As many of you know, this is truly my favorite time of the year. I love everything about the fall and I have always been a big supporter of Thanksgiving. Immediately, I think of the cooler weather, the gathering of the family around the table, the smell of pumpkin pie and all my favorite desserts, and the delicious meal that I get to enjoy with my loved ones. While the food and festivities are nice, I do not believe that most people truly understand the force of gratitude. It changed my life many years ago and I never get tired of talking about gratitude. This holiday season I hope that you will have a grateful heart and make gratitude a pillar in your life.
- Gratitude is something that you have to choose. Obviously, 2020 has been anything but an ordinary year. I hear so many people saying that 2020 is canceled. They are ready for 2021 to come in and they are over this year. While I understand the frustration and sentiments, I believe that no matter how difficult 2020 has been that you can still choose to be grateful. In 2014, I lost a dear friend in a tragic plane crash. When I got the news I was floored and I felt like my heart was literally ripped out of my chest. I remember crying and waking up the next morning hoping that it was a bad nightmare. At the time, so many great things were happening in my life. I was succeeding in my business, new opportunities were emerging and I was truly finding my center. However, that news knocked the air out of me and I was searching for some form of solace. In the midst of that crisis, I turned to the principles and disciplines that have anchored my life for so many years. I made the decision to be grateful. I expressed thanks to God for allowing such an incredible friend to come into my life. I thanked God for the time that I got with my friend. Most of all, I expressed thanks for the amazing life of my friend and how much the friendship meant to me. The more I expressed gratitude the more I felt the grief lift off of me. I found the strength and comfort to push through that season. Gratitude was the catalyst for my healing.
- Gratitude requires a shift in your perspective. Honestly, we can all find something to complain about. It does not take a lot of energy to be negative and toxic. On the other hand, it requires more energy to shift your perspective to that of gratitude. I have discovered that whatever you dwell on will dominate your thought life. Whatever dominates your thought life will define the moments of your life. In other words, you should not reflect on anything that you do not want to take up residence in your life. You can focus on what you do not have. Quite frankly, that will not change anything about your life. Or you can choose to focus on what you do have and how incredibly blessed you are. Whatever you choose to focus on expands in your life. No, I am not saying that we do not go through things or encounter adversity. However, what I am saying is that you cannot afford to allow your circumstances to frame the context of your life. I have discovered that gratitude is an attitude. As you embrace an attitude of gratitude, your problems become smaller and your appreciation for this gift of life becomes bigger. The right perspective is the catalyst to powerful shifts in your life.
- Make gratitude a daily practice in your life. More than twenty years ago I started a gratitude journal. When I first started this journal, it was a bit challenging to write a list of things to be grateful for. However, as I made this a daily practice it became a lot easier. In addition, I noticed that my list was getting longer and I was finding more and more things to be grateful for. When adversity and setbacks would happen in my life, I was still able to find gratitude even in those difficult moments. This is when I knew I was maturing and I could truly see the growth that was happening in my life. That gratitude journal changed me internally and changed how I perceived and interacted with the world around me. I became more understanding, more compassionate, and more appreciative of everything in my life. If you find yourself feeling ungrateful or unappreciative, I dare you to start your very own gratitude journal. More than twenty years later I still keep a gratitude journal. It has become a way of life for me and it has greatly contributed to my success and prosperity.
- Never lose your heart of gratitude. In all honesty, I have had some things happen in my life that tried to trap me, defeat me, and ultimately define me. However, I have always chosen victory over soul-crushing defeat. Many people ask me how I have been able to bounce back from setbacks in my life. Truthfully, I discovered that gratitude is not just a discipline or belief system but gratitude is a heart posture. The grateful heart is a magnet for breakthrough. What am I saying? In all that we go through in our lives, we must make the decision to never lose our heart of gratitude. While you may not be grateful for everything that happens in your life, you can always be grateful in everything that happens in your life. Ultimately, for many years I have always made the decision to find the good even in some of the most trying seasons of my life. I have learned how to appreciate adversity and celebrate crisis. I have allowed every experience to build the resolve in me to persist until I prevail. You develop a grateful heart by coming to the realization that you may not have everything but you are still abundantly blessed. The more you can affirm the good in your life the more you attract greater possibilities and opportunities. In fact, choosing to live with a grateful heart was the catalyst to living my greatest life. Never develop an entitlement mentality and refuse to take the precious gift of life for granted. Losing your heart of gratitude is losing the very thing that grounds and anchors your life.