When Chris Utterback and I met, we were both at the beginning of new enterprises. After she moved to Connecticut and I to Minnesota, we kept in touch via regular and enthusiastic phone calls, but we missed spending time together.
When I began teaching in adult ed, the first out of town location I added to my repertoire was Hartford. Besides beginning to expand my business, those trips paid me to make regular visits to Chris. Eventually, I added Providence and Boston to my teaching travels so I spent even more time with my friend who designated her guest room as Barbara's Bedroom.
Although we were raving fans for each other's businesses, when we were together we spent much of our time visiting friendly shopkeepers in the area. Our conversations with each other were always about noticing and appreciating the creative work of others. While we thought we we encouraging entrepreneurs, we were also strengthening our own entrepreneurial spirits.
Appreciating creativity in action seems to be a regular activity for successful entrepreneurs. Not only do they appreciate their customers, they appreciate others who inspire.
When we habitually look for things to appreciate, it extends to our own journeys in the healthiest possible way. I was reminded of this a few days ago when I was scouting through some back issues of Winning Ways and came across something I'd written for the tenth anniversary of my newsletter. It said:
The past ten years bear almost no resemblance to the decade that came before them. In 1986, I had never used a computer or received email. I had never been to New York, Toronto, Washington DC, Seattle or Greece. I hadn't met most of the people that I now talk to on a regular basis.
The number ten showed up in other ways as well. In the past ten years I have:
√ Increased Winning Ways subscribership tenfold
√ Made ten trips to Europe
√ Gained ten pounds
√ Created ten major projects
√ Flown enough miles on one airline to circle the globe ten times
Taking time to appreciate our own journeys and milestones is also important.
Why not declare August as Appreciation Month? See how many people, places and ideas you can add to your own list. Make it an active, not passive, project. Send yourself a card of appreciation. Let people you encounter know about the big and small ways that they enhance your life. Treat it as a spiritual practice.
It's a power tool that can not only help you build your business, it can also expand your happiness. It's another practice that can lead you to becoming Absolutely Brilliant.