In honor of Thanksgiving here in the USA on this week’s episode we’ll be discussing gratitude, appreciation and other soulful ideas to help us create lives and business we love.
On your Mark! Get set! Shine! Welcome to Illuminate Together Radio. The price for inspiration, creativity, passion and adventure connect on the airway to help you create the life and business of your dream. Here’s your host and fairy godmother, Michelle Spalding.
Hello! Hello! Hello! Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends in spirit in the United States. I’m excited to spend some time with you here to pop the news and appreciate each and every one of you. Funny, as the show started, I clicked some wrong button and I didn’t freak out and I’m grateful for that and we’re going to talk a lot about gratitude and being thankful on today’s episode, but I kept calm. And I’m really proud of myself for that.
So, you heard a little bit of the music at the very beginning, but it’s supposed to be the close of the show music, not the audio intro. So, my apologies for the snafu on the technology. And I’ll do my best not to let it happen again, but you know how these things are. Again, welcome.
Today, we’re going to be talking about gratitude. Here in the U.S., Thanksgiving is tomorrow. And it’s a time where families get together, where we are expressing our gratitude for one another, for the things that we have in our life and the people that are part of our lives as well. It’s also a time in some people’s worlds where stress and tension come up because of the wish that they need to be something that they aren’t. So, whether you’re celebrating thanksgiving tomorrow or hearing this in the future, I encourage you to take a moment. Be grateful for what you are, who you are and just be yourself all the time.
Let’s dive in then to the topic at hand and we want to talk about; how applying gratitude even, or especially, when things aren’t going so well or they didn’t go the way that we thought they would can really change everything. This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart.
I read an article this morning and sent this out to many of my followers on gratitude, and on not just being thankful one day out of the year but how I think that an expression of gratitude should be something that we do each and every day. At minimum, once a week or even better on a regular basis throughout the day.
What I’m going to talk to you about today is how I incorporated gratitude through some teaching of a very good friend of mine and turned that in to something extremely powerful in my business and in my personal life. You guys know that I’m all about freedom and really and truly following your bliss. I teach people how to blend their inspiration, creativity, adventure and passion into the life of their dreams. And what I am about to share with you is how truly freeing and liberating following the information on being grateful on expressing our gratitude can really be.
Of course, by doing so, we kind of unlock a new doorway, a new path, a new spot, if you will, in ourselves. But I want to lead off with a quote by Ghandi, Mahatma Ghandi, and this is one of my very favorite quotes. As a matter of fact, for a very long time, I had a button in my car and it was one of those buttons with little round buttons with the stick pen on the back. I don’t even remember exactly where I got it, but it says, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
And at the time when that was given to me, I thought, “Yeah, that’s a great idea but…” And then I realized that if I wanted more gratitude and more people around me to be grateful of the things that I offer, the services that I provide and just really my presence then I had to start being a lot more grateful for the things that I already have.
So, the end of 2005, as I told you before, I started a business. And I won’t go into the details of how that business started. I mentioned that in our last show, but within one year of opening this business, we were doing fairly well. We were a new business. We were a young business. I was somebody who was really good at a particular task that when I started a business doing this task, and then eventually realized that I was better as an owner of a business, to step back and have people on my team do certain things, which is exactly what I did. And of course, I was then able to spend more time helping people understand what we could do for their businesses as well.
So, the end of the first year, as I mentioned, we were doing well. I’m just pretty impressed with what we had going on. We’re beginning to make a name for ourselves, the company was beginning to grow.
And in our second year, which was 2008, because we started at the end of ’05, the Real Estate Market tanked. And our business was and still is, in that business. Totally, it’s a real estate agency.
So, we spent three years, myself, my partner, my team and my family, praying and hoping that things would work out, that things would turn around and of course I was very angry. I was hurt, I was resentful. Quite honestly, I was pissed as well and finances looked like a train wreck. I had left a secure position that I don’t know if it would still have been there had I not gone out on my own.
But at the very same time what I was looking at with this secured position that I have, and that I left to go out on my own, to start something that I firmly believed in only to have something totally beyond my control derail that, derail my dreams, derail my visions, derail my finances, my nerves and everything else.
And at the time that that was happening, I was really also seeking some changes on a personal level. And someone mentioned to me starting a gratitude journal. Now, I’m going to tell you when they mentioned that to me, I thought they were crazy, a gratitude journal. What do I have to be grateful for. The market sucks. My credit cards have maxed out. My business is not growing the way that it should. I have clients that are leaving the business and going and selling and doing other things. Tell me what I had to be grateful for, but I started anyway.
And as I started this journal, this gratitude journal and I wasn’t the first one. I didn’t start it on day one. It took me a while. And my first entry in this little gratitude journal was just something very simple because that was what I was encouraged to do. And it was on June 12th of 2009 that I wrote I’m thankful for the sunshine. And as I began to write in this gratitude journal, and I began to find three things daily and put those things into my gratitude journal, new things started to happen in my life.
I made it a point everyday to look for three new things to appreciate. Now, on day one, all I could find was one and that was the sunshine. I was pretty bitter, I was resentful. I was struggling, but I pushed myself. And within a few days I was able to find a few more things around me to be grateful for.
Then it became a welcome part of my daily routine. Every morning before I started work, I would grab my gratitude journal and I would jot down three things that I was grateful for. And then, my gratitude journal also became a trusted friend or something that could uplift me if you will, when things were tough. And there were a few of those days, more than a few, but that doesn’t really matter at this point.
What I found was that my gratitude journal was a place I could go and I could look back on something and remind myself of just how much I have in my life and how much I had to be thankful for. One of those entries was something that I used to struggle with and I’m getting better at and that was accepting a gift from somebody when it was something that I needed that I should’ve been able to provide or supply for myself.
And on September 7th of 2009, I wrote I’m thankful for my new laptop bag that Tomie bought me. He used the 50 dollar gift card that he had to pay for almost all of it and it will make our travels easier. Many times in the past, accepting something from somebody wasn’t so easy and I still struggle with this and I know many people do, but accepting things, being grateful for what people can help you with is huge in receiving more in our lives and in our businesses.
And I wrote – today as I was prepping for this, something came across my desk, an affirmation from Louis Hay and I thought it was very fitting at this point. It says, “I accept with joy and gratitude all of the good that life offers me, accepting it, giving it, that’s what it’s all about.
So, one of the first things that I always recommend to my clients or the students that are working with me that are trying to change something in their life is to start a gratitude journal, just to begin with something as simple as popping over to your favorite craft store or paper store and picking up a pretty journal, something that will inspire you, something that will encourage you to start jotting things down. And perhaps you’ll start like me where only one thing will come to mind, but build on that. Continue this ritual and do this every day.
Now, some people I know don’t like jotting things down. I find it very relaxing. I find the connection of me and my writing on a piece of paper to kind of deepen the feeling of what it is that I’m thankful for, but I know some people who like to record a small video each and every day of the things that they are grateful for.
Sometimes they share it, sometimes they don’t. I know some that will put it on a blog or on Facebook or somewhere out there in a public way to let others know what they’re grateful for. However, I’m going to be totally upfront and honest with you.
There are times when you are so angry and so hurt and maybe even so depressed that bouncing from those feelings to one of gratitude looks entirely impossible. Trust me. I’ve been there. And going from a very low feeling to a feeling of being grateful for anything sometimes is almost an insurmountable obstacle, an insurmountable mountain to climb if you will, a journey to go through.
So, the next kind of level if you will is being able to accept that, being able to own that, being able to realize that we do have the things to be grateful for and that’s also to let go of the things that are beyond our control.
One of the really big things that worked for me in my life was releasing the problem of the market. There was nothing I could do about it. I started a business. I went into it on good faith. I gave it my all and I still continue to give it my all, but at the very same time, the real estate market was beyond my control. And those things happen.
And what I had to do as I started this journey of being grateful and being thankful for the things that I have in order to attract more into my life, was let go of some things that weren’t working for me.
And I read a book by Catherine Ponder and started one of her suggestions which was that I release this problem or situation and then name the problem to the universe for its perfect outcome. I release the problem of the market to the universe for its perfect outcome. I had the right, I had to own that. I had to make sure that I let go of things that I couldn’t control but focus on the gratitude that I had and the appreciation that I could muster to honor what was currently in my life.
That was a very powerful statement. I release this problem or situation, and then of course name that problem or situation, to the universe for its perfect outcome.
This removes blocks. This allows you to kind of free up some space within yourself to open up for some appreciation and gratitude. You may find when you’re stuck like that that writing that out a few times, maybe in a separate journal, will help you release some blocks because there are things that come up in our businesses. There are things that come up in our lives. And there’s really no separation of our business and our lives and I will talk about that at length in the future and bring some people on to share how our lives go with us everywhere we go and our businesses are part of that as well.
And there can’t really be a separation. We have to be ourselves each and every place that we go but let’s go back to releasing and letting go of things. You may find that you want to share what’s bothering you with a coach, with a trusted adviser, a mentor, or a very close friend, letting them know what you’re working on releasing, so that they might be able to help you or just kind of be there as a friend, as a support system, as a rock that you can count on.
As we release, we feel better. As we feel better, we begin to do better, and that’s really and truly what I found personally in my life. The more I let go of things that were beyond my control, the more I was able to look around and find things that I could really and truly begin to be grateful for.
I want to show you or share with you, I can’t show you, but I wish you were here. I have a journal on my desk and it’s my gratitude journal and there are some other things in here that I want to share. As you’re writing your gratitude journal, it doesn’t have to be something huge.
For me, one day, the only thing I could be thankful for was being to wear yoga pants to work. I do have the luxury of working from home most days and I wore yoga pants to work a lot.
I was thankful for that. That was kind of what hit me that day. I got to tell you, looking back later, it helped. So, as I went through the journey of letting go of things that were beyond my control and focusing on the good things, some things started to change in my business. I got phone calls from some people and they were client referrals. It was people who were interested in what we had to do that were referred to us by a long-time client.
And I know that because I was not negative about the market, I was really beginning to find some appreciation for the things that I had. I was able to bring that, attract that. I also had a funny phone call one day. And I didn’t even realize that my voice had changed and that I sounded better.
When I picked up the phone, I answered it in this chipper voice that I had recently rediscovered, and the person on the other end, said to me, “Who are you?” or “What are you doing?” or what have you and “My, you’re mighty chipper,” and of course, I snickered and said, “Well, of course I am, what can I do for you,” and he said, “Did I call a real estate office or did I call somebody having a good time?”, or something to that effect.
He really was mister doom and grim and I said, “Well, you called an office about real estate, what can I do for you?” And he said, “Wow!” He said, “You sound like you won the lottery or just got a promotion.” And I said, “Well, neither one of those things happened sir. If I win the lottery, I promise, I’ll call you and let you know.” He giggled, took a step back and I think that because I was able to defuse that in a different way with him, I was able to share with him that dim and grim is not going to cut it in my world, and I hope that he took the message that I was giving to him about that dim and grim and went somewhere else.
As I began to feel grateful for what I had, I also just started to feel better about the way that things were going. Even though they weren’t perfect, on some days they weren’t much different than they were a couple of weeks ago or a couple of months ago, but I felt better.
And because I felt better, I was able to give a little more and do a little bit better and it absolutely, absolutely without a doubt helped me. Another quote from Louis Hay, “I am thankful for my wonderful life.” That was one that I came across and got to say that it really helped me.
There was a time a couple of years ago when school supplies needed to be purchased for the kids and I was a little nervous about how I was going to do that and meet payroll and all the other overhead that was involved in my life. And somehow, some way, it came together and worked out.
And on July 15th, I wrote in my gratitude journal that I was thankful for the resources I had to get my two children everything they needed for school. Stopping and taking a moment to really appreciate the fact that I have that, I know opened up some things in my life. Another little gratitude thing for me was I was thankful for some new information that a friend have shared with me, back in New Orleans that really opened my eyes up to some new ways to do things on the internet.
And those new ways to do things on the internet helped me to create new business and it was because of the time that I spent with him and my openness and willingness to spend time with this individual that my eyes were opened to something totally different.
Next, of course involved with gratitude is showing our gratitude for others. It’s not just about receiving it, it’s not just about journaling it, it’s not only about letting things go, but I think one of the things that is the kind of next level or kind of puts us on another level of appreciation is to show that gratitude.
And for me, showing my emotions is not always a super easy thing. And looking someone in the eye and saying to them, I’m grateful for this or I’m happy. I’m thankful. I’m appreciative of that, but I get it and I began to realize it. It got easier and easier.
At the same time, I also started giving a little bit of my finances. I started very small and I still continue to give small because that’s right now, all that our company and myself can do, but I started by giving to some charities that are near and dear to my heart, one was Kiva.
Kiva is a phenomenal organization that offers micro loans to individuals here in America as well as throughout the world, so that they can start their own businesses. Knowing what a big difference having a business has made in my life, this is an organization that I was extremely happy to find and very happy to be able to donate too. If you’re not familiar with kiva.org, they’re a great organization.
Again, 25 dollars to me, might have been a lot at some point, but it began to get easier and easier the more that I did it, just like the more I let go of things, the easier it became to write things down in my journal that I was appreciative of, that I was grateful of.
Another organization that I love to support is Habitat for Humanity. Now, again, sure there are times when there are bills that need my attention but I’ve always felt good knowing that even with just a little, I could change the life of someone else. I could be part of something bigger than just whatever was going on in my life.
I mentioned earlier that I don’t believe that it’s just business, that people, customers, employees, owners are all a part of that and that we have to take our gratitude practice with us everywhere we go. That’s why I love having my gratitude journal on my desk when I start my day.
And I again encourage, I think it’s honoring of our spirit, our soul connection to one another. Remember, everywhere we go, there we are. There’s no separation. Releasing our troubles isn’t ignoring them. It’s about releasing them, believing that they can best be handled by a higher power and then being open to having more things in our life.
It’s also kind of a way of forgetting yourself. I mean things didn’t work when I started my business and as I got into it, I kind of got angry and resentful and part of that was at myself, but I had to find a way to let those things go and that was of course by releasing it, forgiving myself and making room for gratitude and appreciation in my life.
Before I wind down, I want to remind you that I recommend that you join me in being thankful and being gracious and grateful more than just one day out of the year. Like I said earlier, start small. Maybe it’s something like me, you’re kind of struggling and writing down the things that you’re grateful for is going to be difficult, but look around. There has to be something. Pick one thing. Pick one thing with me right now. Just look around.
For me, the first thing that came to mind is the sign I have on my wall that say, “Life is Beautiful.” I love that picture. It’s a nice painting but it reminds me that life is beautiful. It’s one of those things that I’m happy to have and I’m grateful to have and it’s a reminder. The second that comes up is right next to it there’s a picture of one of my very close friends on a trip we took several years ago.
Again, another thing that I’m grateful for and I encourage you to just stop one minute look around. I’m sure you can find three things in your general vicinity that you are very happy and very appreciative to have in your life. Do this daily. Go to the craft store. Go to your favorite paper store, Walmart, Target or whatever. Grab some computer paper and just start with a daily practice of a gratitude journal. I want to leave you with this one quote as we wrap things up and it’s by someone named Robert Emmons, “It is gratitude that enables us to receive and it is gratitude that motivates us to repay or return in the goodness that we have been given. In short, it is gratitude that enables us to be fully human. Being human, living fully, that’s what it’s all about.”
Happy thanksgiving to each and every one of you. Join me next week as we take on the topic of fulfilling business a little further by talking about using intuition in our business in everything from clients that we work with, locations, people we hire and so much more. Now, have a fantastic thanksgiving.
This is Michelle Spalding your fairy godmother signing off for now, until next week. Make it a great one. Tah, tah for now.
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