Were you aware that Thanksgiving is not just a Canadian or American holiday? In fact, celebrating gratitude is more common around the world than you might think. Various countries (approximately 11) have similar celebrations, though in different forms on different days. Many cultures value the sentiments of spending time with family and friends, being thankful, and reflecting on what is important in life.
However, being thankful and showing gratitude aren’t limited to just one day a year. In fact, it is a mindset to develop, maintain, and practice throughout the year. Don’t get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with a Thanksgiving celebration. In fact, it can be downright fun and delicious. But it has been demonstrated that having a daily attitude of gratitude benefits both a personal and professional life.
Entrepreneurs, especially solopreneurs, face some unique challenges. Let’s explore the entrepreneurial journey in more detail and see how cultivating “an attitude of gratitude” can help you and your company succeed.
The Entrepreneurial Journey
Owning your own business can be thrilling and exciting; there is no denying that. But it’s also a journey paved with numerous obstacles and challenges. Resilience and tenacity are required to overcome them. Here are just a few.
- Financial Constraints: Obtaining startup funding, controlling cash flow, and maintaining the company until profitability
- Team Building: Creating and maintaining a motivated and talented team while promoting a positive workplace culture
- Marketing and Sales: Attracting and retaining customers requires significant time and resources.
- Scaling and Growth: The efficient management of growth and the wise use of resources
Undoubtedly, you have gone through one or all of the above at some point along your journey. You have pulled out tools such as grit, resourcefulness, and resilience to help overcome them. However, were you aware that gratitude is a powerful key?
The Entrepreneurs Powerful Tool: Gratitude
As I was researching for this blog, I came across an article in Harvard Health Publishing entitled Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier. In it, the author shares that the “word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, and gratefulness. In some ways, gratitude encompasses all of these meanings.” I love this definition because being grateful not only impacts the individual but extends beyond that to impact others.
The positive outcomes of practicing gratitude have been studied in psychology, sociology, and neuroscience. In recent years, researchers have been uncovering a wealth of benefits that come with cultivating a grateful mindset. Let’s explore some of the incredible findings from these studies.
Benefits of Cultivating a Mindset of Gratitude
- Improved Mental Health: Gratitude has a direct impact on our mood and mental well-being. Studies have shown that practicing gratitude can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. In turn, this leads to a happier and more positive outlook on life. A positive outlook can only help enhance the running of your business.
- Better Physical Health: Surprisingly, gratitude isn’t just good for the mind—it’s good for the body too. Research suggests that people who practice gratitude experience improved sleep quality, lower blood pressure, and even a stronger immune system. Clearly, good physical health is a must when you’re in charge of a business.
- Enhanced Relationships: Gratitude is a powerful relationship builder. Expressing gratitude can strengthen both personal and professional bonds by fostering trust and goodwill.
- Increased Resilience: When life throws challenges our way, gratitude can help us bounce back. Grateful individuals tend to display greater resilience in the face of adversity. This makes them better equipped to navigate the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
- Boosted Productivity: Entrepreneurs often wear multiple hats, and time management is crucial. Gratitude practices can help improve focus and productivity. This attitude promotes a positive work environment and reduces stress.
- Positive Decision-Making: Gratitude has been linked to better decision-making. When we’re in a grateful state of mind, we tend to make more thoughtful and rational choices. Clearly, this can be a significant asset in the business world.
There is no doubt that exercising the practice of gratitude in our professional lives will result in positive outcomes.
Entrepreneurial Tips to Developing and Practicing Gratitude
This may all sound a little clinical. You might be saying to yourself, “Well, it sounds good in theory, but how do I make this practical in my professional life?” The answer is to be proactive. Make the decision that you are going to change your mindset. Once you have made this decision, act on it.
A Pro-Active Approach
- Make a Gratitude List Each Day: Begin to keep a list of events that occur or people that you are grateful for. Some call this a gratitude journal. Find a few minutes each day to experience gratitude. It could be in the morning before you start your day, as you reflect on the day before. Perhaps you are not a morning person, so take a few moments to jot down a couple of items before going to bed. In this way, you will develop a heightened awareness of the good things and people in your life and business.
- Be Mindful of Negative Triggers: It can be difficult to be 100% thankful, 100% of the time. We all have triggers that initiate complaints or annoyance. Take time to be mindful of what triggered irritation or a spirit of negativity, and then write it down. Perhaps review that list once a week and try to develop some solutions. By becoming self-aware of the challenges you face and possible solutions, you will grow personally and professionally.
- Be Mindful of Your Words: Do you like to be around complainers, whiners, pessimists, or gossips? Not many people do. As the head of a business, it is critical that you set an example of uplifting speech. Believe it or not, gratitude is contagious. People are generally drawn to a thankful and positive person. Your words will set an example for your staff and/or your customers.
- Express Appreciation: My parents taught me to say please and thank you. I thought this was just a matter of being polite. But it turns out that expressing thanks brings happiness to the recipient as well as to yourself. You might wish to send a thank-you note, send a text, or hold a customer or staff appreciation. Whatever you do, it will bring a positive return.
- Reflect on and be grateful for challenges. Being grateful does not mitigate difficult people or circumstances. Nor should an attitude of gratitude gloss over the reality of difficulties. However, in the midst of challenges, a grateful attitude does help. It enables one to look for solutions rather than focus on the problem. Furthermore, it provides an opportunity for growth as well as an opportunity to give thanks for that growth.
Embracing Entrepreneurial Gratitude
Clearly, we are all at different stages of our journey as entrepreneurs. Some of you may have encountered mountains and valleys and are now walking along a fairly smooth path. Others are in the thick of it, perhaps struggling up a steep cliff or finding their way out of a hole. Wherever you are in your journey, gratitude can be an invaluable tool if you choose to practice it.
In times of success, gratitude enables us to express our thankfulness for opportunities and positive outcomes. In adversity, it gives us resilience and the ability to learn from setbacks. Gratitude is our constant companion on the entrepreneurial journey, guiding us through both highs and lows.
7 Blessings To Count On
- Passion and Purpose: The opportunity to pursue your passion and turn your innovative ideas into meaningful ventures
- Resilience and Growth: Valuable lessons learned from failures and setbacks, which ultimately lead to personal and professional growth
- Supportive Network: A supportive network of mentors, advisors, and fellow entrepreneurs who provide guidance, motivation, and a sense of community.
- Family and loved ones: the unwavering support of family members and loved ones who stand by your side through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship
- Independence and Freedom: The freedom to be your own boss, set your own schedules, and make decisions that align with your vision
- Financial Potential: The potential for financial success and the ability to build wealth while pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams
- Impact: the opportunity to make a meaningful and lasting impact on your industry and community.
Wrapping It Up
With Thanksgiving approaching in Canada and the U.S., it’s a timely reminder to cultivate gratitude as a daily practice. As an entrepreneur, practicing gratitude might not always be at the top of your to-do list. But, trust me, it’s a game-changer that can reshape your entrepreneurial journey. In good and challenging times, an attitude of gratitude will infuse your businesses with positivity, resilience, and a deep sense of purpose. Ultimately, it is a companion that will serve you well.