As my clients know, I start every coaching call and every group mastermind call asking “What can we celebrate today about your business?” It sometimes makes people giggle; sometimes they dive right in, and sometimes they say “nothing comes to mind.” That is when I say, like clockwork, “there is always something to celebrate.” I never let them off the hook and low and behold they always find something juicy when they really look.
I’ve studied the Native American “Beauty Way”, and in that tradition, the direction of the West symbolizes celebration, gratitude, recognition, and reflection. It is something we do very poorly in our Western Culture. We are often off to the next thing, or focusing on what isn’t working. We simply don’t spend enough time in the West. One leadership book I read said we should spend 20% of our time on celebration, acknowledgment and gratitude. If you know you fall short in this arena, there is no better time to start putting more intention towards this than during the holiday season. It is, after all, Thanksgiving this week here in the U.S. And the holidays can bring a lot of different emotions in, which is why there is no better time than right now to have the Attitude of Gratitude.
In the Cherokee tradition, there is a proverb that says that in each of us there is a good wolf and an evil wolf. Within us we have a wolf that sees all that we can be grateful for; the other sees only the things to be ungrateful for. The wolf you feed is the one that wins. This year has been a challenging one for me and my husband, Eric. We have experienced health challenges and much loss in our lives. It hasn’t been easy , and there is still so much for which to be grateful. I chose very intentionally to focus my energy, thoughts, and feelings on that good wolf (and of course, I had many moments where I fed the ungrateful one, too). This helped me not only personally, but professionally. My gratitude helped fill my gas tank each and every day. Without my gratitude tools, my tank would have drained empty long ago. Instead, these tools helped me find the gifts in my experience and brought light and sunshine into what would have otherwise been a dark room. I believe that my personal dedication to gratitude brought a great feeling of fulfillment into my daily experience and allowed my business to thrive. I want this for all of you, too. Whether in good times or bad, there is always an opportunity to be more fulfilled through a gratitude practice.
My personal dedication to gratitude turned into a weekly ritual that I would like to share with you. I believe fully that if you do this ritual weekly that you will experience a far more fulfilling life and you will develop an attitude of gratitude that is unbelievably attractive and infectious. Here is my weekly ritual:
- Write down 10 things for which I am grateful.
- Reach out to one person who has made a difference in my life and tell them (verbally, in a card, an email or even social media).
- Write a handwritten card to someone I love and tell them how much they mean to me (since I happily can say that I fall in love with every client, they are often the recipient of these unexpected mailbox treasures).
- Do one random act of kindness that I would be grateful for if someone did the same in return for me.
- Write down one thing for which I am ungratefuI and then write at least one thing that it has taught and/or about which I am grateful. With this awareness, whenever the ungrateful energy starts to seep in about this one thing, I can focus on shifting to an Attitude of Gratitude.
Here was my list for last week:
1. Ten Things for which I am grateful
- Having a full practice with really amazing people that I attracted to me!
- Eric (my husband) for how patient and supportive he is.
- Madison (my cat) for beating the odds and still kickin’ at almost 18 years of age (she just had a surgical procedure the week before).
- Cheryl/Phillip (two tenants) for loving this land as much as I do
- Melissa (painter) for making Molly’s bathroom beautiful and taking another thing off my plate.
- Kim (my friend/colleague from Austin) for spending time with me this week and uplifting me personally and professionally.
- Porter Creek Chardonnay because it is so darn good!
- Jennifer (former client) for introducing me to the US Cycling Association. It was such a thrill to meet her in person for the first time and to get to share my gift with Cycling Coaches at their bi-annual conference!
- Robert (my neighbor) who always shows such huge appreciation for our friendship. He reminds me of the loving, supportive friend I can be.
- Molly and Lisa for helping me out while I look for a new assistant. Such a huge relief to have support again!
2. Reach out to someone who made a difference: I wrote a card to a professional colleague, who was recovering from emergency brain surgery and told him what a difference he made in my life and how grateful I was for our relationship.
3. Write a handwritten card: I wrote a card to one of my long term clients, Ave, and told her how much she meant to me and how much I have enjoyed working with her. She truly is my divine ideal client!
4. Random act of kindness: I told the barista at Starbucks how her smile lit up the room.
5. Ungrateful thing into a thing of gratitude: I was ungrateful that my well pump and filtering system broke and cost $1600 to repair. However, I was grateful how quickly they fixed the problem and that we didn’t have to be without water since we have a huge water tank reservoir. I was grateful that it was just the pump, since some of my neighbors have had to re-dig wells due to the drought here. I am grateful for the rain this week that I know will find it’s way into our water table. I am grateful to have access to clean, healthy water with no chemicals or additives. I am grateful to have the financial abundance to pay this unexpected bill without worry or stress.
So there you have it! I encourage you to start your own gratitude ritual – whether you adopt this or create your own method to adopt and expand your Attitude of Gratitude.
I wish to all of you a Happy Thanksgiving (even if you live outside the U.S.)! I am grateful to have each of you in my life, allowing me to share my thoughts and expertise with you. As always, I welcome you to share and comment below!
With great appreciation and gratitude,
Tara Butler Floch