It's interesting what happens to the brain when you practice gratitude. Dopamine is released into two areas of the brain, which controls our movement and speech, and our sense of reward. So when a person expresses gratitude, the dopamine creates a connection between the behaviour, and feeling good. Therefore the more a person practices the gratitude, the more often that dopamine releases.
The power of gratitude is not some passing fad, or latest trend. There are genuine benefits to practicing gratitude every day. Particularly when you’re able to be grateful for a challenging situation.
Many successful people have a daily gratitude practice.
For example, Arianna Huffington bases a lot of her success to practicing gratitude. Tony Robbins believes that being grateful first thing in the morning helps him have a more successful day, as well as staves off anger, or fear that leads to poor investing or life choices.
Oprah Winfrey says that appreciating whatever shows up in your life changes your personal vibration. That generates more goodness for yourself when you are aware of all that you have, rather than focusing on what you’re missing.
Gratitude doesn't have to be big, extravagant events. In fact, it’s best when you’re grateful for the simple things in life.
Here’s an overview of what we cover in the power of gratitude:
- What a gratitude practice is, and the benefits of practicing gratitude, including the scientific evidence: (5:05)
- Chemical reaction that occurs in you brain when you practice gratitude: (9:05)
- 7 areas of life and how you can implement these into your gratitude practice: (14:46)
- We explore into the different ways you can practice gratitude: (18:42)
- How to take your gratitude practice to the next level: (28:45)
- Some examples of really big challenges in our lives and how we used gratitude to get through them – Tamara gets really vulnerable: (29:26)
- AND so much more!
- Kikki-K Gratitude Journals
- Dr John Demartini, 7 Areas of Life
- Joel Norton
- View a full transcript of the podcast at the bottom of the page, or download a PDF version here.
Thank you for listening
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Tamara: This is episode number four on gratitude. Welcome to the Females in Tech Show where we help women in tech to live a balanced and purposeful life through a career in information technology.
My name is Tamara and I am the founder of FIIT Collective. In this podcast I'll explore the challenges females face working in a corporate environment and how to overcome them. Beyond technology, I will also dive deep into self-care practices, how they can improve your physical and mental wellbeing and the importance of balancing work and relationships for sustainable and rewarding career.
Joining me in today's episode is my loving partner Joel Norton. Joel Is an entrepreneurial executive with 30 years’ experience in data driven marketing and in empowering businesses to achieve customer centric digital transformation. He is the founder and CEO of a conversion rate optimization consultancy helping established entrepreneurs to increase sales and sustainably grow their influence to serve more people.
Joel is also a great supporter and advocate for women in tech, which is why he'll be joining me in the first season of the females in tech show to share his perspective as a male.
Tamara: In today's episode, we cover what a gratitude practice is and the benefits of practicing gratitude. The chemical reaction that happens in the brain when you practice gratitude. The seven areas and how you can implement these into your everyday gratitude practice. We explore into the different ways you can practice gratitude. How to take your gratitude practice to the next level. And some examples of really big challenges in our lives and how we use gratitude to get through them – I get really open and vulnerable here. And so much more.
Tamara: Good morning Handsome, how are you this morning?
Joel: I'm fantastic. Thank you Beautiful. How are you?
Tamara: I'm really great. I'm super excited about today's topic, but before we get started, what are three things you're grateful for?
Joel: Well thank you. We've already done this, this morning but very happy to be doing it again because I've got some other things to be grateful for.
First up, I'm really grateful for the opportunity to be doing this podcast with you, for multiple reasons. I think firstly that technology in the world enables us, is giving us an opportunity to share what we're learning with other people and hopefully they can grow and benefit from that in the same way that we have. So, I'm grateful for technology and also grateful for Pat Flynn and his podcasting course that we've been able to study, it's been a lot of hard work, but being able to short circuit some of the learnings, I think that's been brilliant. So grateful to be doing the podcast with you. And those other things that I mentioned.
We had a beautiful weather on the weekend, but it's been raining the last few days, and just grateful for the great night's sleep that I had last night and that we've got somewhere warm, safe to sleep and to stay cause there's lots of people are homeless and outside, in the rain. So, I'm really grateful for that.
And just blessed to be doing life with you Beautiful.
What are three things you're grateful for?
Tamara: Yeah, I've had a very interesting week.
The first thing I'm grateful for is my current workplace, we're going through a lot of change and change can be very difficult, particularly when it's an organisation restructure. So, I'm really grateful that this change has blossomed, beautiful conversations within our team in particular, and there's been a lot of open and vulnerable conversations, which has made us closer together as a team, rather than bickering or fighting against one another. So really, really grateful for that opportunity, and to see that from a challenge that you're facing, you can actually bring people closer together.
The second thing I'm grateful for is our beautiful smoothie this morning. I am so grateful that we have discovered to freeze our avocado. Seriously, we eat a lot of avocado to begin with, but a habit that we had gotten into, not by purpose, but we had a lot of waste with our avocado. So, I'm grateful that I thought of the idea to freeze our avocado before it goes all brown and icky. So really grateful for our beautiful smoothie.
And, grateful for this topic we're about to talk about today. It is something that we practice every single day and every single night and can't wait to share it with the world.
Joel: And so, what are we talking about today?
Tamara: We're talking about gratitude.
Joel: Awesome. That's great. So why don't we start with, I suppose the obvious question, which is… What is gratitude, or what's a gratitude practice?
Tamara: When we were preparing for this, I did a lot of Google research to see what everyone else thought gratitude was and nothing really resonated with me.
I personally believe that practicing gratitude is the act of giving thanks, for all the lessons and experiences that the universe gives you. I think that, it doesn't always have to be great things that you're grateful for, like a promotion.
It can be the simple things like we’re really grateful that we are living in a place that's warm and a lot of people who are homeless don't have that. You can be grateful for things like, fresh sheets, the weather, the sun, what that feels like against your skin. So yeah, it's a really interesting topic and I can't wait to dive deep.
What is your definition of gratitude?
Joel: Yeah, I suppose we've been doing this for a little while and we try and work towards recognising the benefits in those challenges, but that's probably some of the stuff we'll cover a bit later in the conversation.
For me it is the act of being grateful. Saying thanks, for being grateful. It's really important that it's intentional. And, by that, also being specific. So, getting into a more of the details, the more intentional or specific you can be, the more you're dialling into actually what is it that you're grateful for.
The examples you just had around the avocado. So not just breakfast but actually that we're freezing the avocado, we don't have that waste, all those pieces. Ultimately the benefits, if you're doing that properly, because you're right, when you Google and you have a look at gratitude or gratitude practice, everything to me is just about being happy. Right? It's about, life's wonderful and its happy, happy, happy, happy. And we both know that's unrealistic. Right? But I think it's not really getting to the heart of actually what gratitude is really.
Tamara: Yeah. Let's just tease out that unrealistic, happy part. Because I'm sure some of the listeners are a bit confronted by what you just said. What we mean by being happy is unrealistic. Joel and I live our life according to balance. So, you can't possibly be happy all of the time, 24/7, you can't possibly be happy. You do face challenges along the way.
So, Joel and I are very conscious that when we do have things to celebrate, we also recognise, what are the things that we have disconnected with? Or is lagging in our life. What did we have to sacrifice to get to this opportunity? So, we are having that balanced view because there's been times where we've been extremely happy, and then we've been shocked with reality with something like our car breaking down, which actually did happen.
Joel: Yeah, that's right. It's recognising that things are in balance, because if it's constantly just happy, happy, it's unrealistic, well it's a fantasy really. For me, the benefits, again, if you look at all the benefits, there's lots of lists out there on the benefits of gratitude, and to me some of that feels a little bit superficial.
To me when you boil it down, the real benefit from gratitude is having a deep sense of fulfillment. And as part of that, it fills you up so you're less likely to then need the external gratification. Whether that's looking at social media or whether that's doing retail shopping or whatever it might be. The true benefit I believe of doing gratitude is that it fills you up and gives you that sense of balance within yourself that you don't need to seek gratitude somewhere else.
Tamara: It's really interesting in what happens to the brain when an individual practices gratitude. Essentially what happens is dopamine is released into the brain and it goes into two areas of the brain, which controls our movement, our speech, and our sense of reward. So, when a person expresses or gives gratitude, the dopamine releases, making a connection between the behaviour and feeling good, so the more a person practices gratitude, the more often that dopamine releases.
It’s not just a phase that everyone's going through that we need to be practicing gratitude every day. There's actually scientific evidence in what happens to the brain when you practice that sense of gratitude, whether it's for a challenge, or for something great that's happened.
Joel: That’s great. So, you've been looking at the science today.
Tamara: I did try to switch roles.
It's also really interesting, I do say it's a bit of a phase that everyone's going through, but successful people, with the greatest minds, have been practicing gratitude for years.
Someone like, Arianna Huffington, she bases a lot of her success to practicing gratitude. And she practices something quite similar to what we do. Listing three things she's grateful for in the morning, and three things she is grateful for in the evening.
Whereas Tony Robbins, he has a little bit of a different methodology that he practices every single day. He believes that establishing gratefulness first thing in the morning not only helps him have a more successful day ahead, but also staves off anger, or fear that can lead to poor investing or life choices. So, the practice he follows is three steps. He focuses on something very simple that makes him grateful, like the wind in his face or a child's smile. The second thing he does is devote three minutes to a prayer and during this time he sends energy to his family, co-workers, and others. And the third thing he does is he completes three to thrive, by taking three final minutes of his routine to identify three results he's committed to achieving, which is super interesting. It's a really different way of practicing gratitude.
And then you've got Oprah on the other hand. She says that appreciating whatever shows up to you in life changes your personal vibration. And I love that she believes that you radiate and generate more goodness for yourself when you are aware of all that you have. And not just focusing on the not haves. For a decade, Oprah Winfrey kept a gratitude journal and in it she wrote down five things she was grateful for every single day. Since she's become quite famous, she's turned to a digital version. Examples include having a run around Florida's Fisher island with the slight breeze that kept her cool. Eating a cold melon on the bench in the sun, a long, hilarious chat with Gale about her blind date with Mr. Potato Head. A sorbet cone, so sweet that it literally made her lick her finger.
It's these simple things in life that you can be grateful for. It doesn't have to be these big extravagant events but they're just some examples of people who have really successful lives and how they've been practicing gratitude.
Joel: Yeah. Well I think in all those examples that you talked about, coming back to what I mentioned before, both being specific, so not just had an ice cream, but actually what was it about the ice cream, and how did it make me feel? And so, it's being specific but also then intentional and mindful around what it was.
Even just having this conversation now I've got like a warm fuzzy sort of ooziness all through my body. And when you get that deep sense of gratitude, that's what you should feel like. And so even like, not just rushing through and say, I'm grateful for this, this and this, which we are guilty of sometimes when we're in a hurry but when we really take the time to think about it and to be truly grateful for something, I get that feeling of buzzing.
Tamara: But it wasn't easy to get there.
Joel: No, no, no.
Tamara: What were we doing when we first practiced gratitude?
Joel: I can't remember, do you?
Tamara: Yeah, I definitely remember. We mentioned John Demartini a few episodes earlier [Full Disclaimer: We receive compensation as an affiliate, at no extra cost to you, if you purchase through this link.]. Essentially, he introduced us to this life of gratitude, which was around three-ish years ago, and the awareness of the seven areas, which we'll dive deep into a little bit later. He also practices a gratitude journal. So, Joel and I thought, yeah, okay, this is an awesome idea.
Joel and I at the time were living interstate and having a long-distance relationship. So, we would get up, initially it was half an hour to write down all of the things that we were grateful for, and we would take a photo and send it to each other. Half an hour, turned into an hour. And we were listing in each of the seven areas, things that we were grateful for. And it just became quite overwhelming.
Joel: It was cumbersome. But at the time, to be honest, I am really grateful for that experience. Let's talk about those seven areas again, and this is why it took a bit of time.
First is around spiritual. So that's not about religion, but what your spirituality or your personal purpose is. So, what you're grateful for around that space. Second is around mental. Third is around your vocation or career. Fourth is around your finances or financial. Five is family, six is social, so, your social influence, and seven is physical.
And so, the reason it took time was we were thinking of a few things within each of those. Well, it will wasn't a few things. We were trying to exhaust each area. And what are all the things I'm grateful in these. At the time also, I suppose we were trying to learn a bit more about those things, like what was spiritual. What were the things that I was grateful for that were in the spiritual bucket. And whilst that was cumbersome to a degree, it really helped personally, help me get a better understanding of what those seven areas were, and being able to recognize the benefits in each of those seven areas.
Particularly where some of them were challenges, which we'll talk about, because you might talk about a particular subject, which might be finances, and there's some real challenges around that. What have I got to be grateful for that? So, it was really around trying to recognize what were those pieces.
Over time we've adapted that, but that period that we went through, in doing that and taking that time really helped cement into a practice, but also better understanding and better practice as a result.
Tamara: Yeah, absolutely. I honestly have been thinking about this a little bit, just recently because we've been going through a lot of challenges recently, and maybe turning back into that method and just writing it down, verbalising it, is great, and you and I, quite often get that warm and fuzzy feeling.
Sometimes it's good to revert back and write it down and really take that time to sit down and look at life and look at all the things that you have achieved, and look at all the challenges that you've overcome, and looking at those seven areas. It really helps you create that work life balance too because you can recognize where some days we would be like, oh, I've got nothing to be grateful for in our finance section. So, it's making us aware that we need to put more effort into that area as well.
Joel: Yeah. It's always hard to, when you're in the eye of the storm, as they say. It's hard to see that, so writing it, well for myself personally, helped. It helped me to be more intentional.
The power of writing, whether that's around goals or whatever, there's science around this as well. The power of physically writing something out, has been proven to be a lot better. So, having that gratitude journal, which in places like Kikki K and stuff have done very well around, producing diaries that are effectively gratitude journals. The power of writing, it's got amazing benefits. So yes, there are times where you are struggling, it might be beneficial to actually physically write that down, and writing it down is also great therapy for then releasing it, particularly if it is a challenge.
Tamara: Mmmm, exactly. Keep writing as many benefits as you can identify until you feel balanced about the situation you're in at the moment. We do that quite a lot, and we do that with our business coach Sam as well. It’s a really great tool for that.
Do you want to deep dive into some other ways that individuals can practice gratitude if a gratitude journal isn't for them? Or practicing the three things they are grateful for in the morning and at night, but not really getting that warm fuzzy feeling.
Joel: Yeah. We started with that journal and writing it down and what the benefits of that were at the time. Then we progressed to just doing that together. So, at breakfast we do that, after we've eaten breakfast, what are three things we're grateful for. And we also do it in the evening, before we go to bed. You can do that with your partner. You can do that with your friends.
You did that with your friend, previously, which was slightly a different spin. Do you want to talk about that?
Tamara: Yeah, I'm trying to trig my memory.
It was part of the Resilience Project and it was listing one thing you're grateful for, who are you most grateful for and why? And then the third thing is what are you looking forward to for tomorrow?
It’s a really great tool because it makes you look at your day and identify one thing that's happened that you're grateful for. Secondly, it identifies someone who has touched you in that day. So, someone who has brought you joy or who has comforted you. And then thirdly, getting you excited for the day ahead.
Joel: Yep. And you used to do that via text message. So, it doesn't always have to be your partner. It can be doing it, just at night or in the morning but doing it via text message, and having a partner or somebody else to do it with is a great way because it keeps you both accountable as well. It’s great, and ultimately it's around getting into a habit and doing it every day. So, doing it with somebody else is great way to start forming that habit.
You can do it with your colleagues at work, as you've done. Tell the listeners about that.
Tamara: Yeah, so my team is amazing. I love my team and we have these campaign initiatives, something that we take ownership of, whether it's the quarter, whether it's the year. I am part of the wellness team, and we've created Mindful Mondays.
Every single Monday, to start off the week with a positive mindset, I ask everyone what are three things they're grateful for. It's really beautiful to see how everyone has progressed over the months, from being grateful for one thing that was really exciting, to now where they are being grateful for fresh sheets, or that their cat was successfully de-sexed. Just simple things in life.
It's a really great way to start everyone off on a positive mindset on a Monday, particularly when we've just had a weekend, and a lot of people don't really feel like coming into work, although that's not the case for me. It's a really great way for your colleagues to get involved and get them thinking about the different things they're grateful for over the weekend, and the week ahead.
Joel: Sharing, or having some gratitude, whether it's with your partner, or people at work where there's some common ground is really powerful as well, because the other people will have a slightly different filter around a particular situation that you may not have thought of as well. So that adds to your gratitude – Oh yeah, that's a really good point – so you internalize that as well. That's really powerful.
Tamara: And it creates deeper relationships with your colleagues because you start to see the things they value most, and what brings them joy, and it gives you a source of information. So, if you know they're having a rough day, some of the topics that you can talk about to either take their mind off whatever's happening, or comfort them.
Joel: Another is obviously with your family. Something I've done for a few years, with the kids after dinner, what are three things you're thankful for. Obviously when you're a kid, it's pretty basic. My son would say I'm thankful that I could go to the skate park this afternoon. So, it's often the same thing, but getting into a practice where they start to think about that.
In the old days, going back 50 years, where religion played a bigger part in families, that’s effectively what grace was. You're being thankful for the food. So, when Lee is with us, we do that with Lee, and also with my daughter Maisie, around trying to practice what's gratitude, and trying to introduce the challenges piece, which is a bit harder, but what are the are the things that you're grateful for.
And when we did the wholefoods cooking program with Tash and Tom, which you did an awesome blog post on, which we'll link to in the show notes, but an awesome blog posts around the whole foods cooking. They're a wholefoods catering company, and they do these weekend workshops. They're very intentional about the food that they eat, and the ingredients they use. They have a process where they're very grateful for, in an old-fashioned way, it would be around saying grace – We're grateful for the ingredients that we're about to cook with. We're grateful for the farmers that have toiled hard – and they sincerely mean that. And that flows through into the way they cook, and cooking in a loving way and in a loving environment.
And when you were at Billabong Retreat, where Tash was the chef, repeating that process before you even sit down to eat, which is they say a form of grace, that would have been done previously.
Tamara: It's a really beautiful mindset to be, where you take the moment to stop the noise that's flowing through your head. I think a lot of us, particularly in tech, are guilty of eating behind the computer screen. So, it's really taking that moment to think about the food that is about to enter into your body, and being grateful for how it's been sourced, and how it's being cooked. So, I love that practice. It's really beautiful.
Joel: Yeah. And thinking about the food that's actually nourishing your body, and that leads through into being more mindful, not sitting there. So, whether it's in front of the computer or scrolling through social media, whatever. Actually, being conscious and mindful about the food that you're eating and literally feeling it, doing good in your body.
How often should we be doing it?
Tamara: I've got a few other ways. I did some looking online to see how other people practice gratitude because there's one way that really works for us, but there's multiple other ways.
A vision board with gratitude quotes is a really good way. And to put all of your achievements that you've had over the last year and keep adding to that board. And another way, which I really liked, which I think we should implement with Lee, is a gratitude jar. Every single day you write something that you're grateful for and you put it in the jar. And then on New Year's Day, or the end of the year, you unfold everything you've written previously, and look at all the things you've been grateful for, and what an amazing year you've had, which is a really, really beautiful practice.
A gratitude walk. So, no technology, leaving your phone at home, touching base with mother nature and being aware of everything that's around you, and how beautifully the world moves, whether it's the wind against your skin, or the sun that's shining, whether it's the sound of the waves crashing or birds chiming. That's a really beautiful way to practice gratitude. And you and I do that quite often, and then thank you notes. We call them love notes to one another, but it's a really beautiful way to tell, whether it's your partner, or whether it's your colleague and slipping a cute little note into their bag. Just being grateful for them, and their relationship and friendship that you have with them, and how they may have helped you that day.
There are a few other ways that you can practice gratitude if the other ways, like three things in the morning, three things at night doesn't really work for you. There are so many different ways. Like with anything, find what works for you, find what works for your partner, your kids, everyone's different. And it will resonate with people differently.
Joel: Again, being specific about that stuff as well, both helps you, and is great for the other person. So, not just thanks for helping me today, thanks for helping me because it really helped me in this way and it meant the world to me.
Tamara: Yeah, exactly. So, what was your question earlier?
Joel: How often? Yeah.
Tamara: You can do this constantly throughout the day, and the better you become at being grateful, the more grateful you automatically become throughout the day. There will be moments where you and I walk outside and we're like, oh, that sun feels so good. And previously, we may not have done it. We may have just charged through life not even realizing that was happening.
I personally think in the morning, and in the night, it's really great. And I think setting maybe 15 minutes aside, if you don't want to do morning and night, 15 minutes aside in the morning just to jot down everything you're grateful for, set an alarm every single day. So, either once or twice a day to jot down what you're grateful for.
What's your opinion on that?
Joel: The way we do it, I love, because it's a great way to start the day, and it's a great way to end the day, particularly ending the day too because a day is going to have challenges along the way. So, it gives you an opportunity to try and recognise what some of those challenges might be and talk about that. I love doing it, both ways. And as you, there's also moments during the day where, I might just say it to myself around something.
There's probably two ways that you can level up with your gratitude.
And one of those ways is by being grateful for specific things within each of those seven areas. Because it does force you to, intentionally look at what's a benefit in each of those different areas. So, you're conscious, because if you're not conscious of those seven areas, you're ignoring it. So, it's really important that you are constantly thinking about those different areas. I think that's one way. And we referenced that in episode two, when we talked about work life balance, what those seven areas were. But yeah, being intentional about those seven areas, there's also another way to level up.
Tamara: Yeah, absolutely. Another way is being grateful for the challenges. So, we should dive deep into this a little bit because this is a hard concept for a lot of people to understand. And I think I might start by sharing an example, or a few.
The first example, I'll talk about my days in recruitment. Recruitment at the start was really great. It was really exciting. It was my first job out of university, and I was having a lot of fun. There was a lot of partying. It was work hard, play hard, but it got to a point in my life where I no longer enjoyed that, it wasn't living to my truth. And as a result, I'd gained 14 kilos and I had pimples everywhere. My hair was really frail, my nails really frail. And I was getting all of the signs that this wasn't right for me.
And as much as recruitment was such a great stepping-stone for my career, I couldn't see that at the time. And I felt demoralised in the career path that I chose. I didn't think I was using my brain to my full capacity. And I was really, really down about, having recruitment as a career. And a lot of people have a positive and a negative perception, but it's mostly negative, and I was embarrassed to say I was a recruiter. Looking back now, as much as I wanted to jump out of that role, looking back at that now I can say all of the benefits that it gave me.
If it weren't for that job, I would never have discovered Salesforce, and I wouldn't be working for Salesforce today. I learned how to sell, I learned how to negotiate. I learnt how to manage really tough stakeholders. There was so much in that role that I'm grateful for, and I really wouldn't be the person I am today without having chosen that first job as my career.
Joel: This is where the magic happens really in having a gratitude practice, is being able to identify the benefits in what is perceived as a challenge. And it can be really hard to do that when you're in the middle of it.
As humans we hang onto a lot of emotional baggage as well, for stuff that's happened in the past. So, there's having that gratitude practice for things that have happened in the past, also releases some of that baggage or the emotion that prevents you from moving forward.
Tamara: Yeah, exactly. And then when I changed roles from recruitment into my first consulting career, with a Salesforce partner, I was so excited about the opportunity. I was finally learning something that I was really passionate about, and within two weeks I was thrown on client side. I was dealing with a really, really, really tough client who would stand behind me, watching me code, when I didn't know the first thing about coding. I was pretty much winging it and it was a really stressful situation to be in.
In the moment I thought, what have I done? This is the wrong career path for me. But I was very grateful because in that moment I could actually, not like when I was in recruitment, I couldn't see the benefits, but in that moment, I knew this is where I thrive, in sink or swim situations. This is my ability to showcase the person that I am, and that I can learn on the job, that I can start building my personal brand and build that positive reputation within the organisation.
It was a really challenging situation to be in and I often went home in tears, but I could see that this was the right move for me and it was pushing me to be a better person and really start to sky rocket my career.
Joel: And the universe is also testing you to say, is this really what you want to do? And the fact that you can recognize there are benefits in this, and as you say, knowing it's the way that you like to learn, being thrown into that sort of scenario and having to work it out quickly. That’s awesome.
Tamara: And it was challenging me in so many other ways, even financially. I dropped my salary by half to get the job, and it didn't have any commission like recruitment does. So that was really tough financially. But I could see that with my experience in recruitment, and knowing how much Salesforce consultants get paid, I knew that I would get there again. And within a few years I'm earning more than I was in recruitment. So yes, you have challenges throughout that time, but I could see the benefits in that situation.
Joel: They're both two great examples, and I think another example would be, when you look at kids with computer games, right? It's the classic sort of levelling up, in a computer game. You start at level one, you try and work out, learn the moves, whatever else it might be. And then you get to a point where you pass a certain challenge and you go up to level two, and then again, you're a newbie again, and you've got to learn a whole lot of new things, and you get more confident around those and then you pass whatever challenge might be. And then you get up to level three.
That's really how the universe works around that. In that scenario, where as teenagers, or anyone playing computer games, they’re actively seeking those challenges because they want to get to the next level. The better you are at recognizing what those challenges are, and being grateful for that, the more you charge full steam ahead, and you're actively looking for what's next, how do I get to that next level?
Tamara: Yeah. Because even if you do fail in that challenge, well fail in in inverted commas, quotation marks, that's where your biggest learning is. And that's the whole mindset shift, whether you're facing a challenge and you weren't able to overcome it, there's a benefit from that and you've learnt, well that doesn't work, so let me try something else, how else can I overcome this challenge? Then in a future situation, if you come across a similar situation, or you're mentoring someone who is facing something similar, you're able to provide that experience and help the person overcome it. Or you're not making the same mistake.
Joel: The universal will keep testing you in the same way. If you keep making the same mistake, they will keep testing you until you learn what that is. So, bringing it back to gratitude, being grateful for that experience, and working out, what's the way for me to manage and get through this is going to help you level up.
The gratitude piece is the key, being grateful for the experience. You may not always know what you're learning at the time, but just acknowledging that you're learning something, and then next time you say, well this is what I learned out of that, and coming back to being specific.
Tamara: We've talked a lot about business challenges, but there's also personal challenges that people face. And I'll share one today. I'm going to try very hard not to be emotional given that I'm in Autumn but there was a time where I had lost a lot of friends, and it hit me quite hard. And during that time, I didn't understand. I was really, really sad, and that was really hard for me, because one in particular was one of my really good friends, and I just didn't understand why, why I had to lose another friend.
Today it's been four years since he's passed. And I can look at that now and be so grateful for the friendship that we had, and really love life. Every single day I try and make the most out of my life. And a lot of people ask me where I get my drive. And it's because of him, it's because of him passing. It's because of the friendship that we had. He's told me life is short and to make the most of everything, and push yourself because you're amazing. And you deserve to have the life that you've always dreamed of.
One thing that he really taught me was E.L.E. I've got it tattooed on my arm, and it's Everyone Loving Everyone. And I'm so grateful he could teach me that because that's a principle I apply everywhere. No matter where you come from, what culture you're from, how much money you have, treat everyone like equal, and everyone has something to offer. As much as that time, and for years I didn't see the benefit, I can today happily see that and be extremely grateful for him being able to provide that outlook on life.
Joel: That's beautiful. It really is beautiful. And it is difficult to try and work it out sometimes, when you're in the middle of it, but the fact that you can look at that retrospectively and see what the benefits were, and you've levelled up in that way.
Another way of describing it is if you're struggling to see the benefits in a challenge, another way is to flip it around, and say things that outwardly might be a great thing, you can flip it around and say, well what are the negatives around that?
A great example is even just the weather on the weekends. In Sydney we are getting to the tail end of winter, but it is still winter. It was a beautiful sunny day on Saturday, it was 23, 24 degrees. Down on the beach there were people in bikinis and board shorts, sunbaking. Honestly it was a beautiful day, and we were both, wow, this is amazing. What a great for Winter. But one of our friends made a post, he came in from having done yoga in the morning and said to the family, what a perfect day, and his 17-year-old son said, well if it were a perfect day, it would be raining because the farmers are in a drought, and because of global warming there is all these other problems as well.
It's a good example of recognizing that things are in balance all the time. So, when you are stuck in a hard space, just remember there are some benefits, and there's positives out of this situation, even though you may not see it just now.
Tamara: And it's, it's okay if it takes time. It's okay to grieve, or it's OK to be so over the moon and be extremely happy in that time. Don't get me wrong, you don't have to go through something and then straight away think, OK, what's the negatives in this situation?
That's not the way to do it, but it's just being a lot more aware, and being able to have this balanced perspective so when hardship does come, you know you're strong enough to get through it and you know although it's really hard in that time, you will see benefits later in life. But you can choose at that time to take the moment to grieve, which is exactly what I've done.
Joel: Yeah. So beautiful.
I'd like to say thank you for being so open with us today, just around some of those challenges, because it's hard to talk about stuff. So, thank you.
Is there anything else we needed to cover?
Tamara: No, I think that's about it.
What are the three takeaways for this episode?
Joel: I think number one is just to start. And a great way to start is to do it with somebody. Whether that's a partner or whether that's a friend, whether it's your colleagues, just to start. And it can just be the obvious things that you're grateful for, but just start and practice that, that'd be number one.
What about you?
Tamara: Yeah, that's a really great one. Having that accountability partner. Share this episode with the person you want to start practicing gratitude with and start practicing every single day. If that's what works for you. If it's in the morning or the afternoon, or go to the shops and get that jar and your little notepad and start writing those gratitude pieces and putting them into the jar.
Joel: The second one for me would be around spending time on a specific issue. If you have got a big challenge that hit you and you're really struggling with, actually just take some time. I've done this recently and just had half an hour to myself and spent what was sort of journaling, I don't have a journal, I just use scraps of paper but I wrote three or four pages of notes, and writing it on paper and getting it out of my head, that process allowed me to see some of the benefits out of that particular challenge.
That's not something you're doing every day. That's just saying here's a particular challenge and it's a process of both journaling but also gratitude to help you recognise those benefits.
Tamara: And I would think the third one would be, don't be so hard on yourself, be patient. You're not, well, you could get that warm and fuzzy feeling initially but that sometimes takes time. So, every single person will be different. Be patient and don't be hard on yourself and just do the best that you can do. And that's all we can ask for.
Joel: Yeah. I think with that, it can help if you've got somebody else to talk through some of those things, because somebody else will have a different perspective or filter. So, if you've got a relationship with somebody that you can do that with, that's a great help.
Thank you Beautiful.
Tamara: Thank you, handsome. This has been another amazing episode and I'm so grateful to have recorded it with you today.
Joel: Yea me too. Thank you.
Tamara: Thank you for joining me today. If you'd like more information about today's show, you can read my show notes and any relevant links at FIITCollective.com/4 that's F, I, I, T, collective.com forward slash four.
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