Hey Rebels! Happy Thanksgiving & Welcome Back to the Podcast!
Today we’re going to talk about gratitude. One of our listeners requested this episode, and it was such perfect timing considering today is a day of Thanksgiving.
The truth is gratitude isn’t a common habit, particularly in our consumption society where we too often have a scarcity mindset, focused on what we don’t have, rather than an abundance mindset that focuses on all we do have. And even we focus on what we have; we don’t do it with appreciation and gratitude; we do it by judging and complaining.
Cultivating gratitude can be challenging, particularly when our brains are wired to pay more attention to the negatives more the positives of life. I mean, Hurricanes and heartbreaks tend to create more profound and lasting impressions than rainbows and family vacations.
Here’s a great way to test out where you are. If I were to ask you to make a list of 10 things you wanted, what would be on your list. I bet not one thing on your list would include something you already have. But you’re probably like, of course not, why would I want something I already have, and that’s precisely my point. You should not only want what you already have but enjoy it, use it, and be grateful for it.
We don’t want what we already have because we’re don’t have an attitude of gratitude for what you already have. We tend to come from a place of scarcity, focusing on what we’re missing or don’t have instead of a place of abundance, excitement, and gratitude for what we already have. It’s like watching kids on Christmas morning opening their presents. Their excitement for the gift they just opened lasts as long as it takes to open up their next gift.
When you learn to desire and want the things you already have, you feel rich and full. You come to the table knowing you already have pretty much everything you want and need.
The same is true when you’re thinking about what you want in your career. If you don’t practice gratitude for all you’ve accomplished and done in your career, for everything you bring to the table, you can overlook some important and valuable achievements that will make you feel empowered, worthy, and capable. In order to advance in your career, you have to appreciate what you’ve done. This will also help prevent you from compartmentalizing who you are and what you do. You’re not brilliant at work and just ok at home or brilliant at home and ok at work. When you see yourself holistically, you’ll begin to see that you are fabulous in all settings and situations.
I mean, think about it, how would you show up in meetings, in an interview, at a conference or networking event if you were filled with the gratitude and abundance of all you do, of all you have to offer, of all you know you have and can accomplish in the world. When you have a daily practice of gratitude and appreciation for who you are, what you have, and what you’ve accomplished, it’s absolutely possible.
But when you live in scarcity, you focus on what you’re missing, where you’ve failed or fallen short, what others have that you don’t, what’s not possible or available to you. And the energy of scarcity only breeds desperation, envy, low self-esteem, and more scarcity.
Without gratitude, life can be more challenging than it needs to be. However, the practice of abundance and gratitude resets your perspective and expands your vision…and luckily, it’s a gift you can give yourself every day, not just on Thanksgiving.
So on this day of thanks, I want to share a few gratitude practices that I engage in and recommend to my clients.
100s List - Make a list of 100 accomplishments, achievements, successes, and things that have impressed you about yourself over the years. You can go back as far as you want and include whatever you want. Since our brain tends to focus on the negative, you may have a hard time pulling this list together; many of my clients who aren’t used to celebrating and acknowledging their wins usually do. But stick with it. You can add to the list daily until you reach 100. And if you can easily reach 100, write down 200. In the end, it will not only do wonders for your self-esteem, but you’ll see just how powerful and epically amazing you really are.
Resist comparison - One way to do that is to take a break from social media, magazines, reality shows, and tv in general. My doctoral research explored how women develop their identities in the face of and in the antithesis of the surrounding societal messages bombarding us on a daily basis. It’s even worse at midlife because the message usually is you’ve had your turn, now move out of the way and let the next generation take center stage. Moreover, the patriarchal, misogynistic ideas of beauty and image have done a number on our psyche. Studies have shown that when women look in the mirror each morning, they can instantly find about 22 things they hate about themselves. This comes from comparing ourselves to some mythical external standard of beauty that doesn’t even exist. How do I know that? Because societal norms of beauty repeatedly change about every 20 years or so. Comparison breeds envy, and envy is an obstacle to gratitude. When you compare one thing to another, you naturally have to demean one of them. So resist comparison and be grateful for everything about you. Counteract it by looking in the mirror every morning and naming 5 things you love about yourself.
Write daily - Nothing will allow you to know yourself more than reading back your own thoughts. Writing cultivates self-awareness which is a critical and predictive skill in career success. This deep level of self-awareness will also improve your decision-making process and skills because you’ll become more aware of what’s going on in your brain. Writing daily also helps to calm your mind and clarifies your thinking. You don’t have to go out and buy a special journal to write daily. I use a spiral notebook, and it works perfectly for me. The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron is a popular book that many people use to help kick off their daily writing. Tim Ferriss, author of the 4-hour workweek, and Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray Love, have used this method. She suggests doing Morning Pages each day to renovate and revive the soul. Writing daily is such an expansive exercise. It’s widened my capacity for gratitude for so many things in my life.
Do something kind for someone else - That can include donating your time or money to a charity or organization you believe in. You can write a review for a business you appreciate. Send a text or email to someone to let them know you’re grateful or thankful for them. Donate the 100s of clothes you don’t wear to a domestic violence shelter or an organization like dress for success. Or even pay for the order of the person behind you in the drive-through at Starbucks. When you help, assist, or uplift others, it puts your challenges and struggles in perspective and provides a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for all you have and all you are.
That’s it for me today!
Have a blessed, safe, and joyous Thanksgiving. I’m grateful to you. Until next time have an amazingly rebellious week.