When I launched The Pursuit and began interviewing leading entrepreneurs, bestselling authors, multi-millionaires and celebrities, I expected to find some commonalities. My guests -- like Tony Robbins, Barbara Corcoran, Gary Vaynerchuk, Rachael Ray and many more -- employ thousands. In total, they are worth more than $850 million, and collectively they have written more than 20 New York Times bestselling books. Amazing work ethic, incredible focus, passion, vision, resilience and leadership ability were all obvious. Patience -- something almost every guest mentions -- was a bit of a surprise. What has surprised me most, though, is not only a recurring emphasis on gratitude, but an actual tactic most of my guests use for success.
As a hustling entrepreneur who wants to grow as a leader and business owner, I’m sure you’ve heard the importance of having an “attitude of gratitude” -- which most of my guests definitely have. Focusing on the positive aspects of life help to calm anxiety and increase overall happiness and fulfillment. As Marie Forleo said, “Gratitude is more powerful than any pill you can pick up at the pharmacy.”
But, the massively successful take this one step further. They employ a daily exercise, a gratitude practice. In an effort to remember and actually use this strategy, I like to call it a “gractice.”
What does this mean for the rest of us, those in the trenches, not quite millionaires yet? As problem solvers, we entrepreneurs can tend to only look for -- you guessed it -- problems. We want to improve things, so we look for inefficiencies, gaps, bottlenecks, flaws and so on. The bigger the vision, the further away the goal, the harder it is for us to be fully present and grateful for where we currently are.
Not only does this exercise bring us into the present, it improves our outlook in the moment of reflection. It also produces an archive to look back through later. Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that this archive provides the perfect pick-me-up during those lonely, exhausting, why-did-I-become-an-entrepreneur?! days.
Here are a few ideas for inspiration on why and how to start your own “gractice” from some of today’s most successful people.
“You cannot be grateful and angry at the same time. You can not be grateful and fearful at the same time.” -- Tony Robbins, multimillionaire entrepreneur, life strategist, author and philanthropist. Robbins takes three minutes each morning to focus on feeling deeply thankful for three things, starting with something simple and non-material, like the wind on his face.
“Take pleasure in small things and expect good things. Cheerfully engage the moment. Let this become our practice, our mastery, our art . . . . Have a gratitude practice. Write down all the things you learned, accomplished or are thankful for each day. Then, write down what you need to do tomorrow so you can free your mind and relax. Making lists help you relax.” -- Brendon Burchard, celebrity high performance trainer and bestselling author
“I’m often asked what fuels me, and 80 percent of the time my answer is gratitude. Gratitude is what has gotten me through my toughest moments in business (yes, there have been some, though I don’t talk about them much). Whenever I have lost a deal to a competitor, or an incredible employee, or millions of dollars in revenue . . . I default to gratitude. Because I recognize that even if I had invested in Uber, and Woody Johnson decided it was time and I did buy the Jets tomorrow, none of it would matter to me at all if the next day I got a call that someone I love was sick or had died. Keeping that perspective allows me to handle anything and everything.” -- Gary Vaynerchuk, multimillionaire entrepreneur, investor, marketer and bestselling author
“When I started learning about gratitude and focusing on gratitude . . . things in my life just started happening and happening. Every single day, I say the things I appreciate.”- -Kimra Luna, founder of Freedom Hackers and millionaire online entrepreneur
“To inventory your success is to practice gratitude. Gratitude is key to our happiness, health and an attitude of abundance. Only when you are grateful for what you have and what you’ve done and all that you’ve accomplish will you be blessed with more.” -- Chalene Johnson, bestselling author, entrepreneur and celebrity fitness trainer
“Several years ago, at the encouragement of a friend, I started carrying a gratitude rock in my pocket. It’s really just a small, smooth stone that I picked up from the fish pond behind our house. I carry it with me wherever I go. The idea is simple. Whenever my hand contacts the stone -- usually several times a day -- I give thanks for whatever is happening at that moment, whether good or bad.” -- Michael Hyatt, bestselling author, podcaster and founder of Platform University
“This is something my wife and I do at least once a month, not just once a year -- and we do it with the whole family no matter their age! 'Gratitude On Demand.' This is a drill where our family meets and we each share three rounds of all the things we have to be grateful for one at a time. No one is interrupted, there is no input from others and we just listen. Each round the person sharing goes a little deeper on those things they have that they are grateful [for]. [This exercise] is magical, causing everyone to come together as a team, getting them focused on the positive, listening to what each family member is grateful for, and oftentimes revealing what others may have been taking for ‘grant-ed.'” -- Grant Cardone, multimillionaire entrepreneur, sales trainer and bestselling author
“[Every day] I try to think of everyone in my life I’m grateful for. Then I try to think of more people. Then more. It’s hard. Forgiving -- I picture everyone who has done me wrong. I visualize gratefulness for them (but not pity).” -- James Altucher, multimillionaire entrepreneur, investor, podcaster and bestselling author
Take some time this week to plan out what a “gractice” looks like for you. This could include morning or evening journaling, a daily voice memo to yourself, a dedicated space in your day planner, a gratitude notepad or the notes app on your smart phone (my personal method). You could briefly list three to five things you’re grateful for, or zero in on one item in detail. Avoid the temptation to copy what one of the aforementioned experts does, and instead ask yourself, "What will I actually maintain?" Even if you have to start weekly instead of daily, just get started. Begin focusing on the positive aspects of your life and work and in a week, month or year, you’ll be so glad you did!
Watch in-depth interviews with celebrity entrepreneurs on The Pursuit with Kelsey Humphreys
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