This week, I was reflecting on the progress that my clients are making. I was reflecting on how grateful I am for each one my clients and for what I learn from each of them. There is a saying that we are both teacher and student in every relationship. I see how true that is in my life!
In particular, I was thinking about one of my clients and his path toward a stronger attitude of gratitude. When we started working together last summer, he had achieved a certain level of business success. Yet, he was looking for more. When we started working together, neither of us knew exactly what lay ahead on his path to greater success. It soon became clear that, yes, he desired greater financial success and, yet, he needed something more. He needed to shift inside of himself in order to make it happen. You know that I love the statement below; I actually use it as a motto for my own life as well as my work with clients.
If you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always gotten.
If you want something different, do something different.
In one of our coaching sessions, I felt compelled to suggest an assignment for him to begin a daily practice of what I call Gratitude Journaling. The reason it comes up as a common assignment for my clients is that we tend to spend so much time focused on what is “not working” and what we are unhappy about. What we focus on grows – i.e. we get more of it. So, if we focus on what we are unhappy about, then that is what grows. That’s pretty counterproductive to getting more of what we desire!!!
The Gratitude Journal assignment requires that we write at least 3 things that we are grateful for every single day. The trick is that in order for it to be most beneficial, we really need to make it a habit. Only when it is a habit does it begin to change the world we perceive. As you can imagine, creating a new habit can be a difficult assignment. So it was for my client, too. The part of us that keeps us stuck where we are works very hard to sabotage us from instilling a new habit. Much research has been done on changing habits and instilling new ones. Most of the results show that we need to do something about 28 days (some say less, some more) before it becomes a habit. So the Gratitude Journal assignment requires at least 28 consecutive days of writing down the things we are grateful for. Another little trick about creating habits was discovered by NASA researchers in working with astronauts. It showed that if we skip a day, we need to begin again at Day 1 when we want to create a habit. (Thanks to Tim Green of Referral Institute of Michigan for the NASA research results).
To his great credit, my client was committed to creating an attitude of gratitude in his life. It took him several starts and restarts before he finally made it through the 28 days. Wow! His commitment got him through it. Now, after many months, he still writes every day what he is grateful for.
Now, the really great part of this is the success that has showed up for him since. He has had success upon success. He has stronger relationships with his clients. He has more effective relationships with his staff. Additionally, his business has grown to about 3 times the income! That surprised even me who challenges my clients to always think bigger!
So, when I titled this article “Want More Good Stuff?”, I really meant it. And, it is so simple! Focus on what you are grateful for and you get more of what you are focusing on – even more things to be grateful for!
And, there is an old saying that something is simple, but not necessarily easy. So it is with the Gratitude Journal exercise. Yet, as I reflect on my client’s wonderful progress, I am reminded that sometimes it is worth tackling those opportunities!
If you want more good stuff in your life and business, consider making the commitment to yourself that you begin your Gratitude Journal.
Here are some thoughts on making it easy:
- Pick a time of day that sounds best to you (might be just before bed, first thing in the morning, while drinking your coffee, before reading your email, etc.)
- Write in a notebook or on scraps of paper
- Write on your computer (create a Word doc that you keep adding to each day, or a spreadsheet, etc.)
- Post them on Facebook (maybe you inspire others to join you – start a new trend!)
- Post them in the new Facebook Page I started called “Gratitude Journal“
- If you want something other than writing, one of my clients uses the following strategy: find something in your office (bedroom, etc) such as a repeating pattern in the wallpaper; for each item in the pattern, say in your mind what you’re grateful for; repeat for as many things as you can think of
Share what you’re thinking and what’s happening for you on the Facebook Page “Gratitude Journal“.
I’ve shared this link before, and here it is again. It is a Time magazine article called “The New Science of Happiness“. It describes some interesting benefits of staying in an attitude of gratitude.