Nov. 23, 2022

Gratitude and Giving Thanks with Rebecca Kittel

Have you ever wondered who's behind the scenes at LYV making it all happen?


Making this podcast is no easy task, and it's all made possible because of the hours of work that go into production. Well, today, we'd like to welcome to the stage the person making so much of it happen (talk about giving thanks!): Our operations specialist, Rebecca Kittel. 


In this Thanksgiving-themed episode, Becca and Bagel talk about having gratitude and giving thanks. They share their holiday stories and traditions and dig into how values shape their perspective around family and friends. Becca reflects on how the hardest things in life are often, what give her the most gratitude.


This and more in this week's interview!


You can read the full show notes, transcription, guest bio, and more for this episode at:


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Mentioned in this Episode:

  1. 5 Minute Journal (app)
  2. fyt
  3. Live Your Values Podcast
  4. LYV on Facebook
  5. LYV on Instagram
  6. LYV on Twitter


Guest Bio: 

Rebecca Kittel has been part of the behind the scenes team for LYV since 2020. Aside from supporting LYV, she is the owner of Ledger Sense, a virtual small business accounting firm. After nearly a decade in corporate finance, she made a change to focus on small businesses. Her focus is on supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses that need regular Accountant support, training, or even help fixing their financial books. She is a FreshBooks Certified Partner and QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and holds multiple degrees including an MBA. 


When she's not working, she's focused on raising her family of two young children with her husband. 


[00:00:00] Bagel: Have you ever wondered who's behind the scenes at lyv making it all happen?

Making this podcast is no easy task, and it's all made possible because of the hours of work that go into production. Well, today, I'd like to welcome to the stage the person making so much of it happen. Our operations specialist, Rebecca Kittel. 

In this Thanksgiving-themed episode, Becca and I talk about having gratitude and giving thanks. We share our holiday stories and traditions and dig into how values shape our perspective around family and friends. Becca reflects on how the hardest things in life are often what give her the most gratitude. 

Becca has been part of the behind the scenes team for LYV since 2020. Aside from supporting LYV, she is the owner of Ledger Sense, a virtual small business accounting firm. After nearly a decade in corporate finance, she has made a change to focus on small businesses.

Her focus is on supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses that need regular accounting support, training, or even help fixing their financial books. She's a FreshBooks Certified Partner and QuickBooks ProAdvisor and holds multiple degrees, including an MBA. When she's not working, she's focused on raising her family of two young children with her husband.

Let's dive into this week's interview with none other than Rebecca Kittel. All right, so welcome to the Live Your Values podcast. This is Mike Bagel and today I am joined by my, I don't know, partner in crime. I don't even know what to call you anymore. Like basically the woman who runs the show in my business fyt and has helped with so much of what we do here at LYV Behind the Scenes.

So Rebecca Kittel, or Becca as I call her, welcome to the show. How are you? 

[00:01:56] Rebecca Kittel: I'm good. How are you?

[00:01:58] Bagel: I'm doing okay. As you know, I am on the hopefully tail end of Covid. Finally, after two and a half years. And so just happy to be talking to people again and very excited to be having a conversation with you since you've been so much behind the scenes. We kind of joked about how people may recognize your name from being in the outro and now they can put a face to the name.

And I know we're gonna talk a little bit about all things holidays and traditions and giving thanks and gratitude just where we are in the time of year. This episode will very likely be coming out the week of Thanksgiving, and I know that that's a time for a lot of people to reflect and also sometimes a time of year where people have a lot of obligations and family stuff going on.

Um, But I thought it would be nice for you and I to chat a little bit more casually just about our own experiences around that. But before we dive into the topic, why don't you share a little bit about you and who you are and maybe what you're something that you're working on right now?

[00:03:13] Rebecca Kittel: So I'm Rebecca Kittel. I've worked behind the scenes for lyv since the very beginning, and I'm proud of that. Very proud of that. And I've been working with Mike now for several years and, and this has just been one of the best projects I think we've ever worked on. So I am an accountant. My background is in corporate finance, but a couple years ago it took a turn and I started working with small businesses.

Earlier this year I opened up a business and so that plays a lot into where I am in life now. And probably some of the responses that I'll have. And it's Ledger Sense and it's small business accounting. And right now is, I think most people would expect it to be very quiet. It's not. We are, many of us are working on cleanup jobs and getting ready for probably the lull. No one likes to think about accounting in general, but definitely not at the end of the year. And then it'll probably pick back up at the beginning of the year.

[00:04:14] Bagel: Gotcha. And after years of supporting fyt and our clients, it's very, very cool to see that you started your own business. I know it’s something that you hadn't necessarily thought that you would do, and then all of a sudden you found yourself like right in the thick of it and within a couple months here you are running a, a full-fledged accounting business.

So must be a pretty cool feeling.

[00:04:38] Rebecca Kittel: It's, it is a really cool feeling. It's also very terrifying. Because you're right, for a long time now, I have very adamantly said, I am not going to start a business. And then look what happened. So, I'm really, really grateful. There's the first, first time I've said the word. Very grateful to be doing what I'm doing and I'm gonna use that word a lot.

[00:05:01] Bagel: Yeah, definitely. Well, I'm very grateful to have had you on my team for so long and we could probably spend an hour talking about that, but we won't. We'll kind of talk a little bit more about what you're grateful for and we'll get into hearing a little bit about your experiences. So, that's a great segue.

Why don't we hear a little bit about why this idea or sort of broad topic of being grateful, having gratitude. Maybe specifically around the holidays. Why is this important or why is this matter to you?

[00:05:34] Rebecca Kittel: So in context to the show, I was thinking about strong values this time of year or things that resonate with people a lot. And this time of year, gratitude seems to be a common theme. So gratitude has really started to change my mind set in general. It's starting to frame the conversations, my attitude, the way that I think about things in a much more positive mindset. And then having gratitude, that positivity, all the changes that come along with that. Whether it's, you know, internal, there are so many effects that happen externally.

But having that, that sense of gratitude in turn influencing me so positively, I think it's starting to attract more people into my circle. Not necessarily just in a business way, also in personal. Which it attracts all types of people, other positive people, other not so positive people.

But in general, I'm just seeing a lot of goodness that's happening from having a different mindset.

[00:06:40] Bagel: Yeah, it's pretty cool. I think you touched on two main areas that I feel like we talk about on this podcast with different guests. Which is one being how your values kind of like guide you yourself. And like you talked about the fact that maybe you are more conscious of being thankful for things and having gratitude for things and how that actually can positively impact you and how you go about your day to day. Especially when you've got a lot of different priorities like running a family and running a business and everything else you've got going on in your life.

 But then there's also the piece of, you know, that's kind of the core. But then as you start to look outwardly, you know how being grateful for things and people actually helps attract some of the other people maybe who are thinking the same way or just helping you connect with people more. And it sounds like that's kind of happening for you. If you noticed a shift specifically this year. 

[00:07:43] Rebecca Kittel: Exactly, so I definitely, since you said it, I'll reiterate it. I do feel like I have a lot of different obligations and it's really easy for that to start to wear on you. Because I do find that I'm giving a lot of time, energy, my mental capacity. Professionally. And then, yes, I do have two young children, so they deserve the best parent that I can be too.

So it's easy to get weighed down and start to feel like everybody's taking something away. And I think the best way so far for me to try and balance that is to just pause for a second and realize that the things that are, that need my attention, just how grateful I am for them. 

[00:08:26] Bagel: Hmm. 

[00:08:27] Rebecca Kittel: And it, yes, rather than being exhausted by it, I'm trying to reframe it, continue to be energized by it.

[00:08:36] Bagel: Yeah. Are there some examples that are worth sharing or anything that has like particularly maybe changed your view or helped you in some way?

[00:08:48] Rebecca Kittel: So this is where I actually prepared to talk to you. Um, yes, I tried. So of course we have like the classic, I have a husband. I'm beyond grateful for him. I wouldn't be able to do half of what I do today without him. So that's, yes, I'm grateful for that. I am grateful that I have children. It's something I wanted very much.

So there's a lot of gratitude there. I'm grateful for where we are in life, not just with the house that we have and the things, but also just the stage of life where we are. So, a lot of appreciation on the internal side, where my mind is, where my body is, all of those things. That's, I think, pretty honestly standard for a lot of people.

 We have a lot of gratitude for the things that we have. I think the one thing that I would say I'm the most grateful for this year is the terrible experiences. The ones that made me question who I am, what am I doing? The ones that make you feel so terrible that you even wonder, why? Why do I feel so bad about this?

[00:09:55] Rebecca Kittel: Or why does this matter to me so much? And so I'm grateful for those, a lot. Because one they always draw me back to my values. So, when you have this intense reaction to something, I think it kind of makes me wonder, "Okay, well why? Why do I care so much about this? Why is this bothering me or hurting me so much?"

And so, this taking a moment and trying to get back to, okay, well what do I care about? And then how do I fix this situation? Or what can I do about it? So that's, that's one part of why I'm grateful for these bad experiences. And then the other thing is that I believe that all of these experiences are going to shape me into a better person.

Whether it's just better in, in the turn that I can help other people who will go through this, or maybe it'll help me relate to these people in a better way. Or if there maybe there's a different reason why I needed to experience this thing so that it would fundamentally change me or how I do something or how I'm approaching something.

So, and maybe this is actually pretty cheesy to say. I'm grateful for the terrible things, but really it's, it's taken a lot of mental fortitude, strength to realize or to decide, rather not realize, but to actually make the decision that these things, I'm going to turn them into something positive rather than letting them pull me down.

[00:11:33] Bagel: Hmm, that's really insightful. You may have seen my eyes light up when you said that part of the bad experiences. You know, kind of having gratitude for those specifically. And it's not because I want you to suffer, but it's because I can relate to that and I bet a lot of people listening probably can as well.

 I have a few thoughts on what you just shared, I thought was there's a lot of, of good, like golden nuggets in there. But the most pressing thing I kind of wanna know is the last thing you talked about of just having that positive. You didn't say reframe, but it's kind of how I interpreted what you said is like having resilience and turning a negative or a challenge, or something like really tough into a positive.

[00:12:24] Bagel: I'm curious if you know for yourself where that comes from.

[00:12:29] Rebecca Kittel: I have an idea, but that's a really good question. I was raised in a religious household and I think I have this belief that it's important that I'm able to treat other people the way that I wanna be treated. So I often wanna put myself in someone else's shoes, which lends me to always wanting to relate to people who go through experiences that I've been through, you know, good or bad.

But in this case, focusing more on the bad. So I think that's where this decision has kind of come from. And maybe it's just because now that some of these things have happened to me and I've been able to experience the silver lining of the bad things, maybe that's why I've kind of resorted to this reframe, like you said. Yeah.

[00:13:24] Bagel: You know, just to have a real moment. Like these are the things that I'm often so curious about is like. You talk to some people, and let me just preface this by saying like, sometimes people have a bad day and that's Okay.

So this is not judgment, but, I noticed, you talk to certain people and they just have this sense of resilience where they can sort of pick themselves up out of any situation and see the bright side. And figure out how to learn from it and grow from it.

And it, there's sort of like this growth mindset. And I do wonder how much of that is innate, like we're born with versus how much of it is learned. And probably like everything in the world, I'm sure it's a combination of the two. But you talked a little bit about your upbringing and, maybe some of the values that were instilled in you from like a religious household, for example. And how that kind of taught you to always like, you know, think about your neighbor, the other person that is maybe going through something. And I actually grew up with a very similar upbringing, just in a different religion of always kind of thinking about how your actions affect other people.

And I'm always just so curious, like, obviously, there are people who are not religious or different religions than the two of us that might also have been taught that or learned that in their lifetime. So it's not just about one particular belief system. But there's some similarity I'm noticing about like that empathy that you can have for other people and how that might influence, like seeing the positive in things and like always trying to figure out how to move forward and grow from things. Not a hypothesis, just an observation, if that makes sense. 

[00:15:03] Bagel: Yeah, just cuz this is how my brain works, like just to be as inclusive as possible, not saying here that you must subscribe to a religion to be a good person. I think there's plenty of examples of folks who, who don't, Right. And who are not within those, those boundaries or whatever. But, just noticing those kinds of similarities I guess more than anything. 

[00:15:23] Rebecca Kittel: Yeah. I could probably also add that I grew up in a military family. And so we moved a lot, we went through a lot of different cultural experiences, a lot of different living experiences. So there is definitely a big heavy influence in my life for resiliency. Growing where you're planted, leaning on your family a lot in my case. So that that probably colors my perception of this very heavily. I didn't even think about that until you said that. So that, that is a big factor for sure.

[00:15:54] Bagel: Yeah. Yeah Just to, to give people a sense of like, how often did you have to move around when you were growing up? 

[00:16:04] Rebecca Kittel: I, I think it averaged out every two years. Sometimes it was shorter than that. The longest I lived anywhere was four years, and I didn't even pass that until I was married. We had bought a house, and even then I only beat that record by six months. So I've never lived anywhere for longer than four and a half a half years.

[00:16:25] Bagel: Yeah. Which, I mean, I think you know, if there's some other military kids out there, they can probably relate. But I would think like an average civilian might hear that and go, Whoa, like, that's kind of crazy. Like, I felt like I moved around a lot as a kid, but you definitely way more than I did. And so I have a greater appreciation for just how much adaptability is sort of forced on you to be able to do that.

 I'm curious, how did you learn how to be adaptable? and was it hard every time you had to adapt to a new environment?

[00:17:00] Rebecca Kittel: I think you're right because there's probably a couple different ways that having to be so adaptable could have influenced me. It could have been traumatic, right? I'm sure plenty of people out there will say this was really very traumatic for them. But I think the reason why it wasn't, was because my mom. And the way that she approached things and she just, she made it into an adventure.

She made it exciting. And then I was lucky enough to come from a family where we were, it was the core four of us. So I had mom, I had a dad, I had an older sister. It was always the four of us. It didn't matter where we went or what we did, you know, we could be in an absolute just back alley of Italy, or we could be, you know, in New York next to the Statue of Liberty.

It didn't matter. It was just the four of us. And with that, like I just had my safety net. There was, I didn't have, didn't have a lot of insecurities when it came to my family. 

[00:18:03] Bagel: Yeah. 

[00:18:04] Rebecca Kittel: Mm-hmm.  

[00:18:05] Bagel: And I imagine that's, that's something that you're probably grateful for looking back on childhood. 

[00:18:12] Rebecca Kittel: Mm-hmm. Very much so. Now that I'm a parent, it means a lot more to me. Or perhaps I just feel differently about it. And then of course, as you grow and you have experiences around other people who maybe didn't have that, maybe they also did, but things influenced them differently. The exact same experiences made them feel complete opposite way.

[00:18:35] Bagel: Yeah. So every time we talk, I feel like I uncover more similarities between us. We also have a lot of differences, but, it's funny to hear you talk about your mom making it an adventure and how the unit of the four of you and it kind of felt safe and, and all that. And I could see how that could give you fond memories of what maybe for others might feel like a chaotic living situation of having to hop around constantly.

 I've shared this with you a little bit and I'll kind of just share just for context, like I also had a little bit of a chaotic upbringing where my youngest brother, I also have one sibling, was often sick when he was very young. He had a lot of medical complications and kind of back and forth to hospitals and living in New Jersey, but going to hospitals in Philadelphia and all this sort of thing.

[00:19:32] Bagel: And I remember also like when I think back to childhood, even though there were parts of it that felt chaotic. My dad was kind of the rock that everything like you described, always kind of felt like it was an adventure. Even those, those trips in the car driving down to Philadelphia, you would just make the games out of like what exit's gonna be and how long is it gonna take for us to get from this point to that point.

And like, just the random stuff that just made it feel a little bit more routine, honestly, and tolerable. And even fun and adventurous, can make such a big difference in, in like how you remember things. So that, that's pretty cool. You, you made me realize that too. 

[00:20:16] Rebecca Kittel: Yeah. And that's also, I think, a good example of where your dad made a conscious decision to reframe the whole experience. You know, it's hard because I have a different perspective now when I hear these stories, I think. Where what I'm hearing is that it was a better experience for you, but also that this parent had to make a conscious decision of, okay, this could be scary, this could be really hard, you know, this is my child, but I'm gonna make a decision that this is gonna be a good experience for all of us.

And, and really take on that, that reframe for everybody. So that's, that's really special.

[00:20:58] Bagel: Yeah, definitely. So how does any of those experiences that you had as a kid growing up in those circumstances and keeping in mind what you're thankful for? Has that impacted how you parent your kids? Or what values you instill in your family? 

[00:21:22] Rebecca Kittel: Oh man, that's a really hard question. 

[00:21:25] Bagel: You didn't know what you were getting yourself into 

[00:21:27] Rebecca Kittel: Ooh, 

[00:21:28] Bagel: you signed up to do an interview, did you? 

[00:21:29] Rebecca Kittel: I did not, in my mind I was like, we're just gonna discuss gratitude. 

It's a really good question cause obviously it impacts the way that I parent a lot. I've been very fortunate that the kids haven't gone through very many really difficult situations. But in the few that we have that I can think of right now, it's still something that I'm choosing and it's hard that I'm choosing this for them.

I'm choosing the way I'm gonna explain this hard thing to them, I'm choosing the way we're going to remember the difficult thing or whatever it is. And I don't wanna say that it's a burden because it's a privilege to be someone's parent, I think. But it's hard, it's really hard to sit back and be like, Okay, this scary thing, you know, we're gonna change the way that you're gonna remember this

 So yeah, it, I, I am definitely more intentional about the way that we go through some of these experiences.

[00:22:24] Bagel: Yeah. And I'm not a parent yet, so I can only imagine. It's always insightful to hear parents talking through some of the challenges that they have. And I can imagine it may feel sometimes like there's, you know, the weight of the world on your shoulders with like, Oh, is this, you know, how is this going to affect my kids if, if I do it this way or that way?

I'm sure there can be a lot of indecision and maybe some anxiety around how to approach things. But at the same time you can rely so much on your, the strength of your own experiences to know like, I may not be perfect, but I turned out okay.

You know, despite, some of the things my parents probably didn't do perfectly. So I don't know that, 

[00:23:07] Rebecca Kittel: No, you're right. It's the positive and negative experiences that we had as children that are gonna, they are gonna frame the way that you approach it and make the decisions for the, the little minds that you're now in charge of. So that's absolutely true. Clearly, I'm just now realizing this is a learned skill, that I learned from my mom and I'm choosing to pass this on to my children. 

And I didn't think that we were gonna talk about being a parent so much for sure. But, you know, when you sit back and think about your own holiday experiences, I don't necessarily remember where certain things happened or what I ate. I don't remember a lot of the gifts I was given as a kid. Not because I wasn't grateful for them, but because it was more the feeling that those holidays gave to me.

 And so that's kind of what I, what I remember when it comes to the holidays is the fact that usually I was around family. I was usually very happy. If you just close your eyes and think about what the holiday was like, you probably heard some kind of music, maybe the Macy Day parade in the background, or there's probably somebody in the kitchen preparing some kind of meal. Or you're getting to see family that you haven't seen in forever.

[00:24:24] Rebecca Kittel: And just this feeling of excitement everywhere. So yes, it's kind of like curating an experience that you wanna pass on. 

[00:24:34] Bagel: Yeah. It sounds like it was, the holidays were something that you looked forward to in that case. 

[00:24:43] Rebecca Kittel: Yes, and again, it probably, I recognize now that I'm older that is basically a privilege that it was an exciting event for me. Because there's definitely no doubt that for some people this time of year is not 

something that they look forward to. And so of course we acknowledge that. I understand that.

But yeah, for me, looking forward to the holidays was an exciting event every time.

 That's cool. It feels like we're talking about the holidays that come at the end of the year. Is that kind of what you're envisioning too? Like Thanksgiving, Christmas kind of time.

[00:25:21] Bagel: or are there other holidays that, that you also felt like you were looking forward to a lot?

[00:25:28] Rebecca Kittel: So when I was a lot younger, it was definitely, Christmas was always number one because being a military family and I can't remember all of the rules. But you would be allowed to take leave, especially if you lived overseas. I think there was a certain limit of how many trips they would allow you to take back home.

And so we would always coordinate ours the big trip would be to go see my family in Vicksburg. And it was just the most magical experience despite Christmas, always being hot. Um, it was the most magical experience, seeing family and getting to spend time with them and do things that we don't normally get to do.

Just nothing but amazing memories. Thanksgiving being the second, because it, no matter what, again, it would always be the four of us. We would have fun no matter where we go. And then probably third would've been Easter. again, realizing how much I'm influenced by my upbringing 

But yes, Easter would probably be actually the third holiday. It's changed a little bit now that I'm older. 

[00:26:27] Bagel: Yeah, I liked your description of what the holidays felt like because it actually feels similar to mine as well. So Thanksgiving for my family was the holiday that my parents hosted for most of my life, even through, my parents in Jersey still host, and it just kind of always felt like our holiday, you know, it's like when your family hosts one. You know, it kind of feels like the big to do. And so the Thanksgiving, you know, Macy's Thanksgiving parade on TV in the morning and like helping everything set up. And I was usually asked to stay out of the kitchen, but you know, clearly smelling what's being cooked.

[00:27:09] Bagel: And then of course, like I'm a big sports fan, so like starting to put the games on and family rolling in and all that sort of thing. And like, since I'm Jewish, I don't, I didn't celebrate Christmas much growing up other than maybe going to a friend's house who was Christian.

 So Thanksgiving around this time of year always felt like the thing I looked forward to, the thing that brought comfort. And there's also this feeling of like winding the year down that I think I still appreciate to this day. You know, I think after. Traditional schooling like either at the end of high school or after college or whatever.

[00:27:48] Bagel: You sort of don't know how your year structured. It's like you're so used to semesters and like the school year for a lot of people running from like September through June or whatever it is. But there always seem to be this natural break as the end of the calendar year started to come. Cause like for the most part, most people have some time off around that time of year and Thanksgiving always felt like that signal that that was coming.

And I think like up north with the colder weather coming in, usually by that time there's just, there's a lot of like known factors that seem to like be signed signals maybe that like are pointing towards. Okay, this is the same thing that happens every year. And it might not feel exactly the same, but there's a lot of familiarity to it.

 So that's something that I think I look forward to a lot with holidays. Is that familiarity. And it sounds like for you too, did you say Vicksburg like Mississippi? Is that where you were? Okay. I, I had no idea. So that was something it sounds like, that you hopefully looked forward to.

[00:28:57] Bagel: Was that something that you tried to do every year, was to see that family around Christmas time? 

[00:29:03] Rebecca Kittel: We did. We did. That was where my mom's family was from, and we made just about every single effort for many, many years to get there. And of course, things change and always my most treasured memories are always from Vicksburg, Mississippi. So, yes, that's right. You know what's interesting though, that I hear you saying is there was a familiarity for me.

Vicksburg was always home base no matter what. Didn't matter where we went in the world that was home base. And yes, that predictability and routine and comfort are a lot of things that are making me think of the holidays. 

[00:29:44] Bagel: Yeah. 

[00:29:45] Rebecca Kittel: But then you go to, for you, you go to this almost end of the year closing a chapter, you know, is there like a sense of newness for you?

Are you a big New Year's person? Do you really enjoy that? Do you set new resolutions every year?

[00:30:02] Bagel: Yeah. That's a good question. It does feel like closing a chapter every year, and I think there's something very comforting about that as well. Especially as you and I have both been in this like journey of entrepreneurship, like I'm realizing more and more that having more finite starts and ends to things is like the best way to stay disciplined with almost anything.

And you know, I guess the calendar exists for a reason, right? Like some, you know, the year round the sun, I guess. And it's nice to actually feel like you're starting and ending something. And I, I think for me, again, a lot of these things sort of are just organic, like with the things I mentioned of it getting colder and the winter and the time off that most people have 

And it just feels like the appropriate time to like take a break and slow down. And then naturally it then feels like it's that January is the right time to like start things back up. And. I have not set New Year's resolutions probably since I was like 12. I am very bad at setting broad goals and following through with them.

And so I, I gave that up a long time ago. But, I do try to think about what are the things that I really would like to accomplish in the year ahead? And I try to set some intentions and either way it feels like there's like a renewal of spirit and like a renewal of energy, around that time of year.

And one thing I, I've shared in pieces on the podcast, I think actually in that first Bagel bite from this season is my friends and I used to have a tradition at the end of the year, usually around New Year's to go to the Poconos in Pennsylvania, for like a three or four day retreat kind of getaway with just friends and hanging out with like no agenda pretty much for a few days.

And that always felt like like the highlight of closing the year out was like seeing almost all of my good friends in one place to end the year and kind of get that fun social time.

And it was always a nice thing. I wish that tradition kept going. It was only about four or five years of it, but it always felt nice. 

[00:32:28] Rebecca Kittel: Yeah, that is one unique difference between you and I. I think growing up and moving around a lot, I was kind of forced, also happily to do so, of course, cuz I don't know any different. To rely on my family and always look to them and it's really unique to hear that your holiday experience center is very much around getting together with your close friends and spending intentional time with them doing things that you guys all enjoy to do.

 That's, that is a unique difference between us and something that I, it doesn't come up for me when I think about the holidays. Not cuz I don't love my friends or I'm not grateful for them, but 

[00:33:06] Bagel: Yeah, 

[00:33:06] Rebecca Kittel: a pretty big difference between you and I.

[00:33:08] Bagel: Yeah, that's a good point. I mean, and I think that just speaks to how holidays and traditions can look very different for everybody. And you know, we've sort of acknowledged you acknowledge and I will acknowledge, you know, the privilege of having people in my life to that I do care about that.

I care enough to see every year around the holidays and that's definitely a privilege and a nice thing. Yeah, I mean, it's like, you know, for me it may be that the friends that I wanna see, it feels like the right time of year to do that for you. It sort of, you know, became a tradition to see the family in Vicksburg and elsewhere.

And for other people it may be different. You know, it's like, I just think that's cool because it's, it, it can feel a little bit forced upon us to feel like, Oh, like holidays are for family and everyone should celebrate these holidays and everyone should celebrate them this way. And it's like, no, it's not the world anymore.

It's not how people are. And everyone has their own way of sort of signifying what means something to them. And yeah, I just, I think that's cool. 

[00:34:32] Bagel: What are your holidays like? Is there one in particular that you look forward to the most each year? Do you have any favorite holiday traditions? What are some of the values that are most important to you around the holiday season?

[00:34:44] Rebecca Kittel: Yeah, I definitely agree. And so obviously gratitude, holidays over the year, they change, what was my number one holiday was Christmas. Now that I'm older, it's been replaced by Thanksgiving. Which is kind of what led you and I to come up with the idea for this. And I wonder if it's a common thing between both of us, Thanksgiving being such, maybe our favorite holiday, is this sense of gratitude and kind of taking a minute to actually be thankful.

[00:35:22] Bagel: Hmm. 

[00:35:23] Rebecca Kittel: I know that in a previous episode, you've definitely talked about intentional thinking and 

mindful thinking. So, Thanksgiving gratitude, it's probably something we should practice all the time and not just around the holidays. 

[00:35:38] Bagel: Yeah, definitely. Yeah. And I don't know about you, but you know, it's like there are certain things that happen on the calendar that sort of naturally remind you. Like we've just, we've probably hit on at least a handful of them. Like everyone is, you know, grateful or gives thanks on Thanksgiving, literally in the name, right?

And so it's like our signal that that's the thing we should be thinking about. Usually around New Year's. It's your New Year's resolutions. Like there's probably certain holidays that imply a certain way of thinking, but how can you take those things that are maybe are important to you, that maybe are values, or at least part of who you are and who you wanna be.

And actually practice them more regularly. Is that something that you have already tried to do? Or what does that look like for you right now to try to do in some different way? 

[00:36:35] Rebecca Kittel:  For me right now with where we are in life, it's a choice just about every day to decide to be thankful. It seems like over the last few years, society in general, it's a lot easier for us to be more negative. For obvious reasons. But choosing to be grateful and not just for the things, but also as who you are on the inside with where you are in life now, that's a really hard decision. But we talked about how it benefits us. So bringing other people into the circle of your life and how those people are going to impact your life, how you are probably gonna impact them. I think gratitude's, something else really important about it that I wanted to mention to you is that I think it makes you more resilient.

[00:37:33] Rebecca Kittel: think it makes it easier for you to react to the hard times. It has a lot of physical benefits too. You sleep better, you are thinking more clearly, your stress level is down, and it's hard to see a downside of being so grateful. And you don't have to go to the extent of being like the yoga teacher meditating in the corner every day. To answer your question a little bit more tangibly, to practice gratitude. As crazy as it sounds, it's the last thing that I do every day. I think about what I'm grateful for and I kind of start at the top of the list. And as silly as it sounds sometimes, this is how I put myself to sleep.

[00:38:14] Rebecca Kittel: For me, negative thinking is something I fall into just about every night. It's so strange, especially this time of year. So ending my day thinking about what I'm grateful for, it does not matter how small it is. It could be an experience of the day. It could have been, you know, the fact that I didn't, yeah, I fell leaving the house today, but didn't land on my face.

You know, just reframing, changing it has a really strong impact on everything else that your, your life has. 

[00:38:49] Bagel: That's powerful. And I like the nightly practice. I think that's a really good way to ease your mind. It's like, I feel like you just did a commercial for gratitude. You're like, Here's all the benefits, now go do it. You have no excuse. 

[00:39:03] Rebecca Kittel: no side effects. 

[00:39:04] Bagel: good things. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I mean, it just got me thinking and reflecting, like I've been trying to get back in a daily habit.

 I have an app shameless plug, it's called the Five Minute Journal. I think I'm on the free version of it, it has prompts in the morning and at night. And it's nice to just like check in and feel like, yes, these are the three things I'm grateful for.

[00:39:26] Bagel: This is how I'm gonna make today great. I think That's what's like, the morning routine and then at night it's like, you know what, were basically like successes from the day. And it is powerful. I mean, it does help change my thinking a lot on a day to day basis. And I definitely, as you know, struggle with that self-talk as, one of my coworkers like loves to call it stinking thinking. How do you get 

[00:39:50] Rebecca Kittel: nice. That's a good one.

[00:39:52] Bagel: And it, it really does have like these powerful benefits of just like reframing, I think in a lot of cases of you may have things like you said, could have gone wrong or did go wrong, but like there's always a bright side to it. And I think it's just like training your mind to notice the positives and be thankful for the things that have gone well. Because it's so easy, our brains are like so wired to see danger and to, to be able to recognize like threats and risks. And so it's a natural way of thinking, but we have to train ourselves to like remind ourselves of all the good sometimes. How do you do it? Is it just writing down on a journal or what does it look like for you? 

[00:40:33] Rebecca Kittel: Sometimes on the days where it's after five o'clock, usually after I've put the kids to bed and it's exactly what you just said. But it's like my brain is thinking, Okay, well where's the problem? Like as if there always has to be a problem. Where there are plenty of problems in the world, just pick one.

But for me, when I start to get that overwhelming feeling of like, Okay, what did I forget? Or what's not right? Whatever it is, I learned to grab a pen and paper and just start listing down either the things that are on my mind negative and close the book and put it away. Or perhaps it's like a to-do list, which can always be helpful for the next day. Or on the best nights, it's, Hey, I just need to be reminded about what I appreciate. And then, there are plenty of nights where I don't do this at all. So I definitely don't wanna give anybody the impression, especially my husband would laugh if I said, I do this every night. Because I definitely don't. For me also, thankfully, it doesn't have to be a physical thing that I'm sitting there doing.

Fortunately, I'm at a place now where I can do that while I'm maybe even falling asleep for the day. Just trying to stop myself from thinking, Oh, I needed to do this one more thing before I fall asleep. And just thinking, Okay, I'm gonna think about these other positive things instead.

Or you know, another one, a school pickup line is a very frustrating part of the day where literally nothing else can get done. And I've tried the hotspot and all the things. It doesn't lend itself to productivity at all. So, at least I could change my mind set in those many minutes sitting there, it feels like.

[00:42:20] Bagel: Yeah. I love that. It's like how can you use built in time where you know you have to be in one place and you can't just be on a computer on your, on your phone and you have to be there and be mindful, but using it to, to help give some gratitude and reframe your mind a little bit. I think that's a cool habit.

[00:42:45] Rebecca Kittel: I have a feeling that everybody has a moment like that throughout the day where there's, you can't be productive, you can't get anything else done. Maybe don't do this while you're driving, thinking about all the things you're grateful for and then getting distracted. There's always those couple of minutes and you know how much we both love productivity and efficiency. So squeezing in a boost of positivity when there's nothing else that you can get done is kind of a win-win. 

[00:43:09] Bagel: Yeah. I love it. I'm just gonna flip the script for a second. You talked about the benefits of doing the gratitude practice, and I know you said you don't do it necessarily every single day. But what about the other side of the coin?

What happens when you don't? And what happens when the self-critic overtakes your head or your mind and or life? What is, what does that look like and how are you able to notice when that's happening too? 

[00:43:37] Rebecca Kittel:  So usually the first sign that that is about to happen is I start to feel really anxious. So it's like a physical, internal feeling. A lot of negative self-talk like you talked about. when it's not that bad, I'm fortunate that I can turn to my husband and talk to him about it and say, Look, I'm just feeling this way and unfortunately, you're gonna have to talk to me about this. Which is funny cuz it's not his nature at all.

 When it gets to be too much. I would very much advocate to find a good therapist. It's something that I did ironically right before I started a business and has been maybe one of the most valuable things I could have done for myself. Especially after what feels like a really hard couple of years and there's just not enough good things that I could say about having a licensed professional to help you get out of what feels like a very deep hole.

[00:44:36] Bagel: Hmm. Yeah. Yeah. And good for you for recognizing that and having the courage to do that and to find someone to help you with that. Because even though mental health is less taboo now than it was 2, 3, 5, 10 years ago. It still can be a tough thing to make that decision or seek out that help. It's good to know that it's been helpful for you. And just also what you said about it showing up as anxiety and possibly even like other physical symptoms I know can sort of take over sometimes for people, myself included. And it's so important to notice those things.

I would say, I feel very similarly to you. Like I can start to feel the anxiety, that's usually the first sign that maybe I'm in a negative space and maybe feeling overwhelmed or stressed about things, for valid reasons. But, it's usually once I start to sense some of the physical symptoms that I can notice that. Yeah, this is overtaking me in a bad way and usually is a good sign to pay attention to. To figure out, okay, what do I really need to do here? And usually checking in with yourself, you know, at that point it might be less about having gratitude and more about like, addressing your stress level and your anxiety level and you know, maybe talking to a mental health professional and all that sort of thing.

[00:46:03] Rebecca Kittel: Yeah, and that definitely takes some self-awareness, which is easier to do when you're more mindful about yourself. But I also really like that I think we just came full circle because the thing that I'm most grateful for this year is all the terrible, hard times. So maybe the connection here is really just that the terrible and hard times give us these easier moments of gratitude when we're not experiencing those things. And how maybe we have to go through these hard things in order to be more grateful for what we do have and more grateful for maybe some of the things we're not experiencing,

[00:46:42] Bagel: Yeah, absolutely. I love that it came full circle to that and I think that's great cuz it brought me back to just a couple things I wanted to mention about adversity and growth. And I think that's kind of what you're referring to is. We won't grow if we're not challenged, right? Like we have to, we have to be stretched in order to come back to and then, and then continue to, to grow in the right direction sort of thing.

And just building that resilience is the thing that always gets talked about. Which is obviously such a huge important life skill to have. But what I'm starting to sense here in our conversation and kind of in my own world and what I've been doing too, is like gratitude may be a step towards building that resilience. Like having gratitude and being thankful for what you do have allows you to see that you do have those kinds of privileges and there are things that are going your way and can allow you to like attack a problem with more clarity and confidence. 

[00:47:52] Rebecca Kittel: I think that you're right. If we all recognize that this practice of gratitude actually makes us stronger and more capable of handling the hard times, maybe we'd all be a lot better off. I should really write that down and put it on a mirror somewhere.

Well, you'll have full access to this recording very soon too, 

you know, go back and, and listen and highlight anything you want. Mm-hmm.

[00:48:09] Bagel: Well, what else would you like to share? I know we, we danced around quite a, a lot around why the topic matters and what you're thankful for and kind of what it looks like in your daily life. But is there anything else that you thought you wanted to share?

[00:48:36] Rebecca Kittel: Yeah. I think that a nice thing to share with the audience would just be some ways to practice gratitude. You know, we talked about journaling and how that works for us. I think that there are probably some other really easy ways to integrate it into our daily life. You know, just thinking about it throughout the day or just whenever is frankly convenient.

Also, I think that saying thank you is a really easy way to do that. So obviously we're in the Thanksgiving season, so it's kind of natural to start saying thank you to the people around you that matter the most. In my case, that's been actually saying thank you and sending cards to family that I don't get to see that often anymore, particularly my family in Vicksburg.

 Professionally, I'm taking the opportunity in my first year to really thank the people who have made a big difference in my business and actually just any difference really. And just letting them know how thankful I am. What business would exist if they didn't have people supporting them, Right?

[00:49:34] Rebecca Kittel: It's hard to exist if you don't have somebody at least even trying to cheer you on. So just want them to feel and know the impact that they're having on me and frankly, my whole family. 

And. I think those were the only things that I was able to come up easily with as far as practicing gratitude.

[00:49:56] Bagel: Yeah.

I think that's great. Sometimes just the simple things that are actually doable are the best advice, right? Like, it's like stuff that maybe people know, like, you know, there's probably a million and a half blogs podcast and videos out there about the positive effects of journaling, right?

And I literally just got a new one today by that same company who makes the app I talked about earlier. But I was excited about it. And the first question it asks you is like, what are you intending to get from using this journal? And it's like, just those little reflections can just help you understand your yourself a little bit more and hopefully help you grow.

 I really love just the notion of just giving thanks and saying thank you.

[00:50:40] Bagel: And I, I like that you're incorporating that into the end of your year here. Especially as you take on a big life change, like starting a business, that's a really big deal. And just by you sharing with others how you're thankful for any ways that they may have helped you along that journey.

I think it's reciprocal, Right.

Like you're building connection through that. You're building your network through that. Not, not that you're doing it for that reason, but being authentic and being thankful is that people want to be around you, like physically or, you know, virtually in the world that we're in now.

So I just think that's a really cool practice and one that is a lot easier said than done. I think too, 

[00:51:27] Rebecca Kittel: Absolutely. And what works today is probably not gonna be the thing that works three months from now. So I definitely love the idea of journaling, but know that it's probably something I can only keep up for 90 days. And then even putting a reminder on my calendar or task manager or whatever it is, of maybe changing the way that I'm actually working on that.

 It definitely takes dedication and I really think that this might be the exception of the rule of "when you do something for 30 days, it becomes a habit." I don't know. Gratitude works against our natural human nature very much.

 I think they say like the three week mark is usually when, if you're doing it consistently, it truly becomes that habit. So go ahead and start journaling now. That's the message. All right. Anything else that you wanna share before we wrap up? Thank you for the opportunity to talk about this. It's something that's important to me. Maybe not all the time, but especially this time of year. And you're right, it's a really good way to end the year. Great attitude of gratitude to go into the not always so easy holiday season.

[00:52:41] Rebecca Kittel: Sometimes it's the memories that we'll remember for the rest of our lives, good or bad, and they're gonna be here before we know it, no matter what.

[00:52:50] Bagel: That's absolutely right. Well, you've given us a lot of great insight and thanks for sharing your experiences and being authentic as always, and it's nice to have you on this side of the camera, so to speak. And letting people get to know Becca a little bit. So thanks for doing it. 

[00:53:10] Rebecca Kittel: Oh yes, absolutely. Thank you so much. 

[00:53:12] Bagel: Thanks again for listening to this episode of the live your values podcast, we really value feedback. So please rate and review us on Apple, Spotify, or your favorite podcast listening app. Make sure to subscribe so you don't miss all new episodes of LYV. Special thanks to Emma Peck and Joel Lindenfeld for branding design, Danielle Gelber for marketing strategy and Rebecca Kittel with fyt for operations support.

Until next time, get out there and LYV.