It’s kind of funny how my approach to Thanksgiving has changed throughout the years. When I was young, I couldn’t wait to gorge on amazing food. When I started working, I couldn’t wait for the time off. Now … I like to reflect on how can I grow in my ability to show gratitude.
My upbringing prevented me from expressing appreciation when I was younger. In my past mind, showing gratitude would actually be tone deaf. In other words, how can I be grateful when everyone around me focuses on my weaknesses? By being thankful, I thought that I would be complacent … or worse yet, settling for mediocrity.
The more I focused on my shortcomings, the more my mind took over. When in doubt, my first inclination became to think about what I should do to get approval? Consequently I lost touch with my heart.
Gratitude is a fantastic way to reconnect with the heart. Get us out of the survival mode and help us realize that while we might not have everything we want, we have way more than we need. Take the focus away from the summits ahead to recognize the blessings to date: The people who were there for us, the lives we touched, or the things we can do today that used to feel impossible just a few months earlier.
While I was working on multibillion dollar projects at Exxon, one phase that I would hear a lot is “Begin with end in mind.” Yes, one of Steven Covey’s habit of highly successful people applies to oil and gas sector as well 🙂
The point is, what will you think about on your death bed? I’m willing to bet that it will be the moments of connection. When our heart felt something, way beyond what our brain is capable of describing.
So this Thanksgiving let us all focus on what’s eternal. Let’s focus on what makes our hearts feel alive and in awe of God’s amazing creation.
Let’s look past the shadows and towards the life giving light.
What is your gratitude practice? How can you feel more gratitude in the upcoming year?
Don’t know how to get started? We tend to be very good at solving problems with our minds. However, when our romantic relationships suffer, we don’t feel fulfilled at work, or don’t have quality friends … it typically has very little to do with logic. It’s driven by a locked up heart.
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