‘Tis the time of year to be thankful, but let’s face it, that isn’t always easy.
Our nation - and the entire world actually - has had a pretty rough go of things over the past few years. COVID uprooted and changed our lives almost overnight. Many of us lost loved ones, friends, and neighbors. Anger and violence have not just exploded in Ukraine, but on our own soil as well. We are a nation divided more than any other time in history with the exception of the Civil War. Money is tight and prices are high. Statistics show that our stress levels are extremely high. We have felt isolation, depression, a lack of purpose, and apathy is running deep. We are all hurting.
Several years ago, I had a coach by the name of Lee Brower. You may know him or know of him. Lee was featured in the book and movie—The Secret. He is also the founder of The Empowered Wealth Mindset™ and Sustaining Prosperity™ where he helps families build a framework for their legacy that will continue to flourish from generation to generation. Yes, I was blessed to have him as a coach.
During one of our first sessions with Lee, he talked about practicing true gratitude. He taught that gratitude has different depths.
First, there is the nonchalant greetings we have as a society. Think of please and thank you. There is not a lot of thought or depth that goes into the words most of the time. Then there is an intentional expression of gratitude. I appreciate you doing the dishes honey. It really helped!
The next level of gratitude goes deeper. When the world is crashing down around you, how do you find gratitude in the depths? As Lee would say after losing his son to cancer, “We were never grateful for the cancer, but nothing in life doesn’t bring about learning.”
Then there is intentional gratitude. The first three levels of gratitude can really be seen as a choice in your attitude. This level of gratitude is different. This is when you do something for someone without expecting anything in return. Lee told a story about the “Chump at the Pump.”
A lady at a gas station quickly rushed over to a neighboring pump to swipe her card and fill up a stranger’s car. The stranger shouted, “Hey! What are you doing? This is our pump.” The lady answered that she would like to fill up their car, to which the stranger replied, “Well…you better hurry. We are on our way to the casino for Mom’s birthday. We were only going to put $5 in.” The lady asked if she could still fill it up and the stranger allowed it.
Then the lady said to the stranger, “Thank you for letting me fill up your car today.” The stranger replied, “Your welcome,” promptly got in her car, and pulled away.
The lady was challenged to not feel frustrated or to call and vent to her husband. As she was mulling over her thoughts, the car came back. The back door opened and out came a little lady barely able to stand on her own. She opened her arms welcoming a hug and said, “Thank you. It is my 90th birthday today and nobody has ever done anything so nice and gracious for me!”
Imagine if the stranger had not come back and the lady had told that story to her husband, friends, etc. What would the ripple effect have been? Was there be a good chance that someone she told would avoid a random act of kindness in the future, and so on and so forth?
Thankfully that didn’t happen. The “Chump at the Pump” turned into a “Champ at the Pump” and she herself told everyone she ran into at the casino that day about this random act of kindness. What ripple effect did that create?
I highly recommend Lee’s book, The Brower Quadrant. You can find his website with many other great tools…and take a deeper dive with Lee in this talk called Practicing True Gratitude. Listen to it and you might find a few new traditions you can start with your family this holiday season.
For now, though, consider that it is Thanksgiving. The name itself implies this intentional gratitude we learned about. Our world is a mess, but the cleanup can start in each of us with a simple, random act of kindness. Let’s make a family challenge - What can we do to start a ripple effect of gratitude?