The Strength to Come Back!
Karen and Jay share thoughts on resilience and the excitement of new beginnings as we enter 2022!’
Resilience is all about coming back. Having the determination and grit to bounce back – after a setback or a difficulty and being at least as strong, and oftentimes even stronger, than before. We’ve all been there. And, right now, after a couple challenging years – we look forward to ’22 – with optimism, aware that our resilience is being tested and with confidence that we will rise to the occasion!
Think back a little on your own life when you’ve been faced with a challenge and you’ve wondered how you’d be able to face it? It’s likely that whatever that challenge was, you found a way to overcome it, or at a minimum, you made it through. After all, here you are. Once again, this past year has challenged us all. It’s forced us to rethink how we approach even the most mundane of tasks. It’s made us wonder how many more interruptions we can take. Yet, no matter what, each of us has shown a resiliency to find our own way forward.
But what is resilience really? How do we recognize it? How do we wield it? In short, resilience is a process we develop through experience. It’s how we choose to adapt and respond in the face of adversity, trauma, or stress. We tend to think of it uniquely as being strong or tough, bouncing back when misfortune or the unexpected comes our way. This isn’t always the case. Resilience, and developing resiliency, is also a process that involves recognition, taking time to grieve, to rest, to acknowledge what we’ve experienced, sorting through lessons that can help us grow into better, more capable individuals. From there, we’re able to take action, turning what may have been a negative experience into an eventual positive outcome.
It’s something that probably isn't mentioned when you’re having a casual conversation, nor has it been a topic regularly making its way into mainstream headlines, but resilience is something each of us have had to find at certain moments throughout this year. The resiliency of so many, including readers of the Sunshine Report like yourself, has been undoubtedly one of the most inspiring takeaways from 2021. Inspiring because of how clear it’s become that in adverse times, the resiliency of the human spirit will always prevail. So as the new year gets under way, be proud of your own resiliency, and remind yourself that you’ve gotten this far, and so no matter the challenges 2022 throws your way, you’ll be able not only to face it, but overcome it, just like you’ve done so many times before.
First Night Portsmouth!
One of my favorite New Hampshire traditions is ‘First Night in Portsmouth,’ that takes place each year in the great seacoast community where we live. This annual festival held on New Year's Eve is a family friendly celebration where people come together to bring in the New Year. There is the annual ice sculpture, which normally is a skyline of the city, and warm chili available to help keep everyone cozy! This year will be a little different as all the festivities will now take place outside due to COVID concerns, so the dancing might have a bit more shake in it (this time from the cold).
Each year, the fireworks display is typically funded by the event itself with tickets being sold for all the indoor attractions. But with the event moving outside, tickets sales were not an option, and the event almost didn’t happen. So, the community came together to fund the $15,000 fireworks display and because of that, there are no tickets needed! Yet another example of the resilience and goodness of people to do the right thing and make sure the positive, fun community spirit maintains, despite the challenging circumstances. While we all look forward to the event returning to its normal self in the future, this year’s festivities will be a momentous celebration and tribute to all the wonderful people responsible for making it happen!
Some Fun Local ‘Firsts’ for Everyone to Enjoy!
The start of the new year allows for new adventures, goals, opportunities, and more. I enjoy kicking off the New Year with friends on New Year’s Eve, and then, with my own first run of the year the next day. It’s an exciting time to start anew and I’d like to share with you a few ‘Firsts’ you can be a part of as we all bring in 2022.
To start, here’s a really cool multi-location event – ‘NH First Hike Day.’ Across the Granite State, avid hikers as well as those wanting to try it out for the first time can start off the new year in our great outdoors and can choose among 5 different locations across New Hampshire to take part in a 1.5 mile hike. This fun and exciting outing is dog friendly, and some locations will even have hot chocolate fireside. I think this truly is an amazing event and I give kudos to all the members of the NH Park Service including our good friend Sarah Stewart, Commissioner of our parks system, for organizing such a fun way to kick off the new year. I invite you all to learn more about this annual tradition by visiting nhstateparks.org.
Meanwhile, all across the state you will find communities organizing First Night events. In Claremont, The Claremont Opera House will open its doors yet again to host Claremont’s ‘Off Broadway Players’ as they perform. The local bowling alley will host an evening of fun and the rec center will be filled with exciting activities as well. The fun packed evening with so much to do will be capped off with a fireworks show to ring in the New Year! Right here in Portsmouth, Karen and I plan to venture downtown to take in the First Night experience. Comedy shows, performers, and ice sculptures are just a few of the many things going on this year and the New Year will be brought in with a bang with an incredible fireworks display, thanks to Steve Pelkey and his amazing team at Atlas Fireworks!
As mentioned earlier and as many Sunshine Report readers know, I love to run. And in 2022, you can join in the fun and at your own pace. Start it off nice and easy with the Millennium Mile taking place in Londonderry, NH on New Year’s Day or sign up for the upcoming Peanut Butter Chip Chase 5k in Temple or the Snowflake Shuffle in Bedford on January 16th.
So many ‘Firsts’ to be a part of and I encourage you all to be a part of the fun! ’22 is going to get off to an exciting start – and has all the makings of a TERRIFIC year ahead!
Positive Profile of the Week: Planet Fitness CEO Chris Rondeau
This week we are delighted to highlight a successful entrepreneur who is also a truly inspirational leader and dedicated to making a difference in the community – Chris Rondeau.
Like many in business and those who live on the seacoast, you may have heard a bit about Chris and how he has taken this once small, low-cost gym company and built it into a thriving operation with locations across the country, yet still headquartered right here in New Hampshire. What’s even more impressive is Chris's story.
Chris’s path to the top spot at Planet Fitness didn’t involve a search committee or start as white collar executive. It started as a front desk clerk at a local gym, where his daily routine included mopping the floors. From there he rose to the top and along the way worked in many different roles, giving him the skills necessary to take Planet Fitness to the top of the fitness industry. When Planet Fitness became a company listed on the stock exchange it traded at $16 a share. Today, it’s trading for over $90 a share. In fact, under Chris’s leadership, Planet Fitness has been so successful that 4 percent of the US population are members of Planet Fitness and visit one of their 2,000 locations around the country!
Meanwhile, Chris and his dedicated team have faced adversity and even have overcome the global pandemic that crippled so many companies including those in the physical fitness industry. But it isn’t just the business success story of Chris that is remarkable, it's his passion for giving back.
As a father of two, Chris understands the importance of ensuring our children never feel alone, afraid, and or without the support they need in order to succeed. Through Planet Fitness’s Judgement Free Generation program, over $5 million have been donated to nonprofit organizations. Boys and Girls Clubs across America have been equipped with supplies and support to encourage physical well-being and activities for children. And in 2020, Chris took part in running the Boston Marathon to support the Boys and Girls Club.
So, as a person dedicated to physical fitness and making it a part of my daily routine, I am especially thrilled to be highlighting Chris as our Profile of the Week, Planet Fitness CEO Chris Rondeau. Chris Rondeau’s story is yet another shining example of the resilience of the human spirit. If you’re looking for a little motivation as you prepare your goals for 2022, there’s no doubt that Chris’s story can be a great source of inspiration! Thank you, Chris, for all that you do!
Positive Quotes of the Week: Resilience
“On the other side of a storm is the strength that comes from having navigated through it. Raise your sail and begin.” ― Gregory S. Williams
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” ― Thomas Edison
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” ― Winston Churchill
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” ― Confucius
“Rock bottom became the solid foundation in which I rebuilt my life.” ― J.K. Rowling