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The Funny Thing About Gratitude

It’s trickier than you think…

Gratitude is such a funny thing.

The greatest gratitude comes from appreciating what’s around you in the hardest of moments.

It’s easy to feel gratitude when everything’s going well but how often have you stopped when it seems like everything is crumbling around you and thought to yourself, “Thank you so much for X.”

I think this is one of the true tests of our inner self.

Do we have the ability to feel grateful for what we DO have.

Our environmental programming teaches us to attach ourselves to things that appeal to us. The dilemma comes in the that overtime we develop immense attachments to things, people, feelings etc.

When these things disappear or when we can’t have these things, our mind sends us negative feedback.

We could acquire twenty amazing things in a day, but at the end of the day, the mind will still desire the one thing we didn’t get.

What we can easily miss in this complex puzzle of life though is that our joy IS NOT dependent on those objects, people, or feelings.

It’s already there inside us. We can feel it without all of those “things.”
The key comes in understand and appreciating those things for what they are and how they must follow the same path we follow. Meaning they are not attached to our desire for them because they face their own battle of attachment and desire.So back to my original statement.

Gratitude is a funny thing.

As coaches we often speak to our clients about being grateful for what we have, but are we really doing our job in saying so?

I think it goes a step further in that as coaches, we should be helping clients to appreciate and be grateful for themselves.

What that means to me is that I hope to help all of you to find joy in where you are right now. The choices you’re making for yourself by being active are placing you in an incredible place.

Be joyful of yourself.

Be proud of where you are at the moment.

Be happy that you are you and appreciate all those things around you but realize they are not what define you.

All those things around you will ebb and flow with life and at the core of it all…YOU define you.

Why You’re Keeping Yourself from Starting

I came across this article from perhaps my new favorite blog and it summoned all the things I was doing in my life to keep myself from getting to where I want to be. I’ve always had lofty goals and plans and I do my best to face my fears that keep me from doing all the things I want to do with my life. Thanks to Zen Habits for providing the inspiration and base for this article. I’ve written about this in the past from the point of view of Taking Risk, and our ideas seem to jive pretty well so I thought I’d reiterate and elaborate on both our concepts.

Most of us have changes we want to make in our life from health and fitness, to family, to professional goals. We talk a lot about how we’re going to make these changes but often find that they never happen. Life usually gets in the way, we have plenty of reasons that they’re not happening from kids, to work, to other commitments. Is that really the case though? Are we really giving up on the thing we so badly want to accomplish because we have other things going on in our life? It’s as if we had nothing to do all day…THEN we’d get it done. So we wait, for that rainy day where we’re trapped in our house with no power to start. But then the internet isn’t working so we couldn’t possibly get started then.

What’s really going on is overriding fear. Our bodies thrive on keeping us in homeostasis. That means doing everything possible to avoid pain, discomfort, failure etc.  So while we so badly want to get started with a new project, or learn to speak in public, or lose weight, the fear of any kind of discomfort steps in and says “ah ah ah” not so fast. That would mean being uncomfortable. It could be physical or mental discomfort but it’s definitely going to be there. I can’t imagine a time in my life when I’ve stepped out from behind my wall of comfort to progress somehow and found the progress “easy.” Unfortunately, it’s the fear of this discomfort that stands in our way to making progress. In fact, the reason I’m writing this entry is because it’s been too long and I’ve been “scared” to start up again due to my lapse in writing. I hope you’ll all forgive me.

We understand what’s happening, so let’s address how to work on overcoming it:

Do it now. Just a little bit, it could be 1 minute or 1 hour but do it now. Don’t wait. Tomorrow, do it again without question. This means doing it, not talking about it, not reading about it but flat out doing the “thing” you want.

Come to terms with itIt being the potential for discomfort. It will happen, I promise. And it’s OK. Discomfort is a signal that you’re growing. Be proud of this and celebrate the fact that you just did something new. After all this is what keeps life fresh.

Learn from it. Discomfort and failure are great learning tools. They teach us what happened when we did it a certain way so that next time we can course correct and create a different outcome. This is GROWTH! Enjoy the feeling and next time, come back for some more failure! When I coach, I frequently challenge my clients to a point of failure. Never because I want them to fail but I want them to know their potential and from the ashes of failure, one can rise like a phoenix to  create wonderful change.

Repeat. Start back at numero uno. The more you learn from it the better you get. The better you get, the happier you’ll find your everyday experience with what you wanted to overcome. The happier you are with the day to day experience, the more you’ll want to come back for more.

Understanding that we all come from the same place, that all of us face pain day in and day out helps to realize that we’re capable of so much more than many of us think. We have a wealth of opportunities that our body and minds provide. Get the two to work together, and you’re going to see some amazing results. Please, share your story of how this goes for you with others. Positive change begets positive change.