Gobble Gobble friends & family,
Each month I am more surprised with how quickly another 30 days has flown by. October has come and gone in the blink of an eye and the holiday season is practically knocking at our door. This is a time of year that we are all reminded of how fortunate and thankful we should be for our many blessings and excited to spend some much needed quality time with our loved ones. While those headlines make for a great Hallmark card or holiday commercial, the reality of what the holidays tend to bring is often quite to the contrary.
In today’s world, Black Friday has people running from their Thanksgiving tables for a sale while family is still gathered around. Sure, we all might like a crazy discount on a new TV, but it isn’t just the person buying the TV that has left their family. It also requires the retail associates in all of these giant stores to be present, holding back crowds and working on what we pride ourselves on being a family-focused holiday. More and more companies are opening their doors on Thanksgiving in order to make the biggest doorbuster ever…
During our first six years, Catered Fit was a rather low tech (sometimes even no-tech) company. That means that several of our processes were being done manually, and when I say manually, I mean I was literally the man. That changed in 2016. (You have heard me talk about our growth through tech before, check out some of my other CEO notes here) Every Thanksgiving since we launched our automated billing technology in 2016 has been incredibly meaningful for me. While I never wanted our drivers on the road on Thanksgiving night, I was still the one behind the computer manually making sure that everything was working, that members were going to be billed, and that the accounts for delivery the following week were ready. From 2010-2016 we billed our loyal members every Thursday, rain or shine… and winner winner turkey dinner, yes, that means even Thanksgiving. Because this process was manual, that meant no football on the couch in my undies, no stalking Mamma in the kitchen to let me taste what was on the stove, and not an ounce of relaxation with what little family I have. Today, our members are billed via automation whenever their account has two delivery days remaining. For the last few Thanksgivings, I can say, boy, am I thankful. The word that describes my feelings around the holiday season is no longer “stressful” but is instead “grateful” and every year I am reminded of it. On Thanksgiving, I look back on those early days, even the not-so-long-ago-days, and I do so now while watching football in my undies, or bothering my wife to taste what delectable vegan holiday fare she is cooking up. And I know that without those early years, I wouldn’t know the gratitude I have now.
Gratitude is a word that just a few years ago held no real meaning to me. I was too busy being focused on the stressor of the day and the things I had yet to attain to have any real level of appreciation for all of the blessings around me. Unfortunately, the holidays have somehow turned into a time of stress, turmoil, over consumption and exorbitant credit card bills instead of GRATITUDE. There is an abundance of scientific research (if you’re into that kind of thing) detailing the many benefits of exercising gratitude each day. Research suggests that the regular practice of gratitude heightens our immune system, increases our white blood cell count (which helps us fight off disease), lowers blood pressure, and reduces the levels of stress hormone flowing through our veins. A few years ago I would be rolling my eyes right now and holding back laughter at the thought of how silly this all would have sounded to me. The Adam Friden of the past however was always stressed, overly aggressive, and quite often a poor communicator so what the f*ck did he know?
How does one practice gratitude then? Well, for me it has turned out to be pretty easy and incredibly impactful in terms of my overall levels of happiness. When I wake up in the morning and the sun is shining through my bedroom window, I remind myself what an awesome day it is to be alive. It can really be that simple. (And on the days the sun isn’t out, I remind myself like little orphan Annie said, the sun will come out tomorrow.) I know, I know, this seems like a stretch, but really just opening your eyes and being thankful first thing for the world outside can really set your day on the right path. When I walk downstairs and my amazing wife has breakfast waiting for me at the table, I remind her how amazing she is and how much I appreciate starting my day with such a glorious meal, but more importantly how much I appreciate her time, her love, and her company. When my fifteen year old miniature pinscher, Dolce, looks up at me with her tongue hanging through the gap in her mouth where teeth used to be, I remind myself how lucky I am to have such an amazing dog that can put a smile on my face regardless of which curveball life is throwing at me. When I bite into one of my Catered Fit meals and am in awe, I walk into the kitchen and thank our chef’s on the spot.
Taking the time to remind ourselves and those around us of how many things we have to be thankful for is a learned behavior and can take practice, like any other exercise, but eventually rewires our brains to focus on the positive instead of the doom and gloom that is always just around the corner. This month’s CEO note is really about my gratitude. My gratitude for those in my life who have helped my growth as an entrepreneur, and more importantly, an individual. My gratitude for all the amazing people I work with who treat this business like it is their baby as much as mine. But more than anything, it is my gratitude for all the members of Catered Fit who past, present and even future, allow me to live my life every day. That’s why in the last year I have made more of an effort to recognize that the product we sell is less about (delicious) food, but that our mission is to help you live your life to the fullest. Taking you, our members, out of the lines at the grocery store, and out of the kitchen, to give you the time you want and need to enjoy your life with the same gratitude I am so blessed to experience.
Happy Holidays Fit Fam!
Book I’m Reading: Infinite Game by Simon Sinek
MUST WATCH on Netflix: Game Changers