It’s Thanksgiving week; a time we are encouraged to reflect on what we are grateful for in our lives. To those who have had a rough time of it lately, that can sound like a load of sanctimonious hooey. (That’s grumbly hateful.) At the same time, those who are trying to “do the holidays right” but are so overloaded, frazzled and burned out through their efforts, tend to create gratitude that skims the surface, without powerful transformation. That’s right. Gratitude itself can actually alter our minds’ neural pathways and change our lives for the better. (That’s humbly grateful.)
We are taught, directly and indirectly, that enough is never enough—that bigger is better and growth for growth’s sake is what matters. As inflation soars, we feel our salaries must keep pace. If we can’t add income fast enough, we try to conserve our way into abundance. We ask for more money, raise our rates, cut our costs, haggle over estimates, have funding drives, and constantly search for an elusive sense of financial stability.
We simultaneously add to our costs as we upgrade our technology, cars, phones, clothes and décor with alarming frequency – at least in Western culture. We insatiably dine, entertain, travel and earn degrees. We feel these luxuries are almost necessities to expand our reach and sense of achievement, while keeping our faces glued to the digital screens in a weird isolation.
This quest for financial and material goods keeps many of us up at night. And the more we acquire, studies show, the more we feel we must continue to increase what we have. This is the root of scarcity thinking –a belief that things and wealth are the source of our wellbeing.
By contrast, an abundance mindset is built on gratitude. It is steeped in the twin ideas that what we are grateful for, we will receive more of, and that where we focus, we flourish. All this focus on wealth and material goods is neither right nor wrong, so long as we don’t defer our gratitude until we achieve some future goal, like retirement. Abundance tells us that the payoff to gratitude for what we have, however small we believe it to be, multiplies as a result. Gratitude in this sense is like investing in both present and future joy.
Another key attribute of abundance mindset work is a breakthrough idea that all the stuff and money are only a means to an end—and that end is already present in this moment. It is our own wellbeing, joy and ability to thrive.
So, whether our bodies are healthy or not, we can be grateful to be experiencing life through this physical lens. Whether we are in a loving relationship or feeling lonely, we can experience that recognition of our natural ability to love. Whether our children are thriving or are giving us pause for concern in this moment, we can cherish the part of them that is whole and complete, beneath their struggles. Whether our work feels inspiring or oppressive, we can bless what we are learning about ourselves and our needs as a result. And if we are grieving the loss of a loved one, we can live our lives gratefully in their honor.
A Prayer of Gratitude
Prayer might seem out of place in a blog primarily devoted to business. However, business is built on values, purpose and mission – and those are fundamentally spiritual principles. So, the following affirmative prayer of gratitude is a non-denominational one I have created, and am sharing with you, especially if you find yourself in a season of loss, and grasping for a sense of gratitude in what seems devoid of any. Use it in your business. Use it in any aspect of your life you want to amplify your gratitude for.
This is what I know:
There is a Presence that dwells in everything.
It is a Presence of giving.
This Presence gives unceasingly of opportunity, learning, challenges which strengthen, deepen and open up our hearts.
I am a part of this Presence.
I am able and willing to choose to dive into its abundance without judgement of whether what it gives me is good, bad, enough or lacking.
I soak in it all. I let this abundance wash over me and through me, raising my awareness, and lifting my sights higher than I had ever imagined was possible.
I am so grateful for what I am receiving from this Presence.
I am grateful for my health, my wealth, my work, my life, my relationships—past, present and future—which are teaching me how to be my highest and best self.
I am overflowing with gratitude for my purpose,
my vision and my mission on this earth.
I know that everything I need, and most of what I want,
is available to me in this lifetime, as I lean into the wonder, joy, paradox and mystery of this day,
and all the days to come.
I know these words are true as I have spoken them.
I release them now, to do their good and perfect work.
And so it is.