky we are? And have we forgotten that we used to call ourselves “The Lucky Country?”
Have we forgotten to be grateful for every amazing advantage we have here?
Not me – I’m giving thanks every day.
As I left the airport, I had to chuckle at the young teenage girl of Indian descent with younger sister in tow, whinging loudly about something… “First word problem” she said to her “First world problem!”
Thank you to everyone who taught me something this year. A considerable list of people and lessons! Some I didn’t anticipate and some I jumped into boots and all – knowing I was going to be working hard and loving every minute of it.
Thank you to my clients; past present and future. I’m so lucky to be doing work I love with you!
Thank you to my family and friends and colleagues, to my trusted advisors, to my network of incredibly talented business associates. It would be so much harder doing it without you.
And a little gratitude gift from me to you. Thanks for reading – click here to download
More coming in the New Year
Wishing you a wonderfully relaxing Christmas with all the love that it brings…