Let me ask you two closely related questions. How do you get in your own way growing your business and living your best life? Do you find it difficult to slow down enough to celebrate all the good in your world? If you’re asking what the heck these have to do with one another, read on. The answer might lead to your best year ever.
Have you heard the story of the twin sons of an alcoholic father? As the story goes, scientists studied identical twins of an alcoholic father to better understand the influence of nurture versus nature in the choices people make in life. One of the twins was an alcoholic and the other twin was not.
They interviewed both twins looking to understand why they ended up so different, despite their identical genes and being raised in a similar environment. The alcoholic son told them, “Well, I grew up with an alcoholic father. Alcohol was in the house all the time. I saw my dad drinking all the time so how could I end up any other way?!?”
In contrast, the non-alcoholic son said, “Well, I grew up with an alcoholic father. Alcohol was in the house all the time. I saw my dad drinking and what it did to him and to my family. So how could I possibly be any other way?!?”
The study concluded that it’s our perspectives and thoughts that ultimately determine our emotions and behaviors. This is where most of us get in our own way and therefore the source of our power to create the successes we want.
You see, numerous other studies have shown roughly 90% of our choices and behaviors are driven by the subconscious mind which acts as an autopilot in our lives. This is where nurture and nature program our subconscious thinking. Now hang with me here for the good news!
These same studies prove if we want to change the programming, we must intervene through conscious thought. Intentional thoughts of gratitude may be one of the most powerful strategies for interrupting the autopilot and reprogramming our brains to achieve more of our potential.
Slowing down to think about all the good in your world does several things. It magnifies positive emotions which fuel your energy to get more done, triggers more innovation in problem-solving and serves as a powerful mechanism of influence.
Thoughts of gratitude also prevent toxic and negative emotions such as envy, resentment, regret, impatience, intolerance, fear and anxiety. In fact, a 2008 study by psychologist Alex Wood also showed that gratitude reduces the frequency and duration of depression. That’s how powerful it is.
The third benefit of gratitude thinking is an increase in stress resistance. Thoughts of appreciation and celebration have a biological impact on us, reducing cortisol and increasing positive hormones in our brains. This helps us avoid bad choices in dealing with our stress like taking it out on others or masking it with vices.
Lastly, gratitude boosts self-worth because you realize many of the good things around you are because of others who somehow contributed to it. It’s important to know others value us enough to contribute to our success, whether they’re parents, siblings, spouses, friends, employees or others. We just have to be careful about “self-serving bias” robbing us of this satisfaction believing all the good is because of us and all the bad is because of others. When we’re grateful, we give credit to others contributing to our success and feel relief knowing we don’t have to do it all alone.
Gratitude also goes against our need to feel in control which I find to be one of the most significant impediments to success for business owners and leaders. In order to grow and scale a business, we must empower others, let go and allow them to learn from their mistakes too. One of the biggest shifts a leader must make to grow and scale a business is moving from independence to interdependence. Gratitude is an essential tool for leverage in making that shift.
The two questions at the start of this article relate in this way. Our thoughts are typically what gets in our way of achieving more and gratitude is a powerful remedy that unlocks more of your potential in life and business.
By now, perhaps another set of limiting beliefs is creeping into your mind. Maybe you are hesitant because you don’t know how to invoke these thoughts of gratitude and/or you’re afraid it won’t be worth the effort. As I said, both are LIMITING beliefs. Both are great reasons to take action on the next steps.
There are many ways to embrace thoughts of gratitude. You might keep a gratitude journal, writing down 5 things you’re grateful for each week, mixing it up rather than listing the same things. Consciously think about your blessings each day. You might start the day with a mental list, end the day with it or even use it during the day when negative thoughts hit you.
Creating a gratitude jar is another great strategy. Put a penny in it for each thought of gratitude and count them at the end of the week. You could also write grateful thoughts on a piece of paper, drop them in the jar and read them at the end of each week or month.
A grateful mindset requires attention and intention, but the ROI is huge. Pick a strategy and just DO IT! It will improve your mental health, physical health, relationships and could be a serious game-changer in your life and business.
Learn how your thinking is impacting your results by taking this complimentary “Confident Leader Insight Assessment”. Click HERE to take this brief but powerful assessment. The report is immediate and if you have any questions about it, I’ll personally reply to your email at firstname.lastname@example.org or click the button below to schedule a complimentary laser session.