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Gratitude is not enough

I find it refreshing to get out of the US, given how the impeachment inquiry is sucking all the oxygen out of the room at the moment. It gives me perspective, and with that comes a lot of gratitude. When I look at the world I see mass protests in countries from Chile to Iran to Hong Kong and realize, just how good my life is. As a matter of fact, I’m writing this from an overwater bungalow in the Maldives!

It’s indisputable I had a head start. I was born in the US, as a Caucasian man, to loving parents, in a solid middle-class environment. My journey has not been without its challenges of course, though I’m keenly aware, for reasons known only beyond my paygrade, I was born into a life with a stacked deck.

But if you live life long enough you realize, where you come from only matters to a degree. It’s what you do with your circumstances – whatever they may be – that pays the dividends. I’m now seeing my friends and acquaintances, many of which have the same or more advantageous backgrounds, begin to live with the consequences of choices made along the way. While certainly not set in stone, trajectories are quite predictable by your 40s. For some reason, I’ve always been able to see that and I’ve constructed, very carefully and purposefully, the life I want to live, winding through plenty of mistakes, and hardship along the way.

This next week is Thanksgiving in the US and fall is the season of thanksgiving for many countries around the world. Chances are your social feed, like mine will be filled with messages of gratitude for those you love and hold dear. It’s inspiring to scroll through these kind thoughts for a couple of days, but this fall, 2019, words of gratitude are just not enough. There is simply too much at stake to post a couple of kind messages and then go back to business as usual. So what can you do if you’re wanting to make progress in the coming year and advance your life and/or your business and align it with what you really want out of your life experience? Here are three ideas to consider.

Make decisions with your own personal happiness at the forefront

How you feel is the most important thing in terms of making positive things happen in your life and in your business. Yes, ambitious life decisions have a way of putting ourselves into difficult circumstances. Deal with your situation face first and do not use time as the leverage point to find happiness beyond your current situation. A false thought construct is, as soon as “X” happens, then I’ll be happier with things. That’s an illusion. “X” is merely a new version of today’s “Y” and until you deal with the underlying issues of X, it will just find you at the next stop.

Invest more time in getting clarity on your what you really want in life going forward

For most of us, clarity doesn’t find us like a light bulb in the middle of the night. Clarity it turns out is an obscure creature, hidden in the subconscious, under layers of conflicting thoughts and experiences. I find it takes a significant investment of time to uncover the hidden gem of clarity, and it’s much more of a journey than a destination.

Put together a specific plan, and work your butt off

When I ask people what they want to achieve some give me decently descriptive answers. But when I ask how exactly are they going to go about the accomplishment of that, what the sequence is, and what the next steps are – it falls apart fast. This, like clarity, isn’t easy and requires consistent effort, and frequent error to get it right.

Gratitude is not enough. It never was. It’s a good start, and without it, everything else is more difficult, though gratitude alone doesn’t send you to the Maldives for Thanksgiving. What are you going to do to really get what you want out of your life and your business in 2020?

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