by William Smith
Everyone reading this blog post has a story that makes them exceptional. By sharing, you could likely help others with their own self discovery.
In the new sharing economy you have the opportunity to tell your story in a material way by blogging, writing a book, developing a course, product, or podcast. But the new economy is more than a transaction of goods and services. It's an exchange of trust with the intent of building relationships, and ultimately a tribe of trusted followers that will receive your message of gratitude.
SO WHAT IS GRATITUDE?
Gratitude is defined as “the quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” Being thankful in a sometimes cynical world is difficult even for the most optimistic and good hearted-person. In a world where social media is popularized as “bringing the world together”, the internet in rife with narcissism and self-gratification (check out this recent article from CNBC on social media and society). The world needs all the good vibes it can get; it needs your gratitude. So how do you know when you are ready to show “gratitude” by sharing your message?
First, you need to be self-aware. Let's be honest many of us are not, and likely have never done a skills inventory that could help us identify our passion. What are your strengths, superpowers, the talents that make you who you are and how you’d apply them if you didn't have to "pay the bills". I thought I had the answers to these questions seeing that I've been in the same field essentially since high school - health and fitness - but I didn't.
In 2016 I asked 8 of my closest friends and family to help me with a self-audit. I requested they truthfully list my strengths and weaknesses. The logic behind this exercise is that the people who know you the best provide unique insight. I gained tremendous feedback, albeit tough to take, and made changes. By being self-aware and knowing my strengths, my ability to pay it forward and Scale my Gratitude feels much easier and authentic.
While self-analysis is necessary, life is made up of seminal moments that define us and challenge us to be thankful. In 2007 I was introduced to my biological father. This was a moment to cherish for the rest of my life, as will my 3 young children as they get older. Moreover, the appreciation I have for my parents to introduce me to my biological father must have taken more strength than I could ever imagine. These are the moments to be truly grateful for that mold us. A moment in time that changes our life's path throwing cold water on everything and anything we knew to be true. These stories make each of us unique; humanizing us.
How do we take these pivotal moments and show gratitude? By sharing your time and talents; sometimes it’s that simple. Here are some examples…
- Share a personal story with your readers – often others are going through a similar experience and your story may help
- Write an article focusing on your talent – share it for free
- Be a mentor in your community
- Set aside uninterrupted time everyday to have a conversation with your loved ones
- Ask a colleague if there’s something you can help with
- Learn how to cook a new dinner and invite neighbors over
These are small, but meaningful examples of ways you can engage in Scaling your Gratitude causing a ripple effect (think throwing a pebble in water). You’re paying it forward by sharing your talent, time, and knowledge.
For me, my most memorable moments – some good, some not – are experiences that have taught me gratitude. The good ones that come to mind include volunteering at the Bowery Mission for Men in NYC and interning at the New York Road Runners Foundation teaching youth fitness programs to children. On the flip side, a not so successful business or the day I received a call from my Aunt that my 92-year grandfather was severely injured from a fall and ultimately passed from complications. What have these events taught me about gratitude? They teach me how to be thankful, and appreciate the lessons they offer such as:
- Failure is not a bad thing if you learn from it
- Learn humility and listen more
- The answers to our questions are all around us if we are receptive
- Self awareness is not easy
- Regret is one of the worse feelings
- Envy of others can be debilitating
By living a life with passion and purpose, sharing without any expectation of receiving in return, Scaling your Gratitude is truly a movement worth joining.
ABOUT WILLIAM SMITH
Will has been a featured contributor and presenter for Time.com, NBC, Canyon Ranch, World Spinning Conference and featured in Homecare Magazine and Community Magazine NJ. He is an author of 14 books with Hatherleigh Press on health & wellness including Exercises for Perfect Posture. Will is married to a busy working mom, father of 3 boys, and in constant pursuit of how to improve the work-life relationship using our creative talents.