November marks a special time of the year. Summer is now in the rear-view mirror (even here), trees display their Fall brilliance, and all things pumpkin shift to all things mint and gingerbread.
It is also a time of gratitude. Thanksgiving ushers a nice reminder of our progress over the year and the things we can still achieve before the clock resets.
How can we cultivate gratitude along the path of entrepreneurship, with its many uncertainties, ups, and downs? Here are a few ideas.
1. By being thankful for all of it
Yes, for all it. The time we nailed the pitch. The time we lost a big account. The time we shut down a startup after working really hard on it. The time we decided to launch something we believe in. The time social media was our friend, and the time it really wasn’t.
We can be grateful for finding a way to look at everything as a whole, an amalgam, and being thankful for all it. Because it has led us to where we are exactly right now. The awareness, the experience; and best of all, the ability to reflect and make changes ahead.
2. By being grateful for any of it
Okay, if we’re being honest—it can be hard to be thankful for all of it. Some of it wasn’t (and isn’t) fun—emotionally, financially, and in a number of other ways. With the holidays ahead, there can be all kinds of stress and pressure to assess progress in the past year and make projections for the year ahead. In quiet moments, social entrepreneurs might be thinking about if their work is really making the impact they set out to create. And entrepreneurs of all kinds are likely thinking about how much runway they have and how they can build the next “point oh” of their products.
But, gratitude can start small. Even, infinitesimally so. Being thankful for our health, food on our plates, our favorite jeans, our ability to breathe, a pen that works. Gratitude can start from any point, without expectation. Even the most simple thoughts of gratitudes can take the mind space of other, potentially less positive thoughts, and attract more things to feel grateful for.
3. By letting someone know
When was the last time someone reached out and unexpectedly acknowledged you or your work. It happened just the other day for me when a friend at a co-working space, mentioned that he listens to the podcast, which has been newly added to iTunes, and left a great review. It was incredible and igniting to hear that something I have been working on created a positive experience for a listener. And when he told me himself, it also created an instant feeling of gratitude. It, in turn, made me think of the ways I can ‘pay it forward’ to acknowledge the positive impact something has had for me.
Just two days later, I had a chance. A specialist at a print shop went above and beyond to ensure delivery of my late-added print job. Her warmth, professionalism, and commitment impressed me and I had a chance to say thank you in person, and then by leaving a note with her employer.
The act of sharing our feeling of gratitude not only lets us cultivate the feeling of gratitude within ourselves but also pass it on to others.
4. By letting go
Ah, but not all relationships are in the state of flowing gratitude. Sometimes, the energy just may not be in the right place to resolve or solve in this moment. And sharing might just exacerbate. Gratitude here can be feeling thankful for the opportunity connect with the experience, relationship, and opportunity, learning more about ourselves in process—and then letting go, even if temporarily.
It can catalyze a mini fresh start. The act of letting go, can create space for what we seek to attract in our journey forward.
5. By giving the best we have
We have the ability to show up with our best—as a simple expression of gratitude. Show up extra prepared, early, bearing a gift, with a smile—whatever the best is that we have to offer. We don’t have to save it for that special occasion or special opportunity. By sharing our best, we not only can improve on it, but can also empower others to show up in their top form too.
Showing up with our personal best can shift the game, and the energy.
I want to take a moment and express my gratitude. I know that in the past few months you have seen more posts over social media from me and from Innov8social—and I am grateful for your reception and engagement. I am beyond grateful for this opportunity to create and work on something so aligned with what I believe to be my life’s purpose.
Giving you my best
As a token of gratitude, I want to give you (an extra dose of :) my best.
It is one of my joys to host the Innov8social Podcast. Those special moments involve my favorite things—connecting with people, listening and sharing stories, and hearing about peoples’ personal and professional commitments to creating positive impact.
This week, instead of the single podcast on Thursday, we will be sharing four amazing interviews with thinkers and doers in the social impact space.
Here’s who you can look forward to tuning into this week:
- Jenny Kassan, Social Impact Attorney and Coach to Mission-Driven Entrepreneurs
- Liberty Madison, Founder and TV Host at #ThatTechGirl Media
- Chris Gordon, Co-Founder and Chair of Irish Social Enterprise Network
- Nasir Qadree, Head of Education at Village Capital