#ShowingUp with Anese Cavanaugh

Fueled By Gratitude and Impact

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Great news—Contagious Culture is getting ready to go to print. It’ll be on the bookshelves November 13 and is now on presale! I’m excited. My team’s excited. The people who’ve supported it are excited. We’re all excited.  

Spoiler alert: I dedicated the book to “gratitude and impact” (as well as two of my very favorite and most cherished people in the whole Universe—I’ll leave “who” as a surprise).

Why “gratitude and impact”? Because, in my mind, neither the world, nor I, would even exist without these two things. In my mind, these two things are super closely related, each amplifying the other. And in my mind, these two things provide some of the best spiritual fuel possible.

The Virtuous Cycle

Gratitude begets more gratitude. Impact begets more impact. Both beget more energy. And, ironically, they get us out of our own way.

Having a tough day? Get grateful. Even for the littlest of things—this moment, your breath, the sun, your life, free will, toothpaste, the fact that smiles are free and so is being kind...you get the idea. Name it, list it, get yourself on a gratitude roll. If you really feel into it, it may be tough to stop—cool, keep going. And if you can only muster one or two things, they’ll still have important impact on your spirit and your state—cool, keep going.

And if for some crazy reason gratitude doesn’t make your day better? (And it likely will.) Serve. Contribute to someone else. Get involved in something that’s bigger than you. Go create positive impact on another human being or something you care about. (That impact may simply be you telling them you’re grateful for them.) Yep. Like that.

When the Haves ARE the Have-Nots

I’ve had friends and clients with gazillions in the bank, big houses, beautiful families, good health, lives that others covet… but they weren’t “happy.” They always searched for more. They may have lacked gratitude, a desire for (positive) impact (on others), or even a combination of both.

I’ve had friends and clients barely able to make payroll or pay their lease, using credit cards to finance their business (and cash advance that payroll), living on ramen, even battling cancer…but they were happy. Joyful, even. They had gratitude down, and they kept their eye on the ball of positive impact and contribution.

The first group (and I’m going to totally generalize here, so take or toss as it serves). Their focus was on making more money, getting more toys, becoming more powerful—which I’m all for when it’s done with gratitude and positive intent. Enjoy your life, make amazing things happen, create abundance, AND…

I’ve found that for true joy and sustainable happiness, people generally do better when they’re appreciating what they have AND contributing to others. Money and power are more sustainable and enjoyable when they’re used in service of something bigger. That is all.

The people in the second group (again, generalizing), while truly in need of some better financial stability and health (which I’m happy to say happened), were happy because even though they didn’t have all that stuff, or even the security to pay those bills, or even their health in some cases—they were “on purpose,” they believed in what they were serving, they were committed to creating a positive impact, and they were wildly grateful for what they had, where they’d gotten to—and even in some cases that they’d been presented with a bigger better problem (i.e., having to finance an even bigger team because your company is growing fast—could be kind of a cool problem to have). Even my friend battling cancer was grateful it wasn’t worse and that she had friends and family to support her.

I’m not saying all of these things didn’t suck or weren’t incredibly difficult—they did, and they were—but even deep in it, these people found something to be authentically grateful for. And in whatever way was true for them, they were still able to focus on creating impact for other human beings.

Sustaining Yourself for the Journey

But alone, neither of these “models” is sustainable.

The rich guy with no gratitude or intention for positive impact, will burn out. Nothing will be enough. He’ll keep trying to fill that void—and he may for a while—but eventually his spirit will burn out from focusing on the wrong things.

The financially challenged guy with tons of gratitude and intention for positive impact will also burn out. He maybe happy doing it, feel totally on purpose and alive, but his situation is also not sustainable. He’ll run out of money, have an extra surprise problem that will knock him out, or he’ll just get tired of spinning so hard.

You need all of it. Gratitude, impact, revenue, a good business model, a good plan, a good recipe, good health, a good attitude, the structure that will help you master and amplify your craft. You need the soft stuff and the structure. And…if you have to choose, or you’re in a pinch, start with gratitude and impact, because these two things will fuel your spirit, give you energy, and support the tangible. Plus they’re free, they’re contagious, and the ROI is rich.

Fuel Up, Show Up

What are you grateful for today? Who (or what) can you contribute to in order to create positive impact around you?

Look there. Breathe. And Show Up. The world is counting on you.

Next Steps

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