GOBBLE-GOBBLE, TURKEY DAY!
Thanksgiving is the time of year where we can sit back and take a moment to reflect on all that we have to be grateful for in our lives. It’s been a remarkable year here at HBSA, and before we even start, I want to let you know that I’m grateful that you can even read this! Seriously, you likely haven’t met me, and we live in a day and age where I can share my thoughts and perspectives with you online, and you can do the same with me. I know it may seem just “normal” now, but the opportunity to share and connect with people all over the world, instantly, with very little cost, is a new development in the history of the world. I don’t take it for granted – thank you Al Gore for inventing the Internet!
Why Should We Be Grateful?
I get it – you want more.
More money. More time. More health. More love.
We all want more. Being motivated, raising our standards, and demanding more from ourselves is a good thing – I think it brings out the best in people, so long as they temper that desire with gratitude. It’s when the desire for more clouds out our perspective and gratitude for what we already have – that’s when we get into trouble.
Wanting more – wanting progress – is how we are wired. Some people feel guilty or negative about such feelings, but I truly think that the core desire of PURSUIT is something that the human spirit needs. If we just “settle”, if we just accept “good enough” – well, we see people who do that, and they’re not the happiest of people.
We want progress. I think you deserve it, but where we lose the spirit of gratitude is when we lose perspective of what progress really is.
First, let’s talk about what it really ISN’T.
Progress is not getting whatever you want, whenever you want it, on-demand.
Progress is not having a totally predictable world that prevents uncertainty, setbacks, or challenges from appearing in your life.
Progress is not getting what you want and getting it EXACTLY as you thought you would get it.
Intellectually, we all know this. We train our children to not be selfish brats who throw tantrums whenever they don’t get whatever they want whenever they want it. But then, many people attempt to engineer their adult-lives around getting exactly what they want, whenever they want it, and when they don’t they throw a tantrum! What gives?
The Key To Progress
The key to progress is to DEFINE IT. Progress is about getting better. Improvement. You’ll make the most improvement, do your best work, and experience your biggest breakthroughs when we can move from a motivation of selfishness to a motivation of giving and gratitude.
What do you spend the majority of your time focusing on? Does it involve:
- Thinking about how life isn’t rewarding you properly?
- Envy over those who have what you want?
- Frustration that circumstances aren’t lining up as you planned?
When we focus on these thoughts, how does it make us feel?
Angry. Frustrated. Depressed. Anxious. Etc etc etc.
And when we feel those things, are we able to do our best work? Are we able to help and empower others? Can we be creative, and solve the problems we’re facing? Can we move forward with courage, charging towards our goals and vision?
No, we can’t. But what we can do is find a scapegoat – someone to blame. We can blame our friends, our family, our parents, our boss, our upline, our downline, our teachers, our mailman, or any number of other people.
We reap what we sow, and when we sow the seeds of thought that focus on LACK, that focus on UNGRATEFULNESS, that focus on FEAR, then that’s exactly what we reap.
How To Make The Switch
I’m not preaching at you here – I’ve learned every bit of this through personal experience. I’ve also had to learn how to make the same switch you might be trying to make. Here’s how I do it:
I SIMPLY ASK MYSELF GOOD QUESTIONS.
Simple. Easy. And amazingly effective.
I ask myself questions like:
- Who am I grateful for right now in my life? What would life look like without them?
- What am I grateful for in my life right now? Why? How does that make me feel?
- What am I really committed to in my life right now? Why is that? If I maintain my commitment, what will life look like in 5 years from now?
- What am I excited about in my life right now? What’s so exciting about that?
- How am I growing right now? In what ways am I becoming stronger? Smarter? More centered and focused?
- When I reach the goals that I have, who will that benefit besides myself? What will they think?
- What kind of story am I writing in my life? If I think of my life as a book, what part of the story am I in? At the beginning, where the stage is being set? In the middle, where the hero is discouraged and thinking of throwing in the towel? If I were standing outside my life, what would I encourage the hero (me) to do right now? How would I like to see the hero of the story react to _____________? (Insert whatever challenge is in front of you now)
- In twenty years, what kind of person do I want to be, and what decisions can I make TODAY that will help me to become that person?
When I ask these questions, I feel something happen, and it wasn’t until this year that I was able to identify it…
The Foundation Of Gratitude
The foundation of gratitude is patience.
Patience is a skill, and it wasn’t until this year that I realize how truly critical it was to success. Being patient, being consistent – that’s the foundation of gratitude. You can’t build gratitude on top of impatience. When we are impatient, we’ll do all sorts of things we normally wouldn’t.
Just think about what people do in traffic. “Unexpected delay” is like the worst message we could ever get while driving. And go back just 100 years and people were using a horse and buggy to get around! How much faster and convenient we have it, and yet how easy it is to take it for granted, become impatient, lose our gratitude, and make decisions that we regret later.
Build a foundation of patience. It will help your success immensely, and also help you to ENJOY the process of success!
Lean Into It
If there is one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s this:
EXTERNAL PROGRESS IS A REFLECTION OF INTERNAL PROGRESS
Meaning, the results we experience happen because of thoughts and feeling we focus on.
And if our results are less than desirable, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. And it doesn’t mean you’re not making progress. If we mine gold out of the ground, it must go through a refining process to remove the purities. In other words, if what we want is pure gold, it must be purified.
The way gold is refined in your life though challenges – the things in your life that push you, that challenge you, that cause you to grow. Imagine trying to refine gold, but the dang gold didn’t want to be refined.
“No thanks, I think I’ll sit this one out, found something good on TV!” says the gold to us. Unbelievable! If our gold said that to you, what would you do? Probably throw the gold in the smelter, right? And yet, I see so many entrepreneurs having this exact reaction to challenges, setbacks, and problems in their lives.
Let me encourage you – when you have a challenge, lean into it. See it as a refining opportunity. View it as a gift, something that’s there to make you bigger, stronger, and more capable. Something to make your life as pretty as newly-minted gold.
What Am I Grateful For?
I’m grateful for life. Just to have the opportunity to wake up every day, and do something I love. It’s a huge blessing.
I’m so grateful for my family. My wife, my children, my parents, my friends (I consider them family). They’re wonderful. They’re not perfect, but they’re wonderful.
I’m grateful for a country that I can live in and love. It’s far from perfect. Tons of opportunities for improvements. But I’m grateful for what we have as a nation.
I’m grateful for you. No really – I’m grateful for you. I’m grateful for all our clients, partners, affiliates, and staffers who make HBSA what it is.
I’m grateful for our industry. Again, plenty of room for improvement, but grateful for what we have.
I’m grateful for people who take the time to say “thank you”. They give us all the energy to carry on.
I’m grateful for the people who fuss and complain. Without them, we couldn’t improve (critical feedback is necessary).
I’m grateful for weird neighbors. Yes, my neighbors are very weird, and I may need to move some day, but I’m still grateful for them.
I’m grateful for clean air. You know how much life would suck if you had to breath in crappy air all the time? It would be lame – very lame.
And of course, I’m grateful for turkey and pumpkin pie
Take a few minutes to write out – YES, write it out! – what you are grateful for this year.
What are the challenges, setbacks, and PROBLEMS that you experienced that made you grow? How did it make you grow?
What were the victories? The things you’re really proud of?
Who stuck with you this year? Who was there as an encouragement, and a support?
What new relationships did you develop this year, and how have they helped you?
Or, if you’d prefer to just write them in the comments below, I’d love to read them!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving