Gratitude Is The Start To A GREAT LIFE

“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”  – Ann Frank

The goal of living a GREAT life daily is to start the day in Gratitude for all I have.  The GREAT life is a philosophy that is lived one day at a time.  Here is how it works for me.

I start my day being mindful of all that I am grateful for. Being grateful does not mean I think of all I love about my life. Being grateful is more of an inventory of all I have.  I’m grateful for a lot of things, my health, my home, my reliable (but not so cool) car.  I’m even grateful for the fact my life is not where I thought it would be at this age.  I’m 38, single, no kids, and financially I could be better! I’m grateful for the awareness. I’m grateful for the courage it take to look at my challenges (or problems) and know I can choose to accept it, or take action to changing it. Living a GREAT life means always choosing to take the path that will make my life better.

I once had a client tell me she could not think of anything to be grateful for in her life. She was convinced that there was nothing in her life that made it worth anything.  If you feel the same try this exercise.  Imaging lying in bed and waking from a deep sleep. You open your eyes and as your eyes focus you realize you are not at home in bed, but in the hospital. You don’t know how you got there of what happened. Imagine a doctor standing over you and saying to you “relax, you’ve been in an accident.” You respond, “what happened?” Imagine for a moment what is the worst thing the Doctor could say. Be grateful what you imagine is not what is happening to you. Can you find gratitude?

Try this exercise: Imagine your phone ringing in the middle of the night. Your gut tells you something is wrong, there’s been an accident. Imagine the call that would come in the middle of the night of news that someone you love has been in an accident and is no longer living.  Who is that person? What do they mean to you? Be grateful they are well. Better yet, call them and let them know how grateful you are to have them in your life. Tell them you love them.

Gratitude is a powerful tool to starting your day in perspective.  Life is beautiful, the GREAT life is more than you can image when you start the day being mindful of all that is in your life.

Commitment to Happiness

“Happiness isn’t getting what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.” – Anonymous

There is a popular kind of negative thinking that we all do, “IF – THEN, or WHEN – Then” thinking.   It goes like this: “IF/WHEN I get (insert desire) THEN I’ll be (insert reward).  There is no difference between IF or WHEN just in the level of confidence that’s expressed.  “IF” suggests it might not happen and “WHEN” expresses certainty about whatever goal you’re thinking of.   I use to think that WHEN I get my dream job, THEN I’ll be happy.  Or WHEN I get the girl of my dreams, THEN I won’t feel lonely.  Almost without fail, IF/WHEN – THEN thinking never resulted in what I was hoping to get.  I got the education, the car, the job, had the money, and women and despite having all I wanted I was somehow miserable.  Getting what I wanted only resulted in wanting more.

Having had a number of experiences where getting what I want didn’t make me happy, I’ve learned that my day to day goal rarely have anything to do with getting something.  Rather I’ve learned to appreciate all that I have and focus my energy on the feelings I want to have without the “things” I think will make me happy.  My commitment to living a GREAT LIFE includes a commitment to happiness.  I heard Les Brown, motivational speaker (if you don’t know his work, look up any number of speeches online) say that when he wakes up every day committed to being happy.  I committed myself to living a GREAT LIFE partially inspired by Les Browns commitment to happiness.  Nothing makes me happier than thinking about my GREAT LIFE and more important is sharing all I’ve learned.

There is nothing more tragic than not seeing all there is to be grateful for.  A quote I think of asks the question “What if you woke up the next morning only with those things you were grateful for the day before?” Everyday I try to take inventory of all I’m grateful for.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dependent on things to make me happy.  If I lose it all, and sometimes I think I have, there is always more that can be lost and I’m grateful and very happy for all I have.

Happiness is wanting what you have.  I want all I have and I’m very grateful, happy, and blessed for each day I’m not blinded by IF/WHEN – THEN thinking.  I am committed to happiness.  I am committed to living a GREAT LIFE.

God, Show Me How I Can Be Of Service Today

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi

In my work in a 12 step program of recovery we are taught the importance of being of service to others.  I’d say the cause of my addictions and all my suffering was the result of self-serving obsession.  I was driven by money, sex, power, prestige and nothing was ever enough.  I was miserable.  I coped with my misery with vices that became addictions. When I surrendered to a program and started to heal I was bombarded by people who were where I was and extended their help to me.  I am here today because of the love, support and service others gave to me.  I am blessed at the opportunity to be of service to others.

When I came up with the GREAT acronym (Gratitude, Recognize Negativity, Excitement, Action, and Thanks) I was doing volunteer service at a homeless shelter in Santa Monica.  The workshop was titled How to Have a GREAT Day.  I loved doing the workshop for that audience.  I was inspired by the optimism of my participants.  Every time I ended a workshop as the participants exited the classroom they would smile and tell me “Have a great day.”  I couldn’t help but think of how wonderful my day had been by being able to serve them.

Today my GREAT framework has evolved and is the basis for a book that I hope to get published.  It is the model that I use in my coaching work and hope it will be the platform to do speaking engagements and workshops.  The model had transformed my life.  Today the vision for my life is to share what I’ve learned with others.   In my vision I hope to change the meaning of the word GREAT.  I want to teach people how to be GREAT; how to be a GREAT leader; how to be a GREAT parent; how to be a GREAT friend.  I want to teach people how to have a GREAT day, and by doing this I want people to look back on a GREAT LIFE.  I want people to help others be GREAT.  Maybe one day people will know me as that GREAT guy… long after I’m gone I want a GREAT LIFE to help my Nephews children and God willing my children and grandchildren live a GREAT LIFE.

I love my life and don’t take any aspect of it for granted.  Yes it could be better.  I could be dating the love of my life, I could be earning more money, I could be living in the home of my dreams.  But is there anything better than being of service to others?  My life is a blessing and a miracle.  My life has meaning as long as there is someone I could offer my time, some advice, a shoulder to cry on, an encouraging word, or even just a smile.  Service has saved my life.  The service others have offered me, and in my finding purpose to my life in serving others.