27 Apr Practicing Gratitude
First published on LinkedIn, April 2020
Many years ago, I started a practice which slowly became a treasured habit. I started writing down my gratitude’s each morning before my “workday” began. I found that dedicating this time to reflecting on all that I appreciated and valued in my life grounded me. When I would hit a wall, get frustrated, disappointed, or simply just lose my way – I could pull up that list from the morning and quickly recharge.
As time went on, I discovered a great addition to this practice. After I wrote out my present-day gratitudes, I allowed myself to envision my future. I write out my future gratitudes with “I am grateful now for … ” letting them be said and felt as if they have already happened. Over time this moved from feeling like a dream of what could be into a solid belief of what will be. It motivated and excited me, keeping me continually pushing to learn new things and stretch into areas of discomfort.
Over the last several years, I’ve been able to work with some truly talented entrepreneurs and leaders. They’ve inspired me to do better each day. I found myself often sharing my morning ritual with them, encouraging them to embrace these few moments of self-indulgence as a means to increase their own clarity and commitment. I’ve been told countless stories of the positive impact this had made on their professional lives, and that they have then shared their new habits with others around them.
In the last 30-45 days, our collective society has undergone once unimaginable change as we adjust to social distancing, quarantines, and the general disruption to our way of life — a way of life once easily taken for granted. Then earlier this afternoon, during a meeting a colleague showed me the wall in her kitchen. Covered in post-it notes, I first thought it was a way to help her kids stay on track with projects or chores. I was wrong. Each post-it note is a gratitude written by her and her teen children. They each have their own color and keep it simple. A name or word is all they need put down on the paper to give it meaning and impact.
What would that be like if we had a wall (or virtual wall) in our offices that our co-workers and clients could share in? How would your day go if your first few moments were spent reflecting on the good? No matter how much garbage is thrown at you in a day, I believe there is always something good to find in each situation. If collectively we can find ways to continually embrace and celebrate the wins, no matter how small – and then embrace the opportunities of tomorrow, what would that do for our businesses, our relationships and our lives?
Ultimately, we have a choice each day. Trust that inside every cloud is silver lining or going running for hills in belief that the sky is falling. Yes, we do have much hard work ahead of us to recover from the current situation. I’d simply rather find some laughter and share a smile while I’m doing my part.