2021 was an unprecedented year for everyone—especially business owners. When faced with uncertainty, we all have the opportunity to be negative or get innovative. As we’ve never faced a global pandemic in this day and age, there’s no rule book to follow. This could be taken as a means of defeat, or an opportunity to make your own rules.
If you’ve made it this far in the year, odds are, you chose the latter. That victory on its own is worth celebration! Unfortunately, many business owners struggle with celebrating little wins—such as persevering through hard business decisions. Considering it was undoubtedly one of the most difficult years to survive in business, this was no small feat.
If you’re struggling with seeing the silver lining through this year’s trials and tribulations, you might just need to get more granular. Maybe this wasn’t your best year for sales, your best year for growth, and you didn’t reach every number you had predicted pre-pandemic. But you likely accomplished an abundance of success that you never could have anticipated!
When times get tough, counting your wins can prove to be a great way to shift your perspective. We often have much more going right than we think... we just focus on everything going wrong. Make a list of all the things you’re thankful for, and you’ll often find your wins greatly outweigh the losses. Below I’m sharing my list of the top five things I’m thankful for this past year and how other business leaders can use the art of thankfulness to enhance their business.
Check out The Mastermind Playbook for other ways to enhance your mastermind group—and every member’s business, including your own.
Extra Time to Focus in on Your Business
As a business owner, you often wear many hats—CEO, financial advisor, creative director, friend, parent, etc. This can get exhausting and time-consuming. When faced with a conflicting schedule to maintain a professional and personal life, sacrifices often have to be made. Unfortunately, sometimes that impacts the growth of our business or our relationships. When it comes to having access to time, this year proved to be a blessing in disguise.
With more time at home, less commuting, more technological accessibility, and better planning, more people were able to spend time advancing their business and deepening their relationships. When you cut out the unnecessary drive times we used to have for meetings, events, and other occasions, that availability gave many of us an opportunity to finally focus on our side hustle, spend more time with our children or spouse, or even just have some extra time to ourselves.
2. Getting More Family Time
Getting more flexible time, in general, is certainly something to be thankful for, but family time deserves its own victory dance! When we’re juggling business and maintaining a social life, things like taking our kids to school, getting extra time in the morning with our spouse, or even getting to watch a movie together falls on the backburner. At the end of the day, we’re too exhausted to put forth energy towards those that are closest to us—when they’re the ones who should be receiving the most.
More time to work from home has created a more flexible work schedule for many. This allots more time to have coffee with your spouse in the morning, go on a family walk, or to read a book to your kids before bed without being half awake. While many business owners have seen the value in this and have adjusted their schedules, this opportunity may pass. Take time to treasure the times spent with your loved ones this year and for the chance to refocus your priorities.
3. The Opportunity to Help More People
2021 proved to be challenging for most of us. Despite the hardship we all faced, this year was also an opening to uplift and encourage our community. Instead of focusing on how difficult or defeating this year has been, focus on how many people your hard work has touched. It’s likely that your service, product, or message enhanced the experience of this trying year for others.
This past year was a massive opportunity to reach out to your community, consumers, and other business owners. You didn’t have to go through this year alone! As a leader, be thankful for the opportunities you’ve been faced with to serve and uplift others during a strenuous year.
4. A Challenge to Inspire New Ideas
The best ideas often come from desperation. For many business owners, the challenges of the pandemic pushed them to grow in a direction that enhanced their business. These opportunities wouldn’t have come without the struggles we faced. When we reach roadblocks, we’re forced to find new ways around them. Challenges are necessary to continue a trajectory towards growth.
If nothing changes, nothing changes. When we’re not faced with challenges, we become stagnant and stop expanding. As business owners, we should see challenges as a necessary and beneficial part of the process. While this year brought many provocations, it didn’t go without important lessons and education.
5. Making it Through Another Year
According to statistics, only about 80% of businesses make it through their first year. This might seem surprisingly high but from there, the number falls sharply. Only about 50% of small businesses make it to the 5 year mark, and only about 1 in 3 make it to the 10 year mark. Needless to say, business is hard! If you made it through another year of business, that’s worth a celebration!
On top of the anticipated challenges most business owners face, 2021 also presented an array of its own hardships—creating new systems, the need for new technology, shifting roles, changing offices, and more. This year was no small feat, and deserves to be accounted for. Take note of all of the small hurdles you passed this year, and celebrate another year of your hard work paying off!
It can be easy to get overwhelmed by all of the negativity in our day-to-day life. However, we have the choice to let the bad overtake us, or to rejoice in all the little victories we experience in daily life. Make an effort to practice gratitude, and more goodness will follow.
Life rewards those who look to find the silver lining. Whether this year proved to be your best or worst year on paper, there’s plenty to be thankful for. Look around you and count your blessings, this practice can multiply the success of your business ten-fold!
This Thanksgiving season, take some time in your Mastermind group to express gratitude. Ask each member what they’re grateful for, and don’t let it be a surface-level kind of conversation. Living in gratitude will help you and your group to enjoy the present and think more clearly about the future.
Check out The Mastermind Playbook for more ways to improve your group’s cohesion and trust.