I remember a very specific point in time when I decided to let go of my idea of control and give in to gratitude. I’d received an email from my boss’ boss. There was a fire drill at my [then] corporate job, and my instant reaction was to panic and put it out quickly. I observed myself feeling the need to take instant action—to be in control—without even thinking through the situation. At that moment, I stopped, took a deep breath, and decided that I would come back to it.
An hour later, another email was sent communicating that the fire drill had been an error. I was grateful things had worked out. I was grateful that I didn’t drop everything and rush to respond. I was grateful that I took the time to calm my own self down. I made the choice, then and there, that I would never react out of panic, anger, or negativity; and that I would always be grateful for those scenarios that gave the chance to practice a different response.
This choice to be grateful for challenging times trickled into other areas of my life…
I made the choice to be grateful for my body instead of criticizing every aspect of it.
I made the choice to be grateful for the money I made instead of constantly wishing I had more.
I made the choice to be grateful for the people in my life because I learned the hard way that time is never guaranteed.
These choices to lead with a grateful heart set me on an amazing journey of self-discovery and awareness. I started researching the power of gratitude as daily practice and gratitude journaling. I also came across a Bible verse that has since become one of my favorites:
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
This verse affirms what I should have been doing all along, being grateful for everything—good or bad. Because everything that happens, good or bad, is God’s will.
As I continue this journey of consistently leading with a grateful heart, I’ve been able to adjust my outlook. This change in thinking has led to some amazing things. First, I’ve decided to see trials and tribulations as opportunities to level up. I no longer run from the adversity. I face it head on. I’m resilient.
Second, I’ve started listing 5 things I’m grateful for every day. This has brought a genuine shift in perspective and new appreciation for the things in my life. I’ve learned that I could so easily focus on the negative (I’m still working on this), but when I constantly refer to the things that I’m grateful for my heart is filled with joy.
Finally—and probably most significant—I’ve realized that I have a choice. I can choose to lead with a grateful heart every single day. When I sense things aren’t feeling so good, I decide not to sit in that feeling. I make the choice to focus on the good, to focus on the things I’m truly grateful for.
Realizing that the choice is mine to be grateful has been a game-changer! Now I try to encourage others to remember what they’re grateful for, too. Nothing will ever be perfect, but we can learn from each and every situation. We can focus on the things that are going well. We can let that gratitude fill our cups. We can always choose to lead with a grateful heart.
What are you most grateful for?