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Gratitude and the Entrepreneur

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It’s not even 6 am on this Thanksgiving morning and the house is quiet and still. I’m sipping on my first of many cups of coffee for the day.

And as the cobwebs that cloud my brain start to clear away, I’m left thinking about Gratitude – which makes sense because it is Thanksgiving here in the US. But I’m also thinking about how gratitude fits in the context of being an entrepreneur.

We’ve all heard the sage wisdom of showing gratitude to our clients and customers, gratitude to our support team, gratitude to our mentors, etc. But I’m wondering if, at times, expressing gratitude becomes just one more item on the check list of things we know we are supposed to do, a “strategy” rather than a heartfelt acknowledgement.

I’m also wondering if, when times can be challenging and scary and everything feels insanely busy, we even have time to feel the power of heartfelt gratitude.

I know – lots of wondering at this pre-dawn hour.

Here’s what I am not wondering about: the power gratitude can have in my business. Ew – just typing that sounds icky and it really shouldn’t. Because gratitude is not an outside tactic, something we do in order to get something. Because if that IS what we do, it isn’t gratitude at all. It’s manipulation.

Gratitude starts as an inside job. It means taking time in my already over-packed schedule to reflect on the people, places and things that make my life and my businesses taste sweeter.

And yes, I am very much aware of the fact that there are days when this is really really hard.

Let me assure you that there is no one who likes to roll around in the slop of problems more than I do. It feels so good. And I certainly do not like raising my head out of the mud long enough to come up with something to be grateful for. I often resent the suggestion that that might help.

But it does. Without fail. Every single time.

So I do it. Not for other people. For me.

Once my internal work is done, then I find a way to express my gratitude in a way that is genuine. And without any expectations of what another person will or won’t do.

This expression doesn’t have to be elaborate and time-consuming. It can be a quick DM on Twitter or an email. I use those tools a lot. But I have to say that when I write a note (and I mean with a pen, paper and a stamp) or pick up the phone or speak to someone face to face, THAT is when I feel a seismic shift inside of me.

(Truth be told, this is also when seismic shifts happen in my business. But if I go into this gratitude thing with that expectation, it never works out.)

As soon as I hit “publish” on this post, I’m going to make a list of the people who have believed in me over the past year. People who lent me strength and wisdom and courage. Then I will be about telling them how thankful I am that they are in my life.

Not as a business strategy. Not in hopes of asking a favor. Not because I think I am supposed to.

Because it is good for my heart and my spirit. And it makes me the person I want to be in this world.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. 🙂

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