Now that the holiday season is about to hit full swing, chances are that you will soon be giving and receiving and thanking up a storm! It can be inspirational, and it can be overwhelming. But when I think about gratitude in the context of my business and my life, I remind myself that it should be the keystone both.
Some people think of gratitude as a burden. Imagine a 12-year-old sitting down to write a stack of thank-you notes after his birthday, and you’ll get the picture. But I prefer to think of it not as a burden but as a blessing. Or more specifically, I really think of it is as a practice. Gratitude is a way of seeing the world.
And gratitude is so much more than a thank you note or sending flowers. Don’t get me wrong, those things are wonderful and it does feel so good to send gestures like these. In fact, giving gifts for a good reason or no reason at all is one of my favorite things to do. But gratitude is a feeling first; and how you express it comes second. Feeling gratitude on a daily basis completely changes how you see the world. It keeps you from becoming offended so easily. It helps you give people the benefit of the doubt. It makes you not take yourself or others so seriously. Gratitude is really like a miracle drug. It greatly impacts your outlook on life.
Now this all sounds great, right? But the hard part is the consistency or what I call “practicing” gratitude. Yes, it requires practice to maintain a spirit of gratitude in the midst of a demanding schedule, in the face of unexpected challenges. But if you are willing to make your gratitude practice a priority, it will definitely support you and guide you through all your life’s moments of both joy and sorrow.
Some suggestions from my own experiences that help keep me centered in a place of gratitude include:
- Living in the present moment. This means no dwelling in the past or missing out on today for “one day” thinking about the future! One day is TODAY, tomorrow isn’t guaranteed!
- Counting my many blessings on a daily basis. For me that’s through keeping a daily gratitude journal and numbering them sequentially through the year. By this time of year, I am into the thousands of things I am grateful for this year. And it makes an impression on your when you write the #1199 reason you are grateful this year. It proves to you daily that you truly are blessed. Trust me, you’ll love this approach.
- Turning obstacles and challenges around and seeing them as opportunities for growth. I have made this an art, but it took years to get there. I now have very short “Pity Parties” if I have one at all, and I am able to shake things off quickly and look for the silver lining. This is a habit that ensures I am happy 99% of the time.
When you begin these or other gratitude practices, the power of gratitude will move beyond your personal life and will seep into your work life. You’ll quickly see how transformational it can be for your business. And, there is a key link that I want you to see between gratitude and abundance. When you are able to recognize that you live in a world of abundance, that there is enough for everyone, then you are feeling gratitude.
How many times a day do you say to yourself or someone else, “We/I don’t have enough ________!” Fill in that blank with time, money, information, or things. If you start to notice and acknowledge how much time you spend focused on what you don’t have, you’ll probably be surprised. Developing a strong sense of gratitude counterbalances those scarcity beliefs and keeps you on-course to your goals for an abundant life. It helps you believe there is enough time, money and everything else to go around, and it gives you confidence to go after the life you have imagined!
So now that you feel gratitude bubbling up inside of you and you are ready to express it, go for it! It is a gift that you share with the world. But it is an even greater gift to yourself. How are you showing or telling your family, clients, employees, friends, craftspeople, vendors, EVERYONE that you are grateful? Now might be a perfect moment for a self-assessment. Are you expressing gratitude in ways large and small? If so, how? Let me know in the comments section below!
Thank you for being here with me – for reading my blog and for commenting! I appreciate each and every one of you!