Being Thankful for the Things That Matter Most

During this time of year, we often reflect on what we are thankful for. Too often though, we associate what we are thankful for with our current financial situation. In this economy, with all the money and job worries, it is the perfect opportunity to gain some perspective of what is really important, and what we should really be thankful for.

Yes, we can be thankful for a great job; we can be thankful for the nice things we may have; we can be thankful for the things that success gives us the privilege to enjoy. But don't let those things define your thankfulness. Be thankful for them, but only secondary to the things that really matter. Be most thankful for your health; for the fact that you are alive to enjoy today; for your family and those around you that love you. Be thankful for the opportunities before you, even though they may not have shown any fruit yet. Be thankful that you are in control of your life and how much success you see.

This year, let's look at things with a different perspective than we may have had in the past. Let's dig deeper and look at what we are truly thankful for - those things that a bad economy or troubling financial situations cannot take away.

Keeping Things in Perspective

Given the recent event as a passenger on frontier flight 820, I thought I'd pass along some perspective gained from the experience. I know that when we heard the loud bangs and saw flames from the engine, most of the passengers, including myself, thought that we could be in our final minutes. We were all scared, and luckily we were able to get to the ground safely.

However, in those few minutes between the engines being struck and hearing from the pilot, a lot of things go through your mind about your life. What could I have done differently? What will my family do if this is it? Who will remember me and what will I be remembered for? I can tell you that these questions have been on my mind before, as I always want to make sure I am trying to live my life in a way that I can make a difference and leave a legacy. But these questions have increased even more in importance and have become at the forefront of my mind.

I can also tell you none of what went through my mind had anything to do with my business, my finances or any of my goals relating to my many endeavors. When it comes down to the end, none of that matters, and yet that is what we all (me included) tend to spend the most time and effort on. It's easy to make it seem like those things are more important than they are. We certainly spend more time on them than on the things we say are more important to us, like our family and friends. I know now more than ever that my main goal in achieving any kind of financial success is having the ability and the freedom to be able to spend as much time as possible with the people I love the most. Secondly it is to make as large of a positive impact in the lives of others as possible. The appealing aspect of having "things" and living comfortably is, although still a desire, not nearly what it has been in the past.

I hope it doesn't take an event like this to help you realize how important it truly is to look ahead at what you are setting up for those who come after you. What kind of legacy will you leave? What do you want to be remembered for? I encourage you to ask yourself these types of questions, so you know what your target is and can therefore make your choices accordingly. Also, don't forget how fragile life is. Any day could be your last. Only God knows when it will be. Don't dwell on it in a morbid way, but remember it so that you remember what is really important. Remember it so that you don't make things that aren't a big deal into something that is. Some things just need to be let go of. Some things aren't worth arguing about or holding onto. Life is too short. Plan for the future, for success, but always live life today as if it could be your last. Keep things in perspective of what is truly important in your life.

Finding Your Passion

Today I'm going to keep it short and simple. A lot of people struggle with finding what they are passionate about. You have probably been told or heard somewhere that you have to be passionate about what you are doing to have the greatest chance of success. If you don't know exactly what you are passionate about, answer these questions to help point you in the right direction.

  1. What do you like to do in your free time?
  2. What gets you excited?
  3. What would you do even if you didn't get paid to do it?
  4. What cause or goal drives you the most?
  5. If you could do one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  6. What makes you unafraid to fail?
  7. What do you like to talk about?
  8. What are you naturally good at?

Take your time answering these. Put some good thought into it instead of just rushing through it and trying to answer them. If you are struggling to find your passion, I guarantee answering these questions will give you a good start on your path to finding it.

You Deserve Success

"I deserve success". Say those words to yourself. "I deserve success". Sadly, many people are stopped from achieving what they really desire because they think that they don't deserve it. It may not be a completely conscious thought, but deep down they may not think that they truly deserve to have what they are aiming for, and that can lead to disastrous results - or worse, no results.

Examine your thoughts right now. Is there part of you that thinks that you don't deserve to get what you want? Maybe you grew up without having much and you're stuck in that way of thinking. Maybe people around you make you feel guilty for wanting to have money, or have a certain position. Whatever the case, you are not the only one who feels this way. Many people struggle with this.

Part of the problem is what we are surrounded with and told on a daily basis. We are programed to "give back" when we achieve success, as if we took something to begin with. I'm all for giving, but to "give back" sounds like you are a thief retuning something that doesn't belong to you. We are told over and over of things that can make us feel guilty and feel like we shouldn't try to get "more than our fair share". Let me tell you something; YOU DESERVE SUCCESS, and you deserve to have whatever amount of success you can achieve. Don't let anybody talk you out of that.

If you're being held back because you have been thinking, even slightly, that you don't deserve, are not qualified, or aren't good enough to have what you want, replace those thoughts right now with the fact that you DO deserve it. You can have and should have whatever you want in this life. Now go out there and get it!

Opportunities Abound

You hear a lot right now about how the economy is bad and we are in a recession. You hear about all the people out of work and all the company layoffs. But what you don't hear often is all the opportunity that is out there right now. In this economic downturn, if you look for opportunities to take advantage of you're sure to find it. Have the right attitude instead of focusing on the negatives like the media and most people around you do. There is plenty of opportunity out there, you just have to go out there and find it, and then work to make it grow.

Remember, there are many large companies that were started in "down" economic times. Microsoft, General Electric, Burger King and FedEx were all started during recessions, just to name a few. It's obvious that a recession is a time full of great opportunity if you can look for a need and fill it in the right way. Don't be afraid to take a step out and start something right now just because of the economy. Where would these companies be if they had waited? I can imagine they would be in a different place than right now, and you could definitely make the argument that the recessions actually helped them get started. Services, products, commercial space and other business costs are all cheaper right now and during other economic slowdowns, as people fight for business more than before. Start-up costs are lower as a result, and monthly expenses are lower as well. You can also get great talent for less money than before.

There are many opportunities out there, you just have to look for them. If you have thought about starting your own business before, think even harder about it now. Start looking into what it would take to make it happen. Then go out there and do it. Don't wait. If you take the time to actually look at what can be created right now, I'm sure you will agree; Opportunities abound indeed.

Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action Commercial Real Estate