Be thankful....


 Be Thankful, Always!

by Fred Schippa - Managing Director, RISE Consulting Group, April 13, 2018

By now I’m learning this monthly article isn’t so much for what other people need to hear but for what I need to learn myself. I know that sounds a bit selfish, but hopefully, many of our subscribers will benefit from these “life lessons” as well. As people who are driven to succeed and take ground in our professional and personal development, it’s easy for small-business growers (I just made that up!) to be continuously focused on their next sale, goal, or accomplishment. Or they may be singularly focused on some problem or issue they need to resolve immediately, only to be confounded by another one shortly thereafter. We are always looking forward to the next goal and constantly pushing for more. It gets us up every day and gives us purpose. However, if we aren’t careful, our forward-looking, ever-striving, never-comfortable posture can leave us unsatisfied, frustrated and depressed. It’s so easy to lose sight of how far we’ve come, what we have accomplished, and all the things we should be thankful for. Below is a remedy to that problem and a means to regain perspective, reenergize our minds, and continue to move forward with a positive attitude that will draw others - partners, clients and employees - to us, so we can accomplish our mission, AND thoroughly enjoy the process.

Here are three simple things everyone can do, that will help us keep a proper perspective and combat the negative emotions that can creep into our minds when we are battle-weary. Without getting off on a tangent here, we are all in some kind of battle, whether it be in the market-place or at home. While we draw breath, we ought to be moving forward and endeavoring to improve our current situation. There are forces that will come against us, some internal and some external, that we must fight to overcome. This isn’t a bad thing. Actually, it can be a great thing and, for me, gets me up every morning with purpose and a mission. These suggestions aren’t about settling or being content with what you have; comfortable can be the killer of success. It’s more like taking time to remember how far you have come, celebrating those accomplishments and encouraging yourself and those around you, so everyone is prepared and well able to continue the fight.

1) Start every day with an attitude of gratitude – Whether you call it prayer, meditation, or simple reflection, take a little bit of time each morning to be thankful for everything you have, and take note of how far you have come. Do this before your feet hit the floor. It doesn’t have to take long and if you say it out loud, it will be reinforced because you’ll hear it as well. Be especially thankful for those people in your life who you love. Quite often, these people are the real reasons we are working so hard. If you don’t have people yet, be thankful they are out there, and you will be meeting them soon. Be thankful for your health and if you aren’t healthy, be thankful you are alive and have the chance to get better. I GUARANTEE you that, no matter what your current circumstances are, you have many things to be thankful for. If you are reading this, and I’m pretty sure you are, you have eyes that can see, a mind that can interpret, and either a computer or a smart-phone that costs more than many people in the world earn in a year. The odds are you live in America’s Finest City, although we have a couple of subscribers out of U.S. (shout out to Robert in Australia!), and that alone should fill your heart with gratitude. I promise you, if you begin your day this way, you will establish a trajectory that will almost guarantee you to have a great day every day!

2) Keep a journal – It’s really important to have a written record of our achievements and the blessings we encounter. Interestingly, our memories seem to fall short when it comes to experiences that end well. We seem to be better at remembering failures than successes. I don’t know why this is, but I do know, when I take time to document favorable outcomes during my reflective moments, and later look back in my journal, I am always happily surprised to see what mountains I was facing in the past and how they were overcome. This serves as a tangible reminder of the ground I really have gained. This also serves as an amazing encouragement when it comes to those new obstacles that might seem overwhelming in the moment. Journaling isn’t as difficult or arduous as you might think. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time and, whether you prefer writing long-hand in a book, or typing on a computer, you only need a few minutes each day to capture your thoughts. Establish this habit now and you will be very grateful when, at the end of your days, someone (a grand-child or book publisher) asks you to recount your life. 

3) Don’t keep your gratitude a secret – This is so simple and is the true definition of a win-win, I know because I just looked it up in Merriam-Webster. Win-win: “Advantageous or satisfactory to all parties involved”. Certainly there are many people in your life who you are thankful for and they need to know it too. The difference between being “thankful” and being “grateful” is that thankful is a feeling and grateful, is an action. Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. This is especially true in business, where we interact with people every day with the mutual goal of collaborating successfully in the market-place. These are our co-workers, our clients, or business partners, and our suppliers. I’m in the process of sending out hand-written “Thank You” cards every week to some of these folks, simply to thank them for their help, support, business, or counsel. Just a few sentences, a minute or two, plus a stamp, can really brighten someone’s day. In today’s world of instant communication, there is something powerful when someone gets a card in the mail that took just a bit more effort than a text or email. That said, you should continue to send out encouraging texts and emails as well. Best of all, the next time you are face-to-face with a friend, family member, or business associate, let them know you appreciate them and thank them for how they make your life better. Everyone needs to hear this, especially our spouses, our children, and those closest to us, who we unwittingly may take for granted.

I hope you consider taking action on the suggestions above. I believe it will change your life. Melody Beattie said it perfectly when she stated, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.".

Till next month, may your life be filled with feasts, family and friends!

May you ALWAYS Rise and Shine….