Many business leaders and entrepreneurs — me certainly included — get caught in the cycle of working hard to achieve a goal, but once achieved, barely acknowledge or enjoy it because we’re already chasing the next goal. It’s a cycle that has led me to fatigue, burnout and a lack of enthusiasm.
I’ve developed an attitude of gratitude over the last several years, which began by frequent journaling and listing things for which I’m grateful. As my awareness grows, I’ve become more in tune to all there is to appreciate. This attitude fosters energy, joy and satisfaction, which spill into both my business and family life.
These factors have helped me build and maintain my attitude of gratitude.
The simple things are most important
It can be as simple as taking a breath with healthy lungs and unlimited access to fresh air. I can take as many deep breaths as I like. I think of those who are struggling for their last breaths on a ventilator, those who are choking or those who are drowning — what would they do for just one more breath? The same goes for air, light, sunlight, water — simple, basic things that we all take for granted but for which we can be so grateful.
Also, my family, my ability to learn and grow, and my spirituality. These things are not necessarily related to a business goal but are far more important than any business success I can achieve. And very importantly, they will be critical support during times of business issues and setbacks.
I take time at the end of each quarter to handwrite a long list of all the things that I’ve accomplished over the past three months. It could be something major, such as creating an amazing design, or something as seemingly simple as getting through a tough week. I allow plenty of time to think it through and make a really detailed list.
Then I allocate even more time to bask in the feeling of accomplishment and success and to focus on the positive. I like to keep this list handy so I can occasionally glance at it and review it again at the end of the year. It’s amazing how much we accomplish and won’t realize or acknowledge unless we review.
It all comes back
Developing an attitude of gratitude takes time and practice. I do best when I take quiet time to think and journal daily. By now it’s second nature. And a cool side benefit is that when I feel grateful and show sincere gratitude and appreciation to others, it comes back to me. In both business and personal life, people respond in amazing, positive ways. They are eager to help and share their gifts, which in turn brings me further joy and satisfaction.
Catherine Davin, ASID and NKBA, is principal of Davin Interiors. Catherine infuses her designs with warmth, sophistication and understated elegance. With more than 25 years of industry experience, the Pittsburgh native is the driving force behind Western Pennsylvania’s interior design firm Davin Interiors. She and her team focus on residential design, specializing in new constructions and major renovations. Catherine is also a member of EO Pittsburgh. The Entrepreneurs’ Organization is a global, peer-to-peer network of more than 12,000 business owners, with 173 chapters in 54 countries.