How to Have a Grateful Heart

by Michelle on November 30, 2012

This week, an incredible speaker and voice of inspiration passed away – the great Zig Ziglar.  He is a legend in motivational speaking and performance training.  I’ve been listening to some of his podcasts lately.  Ironically, in an article on Forbes.com, one of his quotes was noted: “The more you gripe about your problems, the more problems you have to gripe about”.  This fits perfectly with my topic of the week: having a grateful heart no matter what your situation might be.

How do you have an attitude of gratitude? 

You just do it.  You decide to be thankful.  Listen.  Most of us want more of something.  Everyone has problems.  No one gets out of ups and downs.  Few of us get everything we want and “need”.  You realize what you have when you take time to look around and appreciate it all.

Last year, I saw these words which made me put it all into perspective: It’s not happy people who are thankful. It’s thankful people who are happy.

Gratitude Offers Great Perspective

Over the years, I’m in awe of the people who have had life give them some really hard lessons and yet they remain positive and gain strength from the situations.  They don’t dwell, they don’t sulk, they don’t gripe, they don’t share every detail of it with the world on social media.  In other words, they don’t play the victim; they play the hero – their very own hero.  They respond with positivity and strength.  They must have learned early on something I learned only recently: someone else would love to have your problems.  Someone else looks at your relationship, your house, your job as ideal – maybe even as their dream.  Is it worth griping about?  Is it worth the energy?  Or is your energy better spent on finding the positive, figuring out how to respond to move forward, and in turn learning how to be grateful?

The Every Day Optimist

Last year, in the world of social media, I saw someone begin posting “30 Days of Thankful”.  Since I had just lost my job and my career had come to a screeching halt, I thought there was no time like the present to remind myself of all of the things I did have to be thankful for.  So I jumped in on the bandwagon and found it very humbling.  It felt so good to speak my grateful heart out loud.  This year, I decided to be one of the ones to start it up in hopes that I could pass along the ability to become thankful to someone else at a time they needed it, like I did last year.

Today, I decided to place them into a blog post – “30 Days of Thankful” – not just to share with you but for me to see in paragraph form all of the things I focused on this year to be thankful for.  They are in no particular order.  In fact, some things I chose to post on certain days of the month for sentimental reasons.  I hope you enjoy them, and perhaps you will find some of the things you are thankful for within them.

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30 Days of Thankful

  1. Day 1: today I am thankful for what a year can bring and teach about life, love, friendship, and opportunity. Looking at where I was a year ago and where I am today is really exciting. So today I’m thankful for the amazing lessons of life and the difference 365 days can make.
  2. Day 2: I am thankful to work with two smart, successful, well-respected entrepreneurs, leaders, and role models, who empower women, and who truly give back, not only to those who work with them but also to a greater cause.
  3. Day 3: Thankful for my friends, near and far, especially those who let me be me and love me as me – who are there for me through the good, the bad, and the funny. Hanging out with some of those friends this weekend. Oh, and I’m also thankful for college football and Food & Wine Festival as they bring us all together.
  4. Day 4: so very thankful for my house and my home, especially thankful after the devastation that hit the coast last week. I have a new appreciation for my worn out carpets and all of the things I wish I had “better” or “more” of – seems silly right about now. Lucky to have what we have.
  5. Day 5: thankful for my daughter who has taught me so much in love and life, including who I want to be. I am very appreciative of the opportunity to be a mom, especially to my sweet little one. {“I see who I want to be in my daughter’s eyes” ~Martina McBride}
  6. Day 6 (Day after Election Day): thankful for the ability to vote for a President of the United States and the rights that I have as an American citizen.
  7. Day 7: thankful for this INCREDIBLE reminder this morning — If you want the future to change, you have to change. Thank you, Jim Rohn, for the reminder this morning!!! Perfect timing.
  8. Day 8: thankful for the visitors we’ve had this year. They made us feel like we were the main attraction (and Disney in our backyard was simply and added benefit).
  9. Day 9: so thankful for the family we have to celebrate and enjoy life with, both near and far. We might not see everyone all of the time, but we are there for each other when needed – and for some of the fun stuff too.
  10. Day 10: one thought leads to another…and so today I am thankful for unanswered prayers, because I wouldn’t have what I have without them!! Ever since I heard, “everything happens for a reason” in high school, it’s been what gets me through what I want right now vs what it supposed to happen for me and it hasn’t let me down yet.
  11. Day 11 (Veterans’ Day): this was too beautiful to not share as today, I am so thankful for our Veterans. {This day’s post was inspired by Veterans’ Day, but a lifelong family friend of mine shared a letter from his father when he wrote home to his pastor during WWII.  To see this beautiful letter written by Corporal Harold Neubacher, click here – it is just hands-down incredibly touching and sums up what we should all be thankful for}…
  12. Day 12: thankful to wake up this morning, healthy, and to have a week filled of all kinds of exciting and fun things!
  13. Day 13: in career and in life, I am so thankful for the opportunities I have been given, the ones I have found, the ones I have created, and the ones that found me. Some have paid my bills, some have allowed me to do fun things, some have allowed me to see wonderful places, some have allowed me to give back to those who don’t have what I have, and others will continue to provide in ways I dream about today. “It’s not what you get that makes you valuable, it’s what you become.” ~Jim Rohn
  14. Day 14: thankful to have developed a passion for volunteering. Don’t know how but the bug bit me in high school. I had to take a break due to time constraints but I’m starting back up! Excited to give back again!!
  15. Day 15: thankful for all of the wonderful places I have been able to go and see. This past year alone gave me time in San Francisco, Nashville, and The Bahamas, to name a few, and I finally got to see the Texas State Fair (before Big Tex’s demise!). My favorite places I have ever been though: Hawaii (honeymoon) and The Alps (when I was an exchange student in high school).
  16. Day 16: thankful for my mentors in career and in life – past and present – who have helped to shape me into the person I am today and will continue to grow to be. I hope I am able to give even half of what I’ve been able to absorb. And believe it or not, I’m also thankful for the people who have taught me who I don’t want to be in career and life. I’ve been able to learn from both the good and the bad (and even some ugly in there, let me tell you! LOL). But today, I seek out the positive, successful people to help me grow and give back, and I am very thankful for them.
  17. Day 17 (my 5th wedding anniversary): thankful for a strong marriage built every day with love, friendship, partnership, support, and encouragement. Even in moments of challenge, we work through and come out better. I can’t imagine a day without you, Kevin Sanderson, and hope I never have to!! Happy 5th anniversary!!  “And I believe in you, although you never asked me to…”
  18. Day 18: thankful for Mickey Mouse – it all started with him! Happy birthday, Mickey! He and Walt provided me loads of entertainment throughout my childhood and a fantastic career in my adulthood, one that taught me how to treat others in business. And now I get to see it all through my daughter’s eyes. Mickey is certainly her Justin Bieber! (thank goodness!)
  19. Day 19: thankful for our Florida “family” – the family who is not blood-related but can always count on when you really need something, just like family!
  20. Day 20: thankful that everything works out as it is supposed to. I loved my last full-time job – truly loved it. But these days, every week is a short work week, I have a balance that I love, and we are still able to pay the bills and chip away at our debt. I am beyond grateful.
  21. Day 21: thankful for a team of driven, motivated, ambitious, dream-filled, caring, forward-thinking, pioneering women gifted to make a positive difference in many others lives – including mine.  Marci Hummell, Stephanie Parkin Lloyd, Joy Guinn, Melissa Cellura Tonner, Lecil Shamel Sullivan, Regina Hyman, Kelley Brunelle Walczak
  22. Day 22/Thanksgiving: feeling very grateful and humbled by everything I have, including the ability to open the windows to my home this beautiful morning, breathe in fresh air on a sunny day of which I will get to spend with both friends and family, eat a warm meal, and start Christmas shopping.
  23. Day 23: thankful to have gotten a jumpstart on my holiday shopping AND to have the day after Thanksgiving at home snuggling and playing with my daughter!! #blessed
  24. Day 24: today I am thankful for holidays and weekends off with my family! Although I have to say, when I worked them, I felt good about them. But these days, I feel even better knowing where I need to be and when. And because I haven’t always had them off, I never take them for granted. I also try to ensure I am thank others who are working them. So “thank you” to those out there working hard on the weekends & holidays!! We appreciate you!!
  25. Day 25: thankful to have found some good churches here in my hometown to attend. I didn’t grow up going to church but I do love the positive messages and community. We try to go at least once a month and I always feel so good afterwards. Also thankful for making time for prayer & thanks in my daily routine. I feel like it has a positive impact on me from inside out.
  26. Day 26: thankful for technology in medicine, in staying connected to each other, in efficiency, and so much more. And thankful I have access to it too.
  27. Day 27: thankful to have gotten some really wonderful, encouraging words of support throughout this past year in regards to the things I am doing these days. I do them to help and to serve (not to impress), and every now and then you get those nice words that support your mission and vision. I don’t take them for granted; they mean the world to me. Thank you!!
  28. Day 28: thankful for the incredible weather we are having this fall!  It allows me to get out for nearly daily walks and jogs and it’s hard to be in a bad mood when it’s sunny, breezy, and cool!
  29. Day 29: thankful I am able to see things from more than one angle.
  30. Day 30: thankful that I have so much to be thankful for.  As the holidays come and go and a new year gives hope and promise of more exciting things to come, I will continue to ensure my grateful heart takes time to reflect on all of the things I have each day I wake up in the morning.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” ~Epicurus

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