Give thanks to gain joy.
Last weekend I spent a glorious few days holed up in a giant lake home in front of a floor to ceiling fireplace, with a (way too) full belly, white wine in one hand, and a pen in the other. Leaders from the company I have chosen to build a business with, sat hip to hip sharing inspiration, motivation, knowledge, and gratitude. I took pages of notes. I watched people cry because their dreams are too big to hold inside at times. We laughed. We mentored. We learned. And in the end as we parted ways, I heard repeatedly, “thank you” and “I’m so grateful” with heartfelt sincerity.
I drove home that morning thinking, I have never heard so many people use the word “gratitude” in one weekend. And not just to use haphazardly. I have witnessed more intentional thanksgiving in the last year than in the last decade. I have thought about why that is and have realized it comes down to two things, a circle and a ripple.
I chose to really put gratitude into practice about two years ago. Like daily, intentional practice. And it will always be a practice, there are moments that aren’t great in all of worlds, and the last thing we want to think about is giving thanks for our shitty day. But when I started to focus more on the good and less on the bad, I found myself wanting to be surrounded by people who did the same. I have always had stellar people in my life, but I latched on even harder to the grateful and filled my circle with those that made my practice easier. When I look around now, I think, it’s no wonder I hear “gratitude” like it’s a buzz word. It just fills the lives of the people I hold close.
A ripple starts with a single drop, forming a circle from its center. The ripple comes in the form of small waves and expands the circle by one ring, then another. When I started using gratitude as a tool and pulled to my inner circle others who were doing the same, I saw a slow transformation of the people around me. Like ripples on the water, the act of giving thanks spread from one person to the next and I suspect I can’t even see all the swells that have been created.
You have that power too. You can give thanks again and again and impact those around you with your appreciation and praise and grace. You can pull close the people who bring out your gratitude and remind you of the abundance of things you have to be thankful for. Just start. And as the thanks spread so will the ripples of joy that lead you to your best life.