Gratitude

These past few weeks gratitude has been on my mind heavily. To me gratitude is overlooked. We tend to focus on the failures never really appreciating the journey that takes us to our destination. These days I have a lot to be grateful for. The one thing that I am most appreciative of is my life’s story. I’ve shared a piece of my story in the #lovenotes mission statement (see website). The whole reason that I began the campaign is because I have lost a best friend to suicide. I went through a really rough period in my life where I also felt that suicide was an escape. Today, I am grateful that I am alive and able to tell my story to help others.

In terms of my own life’s struggles, I am glad that they existed. I had a rough life, I survived where others generally don’t. I am grateful that my life’s experiences have developed a warrior’s spirit within me. I have overcome the victim mentality which has helped tremendously in being resilient through adversity, something that I face daily as an entrepreneur. Lately I have about 3-4 events a week and do not have a car. Public transportation in this city is not the greatest. I have been relying on amazing people to help me get by. I did not have a phone for about 2 weeks, in this business it’s hard to respond to customers and confirm meetings without one. The difficulties have been tough, but not once did I miss a meeting, a deadline, or an event. When you are grateful for what life has to offer you can get through anything.

All too often we fall into this happiness trap. The idea that we are supposed to be happy all of the time. Constant happiness is a fallacy. We experience an array of emotions as a human. These experiences and emotions allow us to truly feel happiness when it does occur. Yes, it is easier to sit around, sulk and play the woe is me game but that’s now how we grow. Real growth is when you stand up in the face of adversity and say, “Not today, I will not be Defeated. I will Survive.”

Despite whatever circumstances you are facing, there are plenty more to be grateful for. Put some gratitude in your attitude and watch the world around you change. Take some time today to stop and smell the flowers, unless they are edible, then eat them!

“You’re only as good as your mentors” Robert G Allen

The people whom you habitually associate with are called your “reference group” and these people determine as much as 95 percent of your success or failure in life. The most significant factor in any person’s environment is the people. We become the combined average of the five people we hang around the most. If you change nothing else in your life for the better than that, you will have increased your chances of success tenfold. Think long and hard about whom you are spending the most time with, for wherever they are headed so are you. In other words “Too many Urkels on your team that’s why your wins low.”

When it comes to growth we tend to think that the journey is traveled best alone but this is far from the truth, not if you want to reach your full potential. We can’t get where we want to go on our own. We need the help of others to guide us on our way. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak, it means that you are strong. It’s imperative that you surround yourself with people with more experience than you so that they can help you reach their level. You can learn only if others are ahead of you, which makes it well worth the discomfort. Always ask questions. “The questions that you ask are far more important than the things that you could ever say.”-Elmer Wheeler.

I’ve met many people on my life’s journey and they have all impacted me in some way. In the past I would let toxic people into my life. People who wanted to use me and take advantage of me. People who didn’t have my best interest at heart but theirs. As I continued down my path of self-growth, I began to be more protective of myself and who I associated with. If they aren’t adding value to your life, they don’t need to be in it.

Recently I had an altercation with someone I thought was a good friend. In this moment they tried to demean me, talk down to me and devalue me. They said things like, “You aren’t that special.” “Who do you think you are?” among other negative things. I told them that I am special and I know my worth and I won’t accept the negative talk from them because I don’t even accept it from myself. This person had offered me a ride home because the bus stopped running, then had the audacity to try and speak negatively on me. These are the kind of people that I no longer wish to associate with. They are a waste of time and energy. They are energy suckers. They want to bring you down to their level of insecurity, don’t fall into the trap.

Surround yourself with positive people. People who will support you. People who cheer you on. People who will be there for you when times get rough. People who will promote you. People who will uplift you. Loyalty is hard to come by these days but find someone who is loyal and maintain that relationship. I have significantly changed who I associate with and the growth has been tremendous. Most of my current friends are my mentors. Seek the people who will help you grow and don’t let squares into your circle.