Gratitude is Courage

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If you want more courage in your life, all you need to do is add more gratitude.

When my company won its first best place to work award, I was thrilled. I’d built FPG on the belief that a great culture drives great performance, and to see that belief externally validated with an award was an achievement that caused me to swell up with pride. So when we arrived at the venue to find out our place, I was practically riding on a cloud.

And then I heard our place: Ninth.

In that moment, I was devastated. Ninth? My belief system was built around the idea that we were the best workplace in America. We should’ve been first. How did this happen? As I stewed on this fact with my arms crossed, not understanding how we didn’t have a higher ranking, I looked around at my team. They were thrilled. They were high-fiving, cheering, pumping their fists. And here I was, pouting like a kid who didn’t get what they wanted on Christmas.

In that moment I realized something: I was focused on perfection, not excellence.

Perfection is an unattainable standard that produces feelings of inadequacy. Excellence is the belief that I will always be better than I was yesterday. And a mindset focused on incremental growth and excellence produces gratitude. And gratitude produces courage. In my upcoming book, The Mindset of a Sales Warrior, I dedicate an entire chapter to this belief that gratitude is the unyielding fuel for courage.

Instead of having gratitude for what we’d accomplished, I was focused on my perfectionism, which centered me on what I hadn’t accomplished.

Think about the effect this has on your sales. There will always be things you didn’t accomplish, just like there will always be things you did accomplish. So you have a choice. You can focus on the first category and feel small, or focus on the second category and feel big. If you make yourself feel big, you’ll do big things. Just the same, if you make yourself feel small, you’ll do small things.

This isn’t an idle strategy. The entire purpose is to make this moment about gratitude so your next moment can be about gratitude. If I’d stayed in that place of perfectionism, we’d have never made the list the next year. Or the year after that, or the year after that (which we did). Instead, I chose to follow my team’s lead and see it through a lens of gratitude. I focused on the strategies we took to get us there, and that gave me the courage to see ways we could make our culture even better. And that’s exactly what happened.

The health benefits of gratitude are beyond question. Among other benefits, it improves your physical and psychological health, it increases your self-esteem, and it gives you more mental strength. But I believe the biggest reason why gratitude will change everything for you is because it gives you the courage you need to achieve your goals.

And the best news? You can go back to your own personal gratitude well whenever you need. If you need courage to make that next sales presentation, just pull from a time in your past when you succeeded and pull gratitude from that moment. If you need courage to have a tough conversation with your boss, just pull from a time in your past when you achieved resolution through a tough conversation and pull gratitude from that moment.

It’s all linked. Whenever you need more courage, just have more gratitude.