This summer, I started raising butterflies from the egg stage to caterpillar to chrysalis, and finally into Monarch butterflies floating around eating nectar and pollinating the flowers in my backyard. In total, 30 Monarchs, a species under federal protection because of loss of habitat, left the safety of my backyard to migrate south.
It is hard to fathom the miracle of transformation called metamorphosis unless you watch it with your own eyes as I did over the course of mid-July to late August. Watching it happen, I came to the realization that I am changed. The biggest change in me is a stronger commitment to gratitude—gratitude for what is, gratitude for the opportunity for transformation, and gratitude for the continuous change that impacts me physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
I have written previously about the transformational power of gratitude. Gratitude can change a peanut butter and jelly sandwich into a gourmet feast. My experience with the Monarch butterfly, showed me that I have never grasped fully, until now, that transformation is a cycle, not a linear process.
For example, I did not expect or understand how gratitude has and is still transforming Dasher- making our company stronger—until I had a recent conversation with Bonnie Meisel, CPA, Dasher’s Chief Financial Officer.
When I asked Bonnie about how she defined gratitude, she showed me an entirely new way of seeing transformation at Dasher and why it is so vital to us. Bonnie started off saying, “Gratitude is the sincere appreciation for our own immense blessings even while living in an imperfect world. Life is challenging, even brutal at times, but through gratitude, you can see the positive side of a situation. When you are focused on thankfulness, you cannot dwell in the negative.”
My own commitment to gratitude, being heightened by my experience with growing butterflies this summer, sparked this conversation with Bonnie. I admit that I thought our brilliant financial leader, someone with such a strong financial orientation, might not place much value on gratitude as a vital business driver, but Bonnie surely does and that is what makes her so remarkable.
Bonnie said, “I think of the gratitude ripple effect. We cannot have great financial performance without great people who feel cared for at Dasher and who are motivated to serve our customers with great dedication and skill. When we show how much we care, it has a ripple effect on everything, including our financial results.”
Bonnie pointed out that we expanded staff benefits and provided opportunities for growth in a caring environment while ensuring excellent customer focus. Then Bonnie shared a story with me about a recent meeting with her finance team where she asked what impact the recent changes in the economy were having on them personally and how Dasher might be able to assist.
Bonnie said, “I was fully expecting a long list of examples of how inflation cost them at every turn. Instead, the first response I received from one of my teammates was that while gas has become so expensive, he rarely fills up his tank now since he no longer has a commute to work. Dasher has afforded him the ability to work from home since the start of the pandemic.”
Bonnie told me her teammate went on to express his gratitude for the ability to work from home and mentioned that this change ultimately offered more in his net pay due to the need for less gas. This was a very positive response to a question that was presumed to yield some challenging discussions. Very uplifting and transformative.
Here’s where transformation is cyclical. With gratitude circulating around the finance team, a blinders-on, strict attention to spreadsheets and metrics transforms into more human connections and that transforms into more collaboration. Widespread collaboration spurs innovation and the impact on financial performance comes full circle and creates an upward financial spiral.