The Power of Gratitude

By Vilona Trachtenberg: April Spotlight

In our current world of uncertainty about the future, we worry, and our worries can be contagious. But gratitude can be just as contagious.

When I studied in my MBA program a few years ago, I experienced this. I loved everything about being an MBA student. But there was a class I struggled in – finance.

While I tried to figure out the different formulas and how they all made sense, I needed a little boost. It came from someone in my class, who didn’t even sit near me. He could sense I needed help, approached me about it and was relentless in his pursuit of helping me succeed.

He made sure I understood the class material. He and his wife opened their house to me for studying space, helped me review material, and helped me with an extra credit assignment. All of this support was unsolicited, and it was because of his kindness that I received a good grade at the end of the class.

Though this was nearly six years ago, I will never forget it. I learned the concept of gratitude from that experience.

I truly believe that everything we accomplish is a larger by-product of the work of our backers and supporters. The jobs we work towards, the awards we win (Spotlight Professional 2020), the promotions we receive and the boards we are elected to each take a whole team to achieve.

There are many other scenarios where people took chances on me to give me experiences I wouldn’t have had otherwise. People were open to connect me to others, which helped me gain internships, volunteer opportunities and side jobs that were more incredible than I could have imagined.

Gratitude is important. A spark of gratitude is a spark of action to pay the kindness forward. When you acknowledge that someone did something for you, you don’t just acknowledge it with words, but you take that experience and pass it along to others. I see these kinds of actions daily, especially in our Buffalo community. Our professional community is filled with people eager to help others and always open to talk about career paths, volunteerism, or professional development opportunities.

These acts of kindness continue to build and fortify a strong community of knowledge. What results is a chain reaction of helpers – and a contagion of growth and community support. This is how we end up on passion-driven career paths with goal-oriented mindsets.

I hope we’ll all continue being that kind helper in finance class who stops at nothing to ensure others thrive. It makes a world of difference.