So being thankful at Thanksgiving – not the most original thought, I know. Yes, holidays are a great reminder for how we are “supposed” to act all year long. While it’s nice that we have a national holiday to remind us to be grateful, I feel like I actually do a pretty good job of being “in gratitude” every day. Running a business eventually gets down to cold numbers and sometimes those numbers don’t always tell the story you want them to. It is very easy to start gauging my worth as a person by numbers. It is during those times that I rely on a reality check based on looking at what I have, not at what I don’t have.

There is nothing like a quick gratitude check-in to stop the free-fall of negativity in which we sometimes find ourselves. Perspective is always necessary when you are frustrated, scared, or otherwise feeling less than optimum. Where I live, we are seeing a remarkable demonstration of that in the form of one Chuck Pagano, the new coach of the Indianapolis Colts football team. The season was only three weeks old when Chuck was diagnosed with leukemia. While his prognosis is good, his path back to health is harrowing indeed.

He recently said something remarkable.  I don’t know if the phrase is original to him or if he learned it somewhere. It really doesn’t matter. To paraphrase, Coach Pagano said, “Live in your vision, not your circumstances.” He went on to say his disease “is already beat.” If that is not an amazing example of living in gratitude and acting “as if”, I don’t know what is. You can see the actual speech here.

Somewhere in Arizona
Somewhere in Arizona

If you are struggling with gratitude, here are few that I often start with to get my thoughts going back in the right direction.

Good health
The support of family
Loyal customers
Anyone who has helped me along the way
Great Teachers and Mentors

If you are really struggling, try these:

The breath you just took
A heart that beats
A roof over your head
The last joke that made you laugh
The meal you just enjoyed
A smile from a stranger
Playing with your dog or cat
A pretty sunset

Once you get started (and that is the trick, taking the time to get started!) things can flow from there.

Yes, seemingly corny stuff, but it works. It only costs a few minutes of time and the pay-off can be enormous. For this businessman, that is a great Return on Investment.