View from the Summit

Getting Gratitude Locked Down: The Importance of Staying Thankful When Things Get Tough

Posted by Aaron Walker and the VFTT Team on Dec 4, 2020 9:00:00 AM


If there’s one thing we can’t afford to lose, as lockdowns come back … it’s gratitude.


Well, here we go! The final stretch of 2020 … a year to remember. We’ve had a bumpy ride! I don’t pretend it’s about to get smoother … but nothing’s going to stop me from pursuing everything God has for me. How about you?


If there’s one thing we can’t afford to lose, as lockdowns come back … it’s gratitude. In the many years I’ve been a Christian life coach, this is one of the biggest burrs in my saddle. I’ve never counseled a younger man who was both extremely grateful and a complete train wreck in every category of life. Those things don’t go together.


The hard part about life after 2020 is how the uncertainty seems “here to stay.” We can use it as an excuse to do (or not do) a lot of things. Here in the mastermind business, another lockdown is like throwing the kitchen sink at us for unanswered questions, and response plans. We have live events every year, and members whose businesses struggle or fail because of the virus.


Personally, it’s an even bigger challenge. I’m an extroverted guy who likes to socialize and do business through relationships. I like going to church, giving people hugs and having great conversations without a mask covering my face. All this sitting around, like chickens in a coop, takes away a lot of energy and momentum I get from connecting with people.


Our online mastermind groups are helpful, because the old proverb still applies: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” I’ve got a huge vision for where we’re going to take our company over the next several years. I’ve got a close and loving family, most of them living within a mile or two.


But even with all that, it’s easy under the circumstances to get focused on the wrong things. For most of us in the United States, it’s wintertime. Winter is a season that reminds us that everything has to “die” in order to live again. If that’s true, then there might be some habits, beliefs or attitudes in you that need to “die,” so gratitude can live again.


Joining a mastermind group isn’t the only thing you should do … but it’s definitely one of them! I want to encourage you to apply to become part of one of our groups for men or women.




Around this time of year, even middle Tennessee gets frosty. If you’re lucky, you can see the beauty of a frosted rose. It’s a clash between the full bloom of summer and the cold, “dead” feeling of winter. When I coach or mentor younger men, this often describes some part(s) of their lives. There’s potential and talent, the opportunity for glory - but it’s frozen solid.


Whether you’re struggling to have a healthy marriage or a successful business, your “frost” will eventually show itself. You’ll run up against an area that feels like “no man’s land” when you try to tackle it. Maybe you need to delegate or hire someone, and you’re paranoid from bad experiences. Or maybe you struggle to forgive, and your relationship with your wife is rocky.


This spiritual “frost” takes the bloom off the rose, if you don’t keep your eye on it. Did you ever see the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day? If you remember that part where the villain is trying to walk through the freezing liquid nitrogen, eventually he breaks into “pieces of himself.” That’s a good picture of what we start to look like when we get “frosty.”


In other words, we stop being thankful for the good things in our lives, and never consider that difficult things are meant to be received with gratitude. I don’t know about you, but my Bible has something to say about this in the Book of Job. He lost everything he had - land, business, his children, his income - so that even his wife said to him, “Why don’t you just curse God and die?”


But Job knew something his wife didn’t. He replied, “Shall we only accept good things from God, and not hard things as well?” Job was determined not to get “frosted” by the bad things that happened to him. He understood that it also turns your blood cold … and that’s just the kind of thing that will drive a wedge between you and the people you love the most, if you let it.


Mastermind groups online are some of the “warmest” places you can be during this time. And we’re not just saying that - we lived through the first lockdown too! Staying in community with my friends and allies through ISI kept me sharp as a tack during 2020.


Why don’t you find out just how much “sharper” you can be? Join one of our masterminds online by filling out an application at our website.


3 Things That Keep Gratitude Alive


If you struggle to stay grateful, there’s something I want you to understand. However long this lasts, you can’t afford to keep personal and professional development separate anymore. I don’t say this to knock any business coaching services. It’s just the truth: gratitude is a deeply personal thing, and no amount of profit or personal income will change an ungrateful attitude.


This is going to have to start deep within you - things you believe, choices you make and actions you take.


  • Habits

    If I sound like I’m beating a drum when I talk about habits, it’s because I am. People with a habit of gratitude are far less likely to become ungrateful. Even more so, if you can keep the presence of mind to be thankful when things don’t go your way.

    It’s not always “a learning opportunity” when things go bad. Some things in life are just plain sad. But in many cases, it’s not what happens to us that really counts. It’s how we respond to it that dictates the outcome.


  • Beliefs

    The first lockdown in 2020 forced me to ask myself, “Do I really believe the things I say, when everything’s going fine?” As a Christ follower, it’s easy for me to show up to church and say “Amen” and “Hallelujah” when everything’s normal and predictable.

    But when chaos is in charge, those things become more difficult. Entrepreneurs are natural leaders. Society looks to us to solve problems and figure out ways to meet people’s needs. What do you believe about yourself, though, when so much of what we used to be able to do is off-limits? How do you lead, when your
    normal tools for leadership don’t work?

  • Environment

    There are some places online, and there might even be people on your radar, you should probably “mute” for a while. You don’t need our toxic 24/7 news cycle, social media and people constantly bumping their gums on internet forums.

    Throughout the struggles of 2020 I said, “I’ll have any conversation under the banner of love, and face-to-face. But if you want to argue over comment threads, e-mail or text, I’m out.”


I’ve also made this rule: “I’ll only have those conversations with friends and people who care more about having a relationship with me than they do about politics or issues. People take disagreements way too far, especially with people they barely know. We should walk these things out in the company of people we trust, who care for us.


If you’re looking for an environment of people you can trust, who care about you and your success, I want to encourage you to consider joining a mastermind group. Let’s make 2021 a greater year than you can imagine, and start off by surrounding yourself with the right people.




Topics: Life Coaching, Character, Masterminds, Community, Relationships, Success, Significance, Priorities, Commitment, Clarity, Development, Gratitude, Decisions, Wisdom, Be The Light, Encouragement, Be An Encouragement, Leadership, RoadMap, Determination, Perseverance, Advice, Mission, Joy, Vision Leader


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