Note: I have been writing a note of gratitude on the blog each day in November leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. My hope is that these posts will inspire you to do the same. Write an email, Facebook post, or a text to tell people they have made an impact on you. Gratitude is contagious. Do it now.
When I started this series, I wrote about how we frequently overlook expressing gratitude to those who are closest to us. My kids, for example, rarely thank me for everything I do for them as a parent. And, despite my best efforts, I know I fall short of thanking my wife for everything she does for me and our family.
It’s easy to take the people closest to us for granted. Particularly when they’ve been in your life for a long time. It’s not just our spouse or families who fall into this category, it’s often our closest friends.
One of those people for me is my wingman, Joe Gerstandt.
Long before we started doing work together, we were friends. Our friendship dates back to 1999 when the universe brought us together to suffer through working at a terrible little company.
In the past two decades, we’ve been through divorces and marriages. We’ve traveled from single to married to family life. We’ve navigated through starting a couple non-profits and a business together. We’ve each had some major ups and downs.
I refer to Joe as my wingman very intentionally. Yes, in our single days, we played that role for each other (thankfully those days are long past). But more significantly, we’ve done it for each other professionally as well. We both did a tour in corporate America where neither of us really fit. During that time, we’d have breakfast together once a week where we’d remind each other that “you aren’t the crazy one, you are in a crazy system.”
Joe single-handedly kept me sane and kept me going for those many years when I was a cultural misfit trying to do the work that really mattered in the face of significant resistance. Without him, I don’t know that I could have made it through that gauntlet. He’s continued to be a great wingman in my transition to self-employment.
Aside from my wife, Joe knows me better than anyone. He’s seen the good, bad and ugly and there’s room for all of it in our friendship. He’s always showed up for me and he’s always forgiven me quickly when I have made mistakes.
It’s such an amazing gift to have a friend like this in my life. And, it’s an even bigger gift that we also share a common passion that allows us to do work together. That’s what luck looks like.
Joe, I don’t say it nearly often enough, but thank you. Thank you for being my friend, wingman, co-conspirator, and journey partner. My love for you runs deep. I’m thankful that Jeff Miller created that terrible little place to work so that we could find each other. I’m so grateful for you.