As a wealth strategist, the space I occupy is a junction between the hard currency of how money structures clients’ lives and the softer side of listening to clients’ dreams, goals, concerns and hopes for their lives. I have many observations about this space. One of the most notable being how the contact point between money and life typically carries a lot of emotion. Very often fear-based emotion.
In response to the negativity and anxiety that often seems to shadow financial discussions, I decided to consciously begin practicing an expression of positivity. Not blindly. Rather just making sure that I always try to look up too. And hopefully encouraging others to do the same.
I always considered myself a grateful person. My dad displayed gratitude throughout his life (still does) and often talked to me about this habit. I also know that gratitude has been found to increase health and happiness. Yet, I didn’t pay much attention to making gratitude a habit – as noted by my children sometimes pointing out that I’m nagging or complaining. Despite being a grateful person, my expression of gratitude was never formed into a conscious habit.
So one practice that I have put into place is the keeping of a daily gratitude journal. I just note three things that I’m grateful for every day. Not only is it a way of keeping a journal of sorts, but it is also a way of consciously standing still, every day, for the good in my life. Looking back over my journal, I have been grateful for everything from the roses growing in my garden to cementing the relationship with a new client; for watching a great movie with my husband on our couch to hosting a successful workshop on retirement.
Some time ago, I noted my gratitude towards my friends Fred and Melissa Platt, for their brave journey in the face of so much pain after losing their 15-month-old son, Sam. They run Footprints4Sam, a charity in his honour. In the short time since his death, they have made a significant impact in hospitals around the country. This year they celebrated what would have been Sam’s 4th birthday party with the opening of two beautiful new rooms at the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child hospital (thanks to the efforts of their charity). I am so proud to call them my friends and I learn from their courage every day. I am grateful not just for the good work they do, but for showing me through their actions, how to look up.
Also, as I’ve become more grateful, I have become more aware of my life. More alert to those moments of joy or even the pain of others, whichever points to my own grateful abundance.
If you’ve been stuck in all the rubbish of local politics or global poverty, try it. Jot down something that you could be grateful for. Do it every day, consistently, until it becomes a habit. I hope it will help you to see your world in a different light. And like Fred and Melissa, be the light for others.