19 Sep Attitude of Gratitude
Core to who we are as a business – and Lenore and myself personally – is keeping gratitude front of mind at all times. There are many times, particularly when you own your own business, when the magnitude of the challenges before you quite simply crush the air from your lungs. In those moments you have a choice. You can focus on the negative, or you can be grateful for all the wonderful things you do have. We choose gratitude.
Lenore and I decided a while ago to embed that ethos into our business. We regularly thank people for their contribution to our experience of life – from our Pilates instructors to clients who taught us how to do something better. We also do this via a variety of channels – from simply saying thank you through to random acts of kindness. For us this keeps us centred and focused on what matters whilst also ensuring that the people in our lives are aware of the contribution they make.
I am saddened however that of late some of these acts have been met with a measure of scepticism. There appears to be an assumption that the only reason we would interact with someone is that we want something – whether that be a sale, a favour or something undefined. This has prompted me to write this blog to explain our ethos, and hope that practicing gratitude will become so common that people no longer feel the need to question why they are being thanked.
Our brains are structured to see patterns. The brain will constantly seek out patterns to make us feel safe. Therefore, in order to perpetuate a pattern, we are likely to – intentionally or otherwise – take action which holds in place the pattern we are focusing on. That is to say, if you focus on negative things you can expect more negative things to come into your awareness. If you focus on positive things, you are more likely to see positive things around you. One way to keep the positive in focus is to actively practice gratitude.
At any given moment we all have a myriad of things to be grateful for. Our partners who love us, our bodies that give us physical presence, our brains that give us insight into the world, the sun shining, our colleagues, friends and family who share our lives with us. When we focus on these things, and habitually revisit our gratitude for them, we see more and more things to be grateful for.
However, this is all internal. How we then take this practice to make a positive contribution to others is that we actively thank the people we are grateful for. When these people know that they have made a positive contribution, and that their actions matter, they are then more likely to pay it forward – and so the flow continues. This is the world we stand for.
There are many ways you can choose to observe this philosophy. For us, we often send gift baskets, flowers, vouchers, tickets etc. to people who have made contribution to us. For example, I recently took an orchid to the Office Manager of the physio clinic I go to. Why? Because in all the time I have been going to that clinic she has always been warm, friendly and welcoming each and every time I have seen her. This has a huge effect on my day, and the value I get out the subsequent session at the clinic. She could just as easily choose to conduct herself in a different way – which would equally have bearing on my day and experience. So, I chose to show my gratitude for that contribution with an orchid.
Equally, we often thank people and organisations for teaching us lessons we can use. Often this comes about from what on the face of it could be seen as somewhat unpleasant interactions. However, it is through those interactions that we learn how to do better, and be better. So we are grateful for the contribution. We often express this with a gift basket or a thank you note.
I realise all of the above options cost money. There are many ways you can observe gratitude without spending money. Getting in the habit of saying a meaningful thank you is easy, and free. It simply takes focus and practice.
What’s This Have to do With Business?
For us, everything. We started a business not to make a fortune, but to make a contribution. There were many easier paths available to us. We could have secure jobs with big salaries. We could have 9-5 jobs with medium salaries. We could do any number of things which don’t involve personal investment, late nights working and employee’s dependent on us making the right decision so they can stay employed and pay their bills. However, we decided we wanted to find a new way of doing business that allows people to habitually make contribution to others – and for us all as a group to be better for it.
Anyone who has spent any time in a Corporate environment will have a sense of the cultures that are out there. Where people are seen as simply functions of an output, and subsequently entirely expendable. Where the almighty dollar is all there is. It is precisely these cultures which we believe need to be challenged.
Imagine, if you will, a corporate world where gratitude – and subsequently contribution – is front of mind. Where we all in unison play for something bigger than any of us individually. Where we all feel seen and heard and that we matter. For me, this is the core of being human, and why gratitude should be become a core business activity.
In closing, let me assure anyone who receives a little gift or note from us that we are not asking you for anything. We are not angling at something, trying to manipulate you into a sale or asking you to be anything other than what you are. We are very simply saying thank you. And we would love if you would pay it forward, and be grateful to those that make contribution to you.