Staying Grateful When the Going Gets Tough
Liz Gutman, WE NYC Mentor
Liz Gutman - Liddabit Sweets

It’s been a challenging year across the board. Whether things start to go south personally, in your business, or across the country, there are many circumstances over which you have no control – and if you own a business, you’re probably something of a control freak. (No judgment, so am I!) This can make it extra difficult to accept and deal with challenges along the way. I’m not talking whoops-I-forgot-to-deal-with-the-insurance-payment challenges, or darn-we-lost-a-customer challenges. I mean the big, hairy, red-eyed challenges that pop up out of nowhere and beat the tar out of you. We’re running out of money. My business partner quit. I don’t know if I can keep doing this.

While I can’t solve those problems for you, I can offer some advice about how I’ve managed to cope with adversity. Staying grateful is a big part of that.

It’s important to remember where your priorities really should lie: with those closest to you.

Liz Gutman

Make a list

Write down five to ten things you feel truly grateful for and put the list somewhere you’ll see it every day, like your bathroom mirror or the inside of your front door. Anything can be on the list: loved ones, pets, even things like your health or your fabulous hair. Whenever you look at it, take a deep breath, and pick one of the things to really focus on. If it’s your beloved sister who lives across the country, picture her in your mind. Imagine laughing with her and giving her a hug. Concentrate on how these things make you feel in as much detail as you can muster. This exercise can take as little as 30 seconds, but if you really commit to it and are in the right headspace, you can feel a lift in your mood immediately.

Take a time out

I probably sound like a broken record on this one (and I have trouble taking my own advice, so I feel you), but exercise is a key part of keeping your head straight. Taking a walk or even just doing 20 minutes of stretching or yoga will help you stay in touch with your physical body and keep you grateful for all the wonderful things it does for you every single day. Getting outside helps, too – paying attention to the leaves on the trees, the sounds around you (even if they’re mostly honking car horns, as is the case for me), the way the sunlight or evening air feels on your face… Remember that it’s a gift to be alive and well, to be doing what you love to do and to have nothing but possibilities in front of you.

Spend quality time with a loved one

It can be dangerously easy to put off social interaction when you’re focused on your business. I was going through a very difficult personal time in my life when we started Liddabit, and I used the business as an excuse to run away from all those feelings. That can become a big problem when it grows into a pattern. It’s important to remember where your priorities really should lie: with those closest to you. Set aside time at least once a week to see a friend you haven’t seen in awhile, play a board game with your significant other, take your child roller skating, or bring your dog to the park for a round of fetch. The key here is to fully disconnect from your business and other angst for a short time. I promise an hour or two of unreachability won’t ruin anything. Be fully present with those you love most, and who love you back. It’s a true gift.

Is there anything I missed? How do you stay grateful when things get difficult?