Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Always start with gratitude

 I want to take a moment this week to comment on the idea and practice of trying to "Always start with gratitude."  Over the past few quarters, we have had a tough run in our business.  Challenges and headwinds were experienced on many fronts and the team broadly has been working extremely hard in very tough circumstances to problem solve and overcome many issues across the board; and in that context,  last Friday we reported our FY' 24 Q1 results and they were extraordinary!!  

I was so thrilled to see strong top-line performance and superior bottom-line results... literally one of the best quarters I have ever been part of at Bolthouse Farms and possibly one of the best across my entire career....  the team totally rocked!!  In the after-glow of our Flash report zoom call, I was reminded about the headline of this essay.... that in this moment or financial "over-delivery," I needed to find ways to BE GRATEFUL and share that gratefulness to my organization as broadly as I can!  As tempted as I was to dig into different departmental performance, and dive deeply into specific p&l drivers,  I needed to check myself and just start saying "thank you" as broadly and as often as possible.... I needed to "start with gratitude!"

As I endeavor down that gratitude path this week, I pulled up an essay that I posted three years ago this week.... November of 2020,  in the heart of the Covid crisis.  The following essay, which is actually a letter that I sent to our company at that moment,  is a great reminder to me about what we all have been through and how we all need to "start with gratitude" whenever we can... I hope this essay connects for you and I wish all of you a very "grateful" Thanksgiving holiday next week!  

November 24, 2020

I just wanted to send out a note before the Thanksgiving holiday this week.  This year is unlike all others for me ( and I think for all of us) as we head toward this day of thanksgiving….. this year has been so hard, so challenging, so painful, and so long, that I for one am having a hard time being very thankful; it’s in that spirit, not in some “hallmark card” moment, but in the midst of all of our challenges and pain that  I share these thoughts and reflections.  


Maybe 10-15 years ago I had the chance to see The Dalai Lama live at Canon chapel  on the campus of Emory University.  The setting matters since it was where Jennie and I were married ( by her Father,) where both Bryson and Marie were baptized and where we attended the funerals for both Jennie’s mom and sister… certainly a sacred space for our family!  It was there that the Dalai Lama, with a number of monks, held a “service” of sorts that included all sorts of Tibetan Buddhist rituals and comments from The Dalai Lama.   While I was struck by how “cheery and jovial” he was ( often chuckling/laughing) one comment he shared has stuck with me over the years…. that being to “always start with gratitude.” 

 He encouraged the crowd to 


·     “start every day…” 

·     “start every meal…”

·     “start every conversation…”

·     “start every walk…”

·     etc.

o  “with gratitude.”


I think back to that moment, so many years ago and find strength and inspiration thinking about this note today.  In the midst of rising covid cases and so many challenges facing our world, I am very thankful for my family, my sweet Jennie and our two wonderful kids, Bryson and Marie.  I am thankful to have the chance to work at Bolthouse Farms, and to work in a business that is trying hard to find ways to get more fruits and vegetables (go carrots!!) on family’s tables, and to work with a team of hardworking “Bolthouse People” that care so much and are so committed to our mission.  I am thankful to be healthy and capable to find ways to try to make tomorrow a bit better than yesterday…. and the list literally could go on for paragraphs….. I am actually thankful for so much!!


I wish all of you a very happy, healthy, safe and “grateful” thanksgiving holiday and I do sincerely hope that you can enjoy some well deserved time off this week with your family and friends as safely as possible!


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