I woke up yesterday and said to myself, “Really, though? How did I get so lucky?”
To be where I am right now, to have had the experiences that have brought me to this place, at this time? I have no one-shot answer, but it’s genuinely how I feel most of the time. Maybe it’s a little magic, or some mystic of the universe, or maybe simply in the right place at the right time for everything to begin to lock into synchronicity. Of course, there are moments when I lose sight of this, and then I think to myself that it’s part of being human; overall, I am incredibly blessed.
I have to be honest with you though this has not always been my story, far from it. There were many times in my life where this type of thinking was a real challenge for me. I am no stranger to struggle and adversity; in fact, there have been times I have wondered why me? What did I do to deserve all of this that life is seemingly heaping on me?
Much of my negative perception came from my earlier years when my view of life was difficult to imagine. When I didn’t understand my purpose and did everything I could to avoid looking at what that might be. Those can be scary things to think about, purpose and reason for being, it can feel like standing on the edge of a cliff, and with that one step forward, you will either tumble to the valley below or soar like an eagle. For me, there was a 50-50 chance I would get it right, and that was a paralyzing prospect.
There was a point in my life I would have told you that I had lost all faith in humanity; looking back, I can see why. Some circumstances and events unfolded in my youth that shaped who I would become and altered the path for the rest of my life. Trust was broken, relationships fell apart, and life became bleak and directionless for quite some time. It was an undeniable dark chapter of my life, I was at sea without paddles, and I couldn’t see the shoreline anywhere near me. I was struggling to tread water for a very long time, barely holding on. Now I look back on that time and know that I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am so proud to say I took that journey off that cliff; I found my purpose and now stand firm believing that “People Make the World Beautiful.” The most significant learning for me is that it has always been about the people who have come into my life. Whether they are here for the moment, a chapter, or a lifetime, they have all touched my heart in ways that have forever shaped how I see the world. It has dramatically shaped who I am and how I lead.
Gratitude started as something I wanted to add personally, to bring attention to the good in my life. Every morning I engage in a personal gratitude practice that sets the direction for my day. At this point, the ripple effect of this practice has spilled over into all areas of my life, and most interestingly, for me, my career, it has changed the way I see leadership and business completely.
Before founding The Inspired Leader, I was the director of Culture and Leadership Development for a multi-unit franchise group in which we coined the term “People Make the World Beautiful.” (we use it as a hashtag on social media to share our experiences, it’s a fun little adventure if you are so inclined to look it up and read some heartwarming stories). My husband first came up with it and presented it to the team, and it has now become a catchphrase of the entire organization. It has been used to highlight the unforgettable moments in hospitality that can easily be missed when we get caught in the “to do’s” of the everyday. What it’s doing is bringing a new awareness to the present moment and an increased level of gratitude to the organization and its team members.
We have been able to use “People Make the World Beautiful” as a tool to connect with the present moment, to connect with the people who are part of our lives, and to connect with gratitude. It has been gratifying and life-changing to simply slow down and highlight these experiences.
Are you interested in starting a gratitude practice for yourself or your team?
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Start the Practice
No matter what you do or how you do it, simply start. Gratitude is not about perfection; it’s about connection. The practice of gratitude can take a little time to anchor into your daily routine, so get going and create consistency.
- “Feel” Gratitude
I know it might sound a little cliché, but it takes intentional effort to fully connect with our expression of gratitude. We have close to 70,000 thoughts each day, most of which we give little to no meaning to; they fly in and out of our minds, often at light speed. Choosing to give meaning to thoughts in your gratitude practice allows you to begin to deepen the experience of this act in your life in ways that will increase your level of well-being and overall happiness.
- Share the Love
William Arthur Ward was quoted saying:
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping up a gift and
not giving it away.”
Need I say any more? Sharing our gratitude with and for others shapes the lens through which we see the world. These experiences change our perspective and our narratives and shape beautiful future outcomes.
No matter what you choose to do or how you choose to express it, gratitude has a lasting effect not only on your life but the lives of those with who you interact each day. It creates undeniable energy that connects and builds bonds that are not easily broken. It helps anchor and create memories that are the markers of a life well-lived.
So what are you waiting for? Go on and get started. I promise you won’t regret it. I’d say good luck with your practice, yet if you create one, you won’t need it. You will find yourself feeling grateful for so many aspects of your life. And maybe, just maybe, you may even find yourself saying, as I have at times, “How did I get so lucky?”
The Inspired Leader is a leadership development firm based on the premise of Transcendent Leadership. If you would like to know more about our offerings click here to book your complimentary leadership assessment.