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Ania Kubicki is President Elect of NAWBO and a force in business and for doing good. I am grateful she is in my life as a friend, colleague and leader. I give thanks for her involvement as she shines the light on the future of our worthy organization. Here is her thoughts as we approach Thanksgiving and our need for gratitude.Rosaria Cain

 

A guide to gratefulness for busy humans: where to find inspiration and practice gratitude if you’re not on a monk-like schedule

 

Have you ever envied the life of a monk? On busy days, where double-booked meetings mercilessly ran into each other, unopened mail kept piling on and voicemails filled every last available minute of space left on my phone, I would hastily imagine the beauty of the monastic life. The monks didn’t have to deal with stress, or uncomfortable (but stylish) high-heeled shoes, and they most likely never did push their bladders to the limit as they ran (or probably walked calmly) from one silent meditation to the next. Yes, in those frantic moments between meetings, I would picture the calm energy of what my imaginary monk life could be like. And then …. I would laugh at myself.

As an extrovert, I am powered by people and their energy. The truth is, I thrive in the hustle and bustle, if I have a hole in my schedule, I fill it. Therefore, I am certain that I would 100% fail at being a monk. Instead of imagining something different, I have learned to cultivate an appreciation and deep gratitude for loving what is.

This “loving what is” became a journey that I consciously embarked on and continue to walk. As we launch into Thanksgiving and the Holidays, I’d like to invite you to walk with me. Consider this: feeling grateful doesn't just make you feel good. It also helps — literally helps — the heart.

Taking the time to focus on what we are thankful for and letting that sense of gratitude wash over us is like hitting the reset button for our nervous system. But there is another big reason why I turn to gratitude each day. Did you know that the human brain cannot be in a state of appreciation and a state of fear at the same time? Multiple studies have shown that the two states may alternate but are mutually exclusive. In other words, gratitude is the antidote to fear and worry. When I learned this, I felt like a added a powerful weapon to my arsenal of “how to feel good” tools.

I’m sure you’d agree that we have had enough fear and worry in the last couple of years.

The pandemic made each one of us face uncertainties in our business environments, rethink our strategies, reevaluate our communication protocols and prioritize the pressing needs from our families, friends, and clients. How stressful, right?

Turning to gratitude became my daily practice. Today, I’d like to offer you my top three resources if you feel the stress/fear of the season creeping up:

1) Take a moment to be grateful for NAWBO. Each day that I worry about my business, I take a moment to be thankful for the friends that I made through NAWBO. No one understands the challenges of a woman business owner like another female entrepreneur. Consider all the resources available to us through NAWBO! From education to inspiration, whatever you need - it’s here. Open the directory and connect with another member. Go to the website and use one of the perks for an exclusive discount. Or watch one of the speakers from the national conference on YouTube and find inspiration to carry you through. I am beyond grateful for the strong leadership of the women who shaped and continue to shape our chapter. I am deeply honored to have your trust to keep building this legacy.

2) Open your contact list on your phone, find three people you haven’t spoken with in a while and send each of them a quick text messages of gratitude. It could be as simple as “thanks for your ongoing friendship” to as profound as the relationship you have with them is.

3) Experience a mind-shift through a TED talk or a great podcast. In my journey, I discovered that it only takes seconds to feel grateful – but the impact of that feeling is lasting. I highly recommend David Steindl-Rast: Want to be happy? Be grateful | TED Talk . Yes, David Steindl-Rast in fact, a Benedictine monk and interfaith scholar, so he most likely had more time to contemplate life than I do. But I make time to listen, and I invite you to do so as well.

The bottom line is that practicing gratitude doesn’t have to take a long time, but it sure does go a long way. As you enjoy family, friends, and all the trimmings this Holiday season, I hope gratitude, and not fear, fills your life.

I think this quote from Jane Goodall sums it all up: “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

It is my hope that together we can make a positive difference in the lives of women entrepreneurs in Phoenix. I am so grateful for each of you and for the way you contribute your talents and resources to our organization. I look forward to getting to know you even better this coming year so that we can continue to build meaningful connections and help each other grow and prosper!

 

Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful season of cultivating gratitude and success!

 

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