This past week, I literally felt like I was on the brink of exhaustion. A crazy week of start-up life, I started to feel like I was hitting my edge.
We've all been in these situations. Being in a startup is like riding a roller coaster. One minute you're flying up and the next you're soaring down. An improvement I've tried making in my life is staying grateful for what I have when times get tough. It's easy to start becoming negative when things get hard, or to try looking for a scapegoat. Blaming others makes us feel better momentarily, but can destroy relationships long-term. And while we all face difficult situations, chances are that someone else has overcome the obstacle we are facing.
The difference between the ones who strive through and the ones who give up is their mentality. When you can remain grateful and optimistic through the toughest roadblocks, you can take on anything. Below are three ways to remain grateful no matter what's going on in your life. Make sure you practice these exercises when you feel yourself starting to let negativity into your mindset.
1. Write down 3 things you are grateful for everyday
It's easy to take things for granted. We don't realize how lucky we are until something goes wrong. Because of this, many of us adopt a tendency to believe that we are the unlucky ones. We look at others who are successful and think that luck was the greatest factor. "If only I was..." is a phrase that begins to ring in our heads. This leads down to a road none of us want to go down. We start spending time feeling sorry for ourselves instead of working towards our goals. Energy is no longer found in our actions, and our poor attitude starts depressing others.
To prevent this, every night write down 3 things you are grateful for before going to bed. It's not enough to just think about them, you need to put them on paper. When we do this, as we lay in bed we'll start pondering the things we wrote down. As we think through them, we begin to understand how fortunate we are to have those assets in our lives. These don't have to be major objects, and they can change everyday. For instance, yesterday I went to yoga and felt completely relaxed the rest of the day. So that night one of things I wrote down was my yoga membership. This is something I never paid much attention to, but because I put it on paper I realized how much it meant to me. Start doing this yourself, and you'll understand how many things there are to be grateful for in our lives.
2. Write down the people in your life you couldn't live without
What if you treated everyone in your life as if it was the last day you were ever going to see him or her? Would you be kinder? How would you speak with them?
In our business and personal relationships, it's tough to remember how important those bonds are to us. To overcome this, write down the people in your life that you couldn't live without. This can be your family, close friends, and business partners. Next time you're in the office and someone messes up, remember this exercise before you scold him or her. Once you understand how crucial that person is to you, you'll magically become more patient with them. The same is true in our personal relationships. As much as we complain about our family members, we know life would be so much worse without them. Reminding yourself of that every once in a while goes a long way.
3. Remember that everyday you're an entrepreneur is a blessing
Being an entrepreneur is hard, no doubt about it. With that said, everyday you get to work on something you're passionate about is a blessing. For some, they will never have this opportunity. Everyone has different circumstances, and some of us must sacrifice our passion to take care of others or to put food on the table. Whatever the reason, just know that someone out there is dying for the opportunity you have to chase your dream. Every second of work you get to put into your goal, there is someone else out there working hard at something they care nothing about.
This morning, I woke up lying in bed and checked my list of things to do. Starting at 6am, I had 8 hours straight of sales meetings. For a second, I remember thinking about how nice it would it be to just roll over and go back to bed. And then I started to think about what it must feel like to wake up every morning and work at a job you hate. To have to get up and chase a dream you never wanted to be in. I'd rather work 18 hours a day chasing my dream then ever have to resort to that. After realizing this, I threw off the covers and went to work. There's too much to be grateful for to give up now.