Why Today’s a Great Day!

“Have a great day!”

Me with my dad many decades ago.

If you’re a subscriber of my newsletters or have received emails from me, you are familiar with my standard salutation to sign off my emails.

What you might not know, however, is the reason behind this sign-off message.

Celebrating Hardy Jones (1945-2016)

This post is an homage to my father, Hardy Jones, whose positive spirit and personal motto “Today’s a great day!” has shaped who I am and inspires me each and every day to live with positive intention, to get up when I fall down, and to embrace life with gusto.

Today (the date of this posting) — July 7, 2021 — would have been my dad’s 76’s birthday.

Why I believe today is a great day!

I thought what better what to honor my father and celebrate his birthday than to share with you the meaning behind my salutation “Have a great day” and how I endeavor to amplify this positive message to the world in all that I do.

This motto helped buoy me at the beginning of the pandemic (which I wrote about here) and I share with you today to help you navigate through the great days and the challenging ones.

Watch the video below and the message that follows to learn more about how this motto inspires me.

Some context: earlier reflections on “Today is a great day”

Me with my brother, mom and dad at the Ride to Defeat ALS in 2016, three months before my dad’s death.

A year after my father’s passing, I wrote an article titled “Reflections on 2017: Today is a Great Day”. I wrote then in reflection on the first year without my father alive:

2017 was a major year of transition for me and my family. Five days before the end of 2016, my father Hardy Jones passed away from ALS (also known as Lou Gehrigs Disease or motor neuron disease).

Suffice to say, much of the first half of the year (and beyond) was spent focused on supporting myself and my family through our grief and moving into a world without my dad.

My father was a gifted surgeon and artist, a dedicated father, husband and friend, and someone who found joy in every day. He was my greatest and most exuberant supporter.

My father’s outlook that “today is a great day” is not to say that he didn’t have a lot of horrible days or not-so-great moments, but it was his intention to find the good in some part of the day as a way to connect to the positive in life.

Even as his body failed him and he became increasingly paralyzed and unable to breathe, he would look up and beam about something that made a particular moment special. It could be as simple as “the sun is shining” or “I get to see you”. He had a twinkle in his eye until the very end.

My father was, and continues to be, an inspiration to me and so many people about how to live one’s life, how to achieve, how to love, and how to grieve and move forward towards joy.

“Today is a a great day” – Hardy Jones

Below is a lightly edited version of the video transcript of this post elaborating on this motto, with some links to posts and other resources that you might find valuable

Today I want to share with you a bit more about why I always end my emails with the saying, “have a great day.”

This motto — “Today is a great day!” — was very important to my father who passed away at the end of 2016 from a diagnosis of ALS.

This motto is inscribed on our cycling team’s bandana from the Ride to Defeat ALS that my family and many friends did just a few months before my dad passed away (and that I’ve continued to lead annually as team captain to raise money for ALS research and support – Team Hardy will be riding again year!).

It was — and is — our team motto and saying.

And it’s really been an anchor for my whole life.

The saying “Today is a great day” encapsulates my dad’s positive energy and spirit about:

  • How can we find the positive in our day?
  • How can we anchor on the good?
  • How can we use our focus on the positive to pull us through those challenging times?

….when today may actually not be that great of a day.

When we can focus on something even as simple as the sun is shining right now, and the positive experience that brings us, it can help bring us forward and lift us up.

How a positive mindset can help us “Get up”

The saying also reminds me of what daruma dolls — those Japanese figures behind me in the video (and in the image here) — represent the proverb, “Fall down seven times, get up eight.”

I think that when we can focus on the good and we can anchor on the positive, finding the greatness in the moment, even in our failures and our setbacks and our challenges, and find that as a way to buoy us forward, we are more able to get up and keep persevering and experiencing greater happiness and joy in our lives as well.

“Focus on the good” – Isao Yoshino

I also found a kindred spirit in Isao Yoshino, whom I wrote the book Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn about.

(Note, Mr. Yoshino and my father never met, though they would have greatly enjoyed and appreciated each other. They are just one year apart in birth and have lived their lives with positive intent, curiosity, caring, and creativity).

Mr. Yoshino always talks about how can we focus on the good?

How do we find the good in people? In situations?

How can we view things from a different angle and thus change our own experience of the situation?

In the book Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn, I share his stories about how we can anchor on the good aspects — and be positive and have a positive mindset. The lead quote in one of the major chapters focused on mindset and positive choice is:

“If you are too focused on the bad, you will only see the bad side of things. If you decide to focus on the good, you can learn so much more.” – Isao Yoshino

Focus on the good and make today a great day!

When we think about the things that we can do (rather than all the things we can’t) or the things that we can appreciate in the moment or in our situation, it can help us move from the negativity and shape our experience differently.

As I write in the book and the  Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn Workbook (a companion guide to the book which you can purchase and download here):

You have a choice, in work and in life, about how you respond to your circumstances. While you may not always have control over your conditions, you have control over your mindset and your reactions. Indeed, your happiness, your growth, and your experience, is what you make of it.

And so I encourage each of you to have a great day and find the ways to have a great day.

Your positive energy and mindset amplifies into the world!

Have a great day!

And that’s why I end my email signature with have a great day.

So, even if your day isn’t such a great one, what is something that you can experience some greatness.

How can you learn?

What can you do?

So in honor of my father, Hardy Jones, today is a great day!

And how can you make each and every day a great one?

Signing off this post with my standard salutation

From Hardy Jones’s daughter, Katie Bryan-Jones Anderson to you —

Have a great day,

Katie Anderson

Want to be further inspired by positive stories of learning and leading?

Invest in your copy of the bestselling book Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn and discover seven decades of wisdom from Isao Yoshino as he reflects on success, failure, and the value of a positive mindset in leading a life of purpose.

I’m thrilled for the one year anniversary of the book next week on July 14, 2021 and for the release of the audiobook format on the same day.

You can preorder your copy of the audiobook now — or purchase directly on Amazon in your region here.

The companion workbook is also available to support your learning and reflection — directly available here!

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