I hope everyone enjoyed a long holiday weekend with friends and family, unplugged, relaxing and reflecting on all there is that you are thankful for. I have a tremendous amount to be thankful for. I know you do too.
Gratitude is the antidote to almost everything – fear, mediocrity, sadness, anger. Try it. Right now. Try to be both grateful and angry at the same time. Gratitude fills you and those around you with joy. Last week we talked about how to tap into unconditional happiness. Gratitude is a great way to start. Now, I love that people embrace this time of year to do 30 days of gratitude challenges and share what they are thankful for around the dinner table. I want to challenge you all though to take it a step further. You know that joy you feel when you show gratitude? What if that was a daily practice in your life? Not something you did one day or two months out of the year, but every day. Gratitude and giving are a funny thing. They are both about getting outside of yourself and thinking about others, yet the one who benefits the most from expressing gratitude or giving is you. Sometimes it may feel self-serving and sometimes it may feel like you are giving everything to others and forgetting about yourself. But ultimately, it’s a win-win.
Yesterday, I took my two older kids to see the new Grinch movie. Which, by the way, I highly recommend – a great mix of vibrant animation and belly laughs (the kind that causes you to spill your popcorn from all the laughter!). The lessons in that story are just as valid today as they were when Dr. Seuss wrote How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 1957. Christmas is not about presents and indulging in elaborate meals. Christmas is about community, spending quality time with friends and family, celebrating a higher being, and loving your fellow man.
We are fully immersed in the season of giving right now. It usually lasts from a few days before Thanksgiving until January 2. That means there are about 11 months out of the year where the majority of the population is not focused on gratitude or giving. No judgment here, I just think we, as a society, can do better. I think we can raise our consciousness and the general energy flow of the world by living with a grateful heart. I think we can all be more giving to others. I’m not really talking about material items, though if you have the means to do so, giving in that regards is certainly helpful. But I also mean more willing to give a listening ear, give forgiveness, give your time, give your friendship, give a helping hand to a stranger, give your leadership, give your love.
That’s what the season of giving is all about. I believe that the season of giving should not have a beginning and end but be a daily practice. Imagine what that world would look like! Do your part to make it a reality.
I have a daily gratitude practice that includes journaling about what I’m grateful for in general, and then another journal where I specifically write down what I am thankful for about my wife. Even though I focus a lot on this activity, I still slip. I’m not perfect and I don’t claim to be. I get angry, pissed, and frustrated. That’s why my daily gratitude practice is so important to me. It helps me so that those negative feelings don’t last nearly as long, not that I never have them, just that they pass faster then they used to. That is spiritual growth. This is how I start my day, every day.
First and foremost, I am grateful for my health and my family’s health. Without that, nothing else matters. I don’t just mean the ability to move around and get through my day. I mean that I am grateful to be able to ski, compete in Ironmans, walk, rough house with my kids for hours, carry my kids, snowmobile, hike with my wife, etc. I am grateful for anything that causes me to exert myself, because it proves that I can and that I can handle any situation that comes my way. You never know when you will need to put your fight or flight instincts into action. I want to be prepared to protect myself and my family. And in the meantime, this level of health means I can show up for my family, my business, and my friends as my best self. Nothing else matters to me as much as my health. For that I am grateful every day.
Here are a few things I’m particularly grateful for this year:
- I am grateful for the problems and challenges that come from owning a business so I can use them as a way to shape my spiritual journey. Business is nothing more than a conduit for our personal growth and journey. I take each event (problem) and enjoy it, whether I personally like it or not. That’s where unconditional happiness comes from.
- I am grateful to see the growth of my team and how they are able to work through bigger and bigger challenges each year on their own.
- I am grateful for money. Money is the good for good money can do. I am grateful for money so I can make an impact on my life and others.
What are you most thankful for this year? Do you have a daily practice of gratitude?