Why Gratitude Might be the Missing Piece to Your Success
Sometimes the life of an entrepreneur isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…
These days I feel like there’s most definitely an “entrepreneurship cult” out there that is constantly repeating:
- Fire your boss!
- It’s constant freedom!
- It’s up to you how much money you make!
- There’s money all around you – you just have to pick it up!
- You’ll get out exactly what you put in!
But what happens when you’re facing the down side of these things?
I don’t say this to prevent you or anyone from taking on that freedom.
In fact, just the opposite! I want you to SURVIVE it when the tough days do come.
I also share this because it’s impossible to have any kind of success without focusing on the inner game of entrepreneurship.
Why do you want “it?”
Almost every entrepreneurship event that I’ve attended over the past 11 years, including those that I’ve personally facilitated, starts with a conversation about your why.
It’s almost universally met by people in the room with a “I already know what I want” or “Why are we spending time focusing on this rather than getting to the content?”
This is actually the most important training you’ll ever get as a business owner.
Why is what keeps you going when you don’t want to do it.
Why is how you overcome the stress, burnout, extra hours, or crippling fear that you’ll often face.
Why is all you actually have in the end – because no matter what your business – the what is generally the same.
Sadly, I also find that so few people I train with spend enough time, let alone significant time, on the “inner game.”
Those that do, surprise surprise, tend to be those hit the goals they set for themselves and their business.
Taking On Your “Inner Game”
This loss came on top of three years of significant deaths, a major lawsuit, and many significant challenges to my business and personal identity.
Frankly, I wanted to give up.
It turned my healthy business into a struggle for success, one that I’m still feeling the repercussions of 9 months later.
For most of my life and career, I spent nearly 100% of my focus on becoming as skilled as I possibly could.
It was always my goal to be qualified, competent, and knowledgeable about marketing, sales, business, and all the areas I had trained.
In fact, I still spend the bulk of my career helping my community become more skilled (especially in developing their expertise and marketing themselves).
I also realized, as I was working with my close friends and partners, that the focus for me during these difficult times needed to shift back to developing my inner fortitude.
The inner game isn’t something that comes easy to me and is still something that requires daily work and focus – as it does for most people.
I also know it’s not as easy as many Facebook posts or motivational images will tell you it is.
This is especially true if it’s not your natural disposition to start looking within.
Getting Real About Gratitude
The scientific community, especially the field of neuroscience, is starting to confirm what spiritual gurus and experts around the world have been sharing for years.
My first exposure to this conversation, via my time with Pathways Institute, was this wonderful video by Shawn Achor.
For those of us who aren’t lucky enough to have naturally chipper dispositions, there has to be a concentrated focus to rewire your brain to find new perspectives.
Challenges in and of themselves aren’t enough to overcome the most challenging times in life and business.
In the video, it is revealed that there are five proven methodologies that actually rewire your brain over time to get back to the positive perspective:
- Random Acts of Kindness
For me, most talk about gratitude practice goes a little bit too far into the “woo woo.” I’m not a person where writing a journal alone gives me a ton of emotional connection or healing.
The good news is that gratitude is about a lot more than just repeating “I’m grateful for…”
It’s really one of the only practices I’ve found that consistently helped me find the positive when I felt like I was drowning in the negative.
What to Do When it Doesn’t Come Naturally…
If all this is something that resonates with you, or that you find challenging, there’s even more you can do than the steps listed above (from Shawn Achor’s video).
- Change Your Physical Space: It’s amazing how much the physical space can impact your mood, thoughts, organization, and results. Clear the space, clear your mind.
- Get OUT of Your Familiar Space: If it’s too much to be in the same space, especially if you work from home every day, set your routine to get OUT of that space at least once a week.
- Have the “Tough” Conversations (with those you trust): Focus on the positive, for sure. However – suppressing those challenging feelings only means that they’re going to show up elsewhere in what you’re doing. Give yourself an allotted time for expression of the things that are bothering you and honor that time.
- Focus on ONE thing, not many: When in a rut, it’s easy to get overly focused on the growing mountain of things you have to do. Instead, simplify and focus on ONE challenge or obstacle. Put yourself on a winning streak.
- Practice the Grateful Perspective: “Turn that frown upside down” is good advice when combined by introspection. Trapped beneath the things that frustrate or upset you are things you truly want in life.
Most of all – don’t go it alone.
Momentum works both ways – positive and negative.
If you’re struggling with any of these things, or want to share your personal experience – connect with me in the comments below.
Or get even more help with our upcoming 30 Days of Gratitude program…