When I'm working with executive coaching clients, my work often focuses on what needs to be fixed, what is acute, urgent, a crisis or what's wrong in the business. However, I've discovered one of the most important things I do is help people take a moment to realize the progress they've made.
Since it is November, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I encourage you to do an exercise to help you take stock of where you are, how far you've come, and what has made that possible.
First, list all the changes and progress you've made this year.
Be sure to include things like major projects you completed, new clients you've landed, new employees you've hired, new partners you've brought on board, and all the communication and blog posts, emails, tweets that you've sent out this year. And, of course, all the lessons you've learned.
Next, list all the things that are working in your business and that you are grateful for.
This would include things that you never, or hardly ever, have to think about.
(Hint: When you don't have to think about something and it gets done anyway, that's a sign that things are working.)
What's the purpose of this exercise?
It's easy to get caught up in the doing, the to do lists, and all the tasks and activities.
When I think about all we've accomplished in my own business, I marvel at our abilities and capabilities - and all the ideas we've come up with.
Consider how much you actually impact others, and how much you are rewarded for that impact, whether it be financial, good will, name recognition, thank you letters, raving reviews, referrals, etc.
It is important to acknowledge all you've done this year, and the trajectory that you are on.Looking at all the things you've accomplished, all the things that are working that you're grateful for, and all the things you never even have to think about.
Think about the trajectory you are on, the leader you are becoming, the business you are building, the impact you're making and will continue to make.
Take a moment. Let it sink in.
Now add one more item to your to do list:
Thank the 5 people who have been most instrumental in helping you...whether that's a phone call to an old mentor, email to a former teacher, a gift to a business partner, a hug to your coach, or a big hug to your spouse or partner. Just do it.
Gratitude is a sign of maturity, self-awareness, and leadership.