Just the other day I had someone ask if I had a vision board. It got me thinking – wow, have we really cycled back around to late 70’s early 80’s motivational tactics? Don’t get me wrong, I get the power of a vision board; but, is it really powerful without knowing your “why?” I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have a vision board. Not that I have no vision, it’s just that the vision I have is something that doesn’t pin up nice and neat on a cork board next to my iMac.

I did an exercise and Googled “vision board” and I got a bit sick to my stomach. The reason for my stomach turning event was that almost all the vision boards were centered on self (and material things) and few were focused on others. After seeing the volume of vision boards online, I asked myself – “Do I need a vision board? Am I the only businessman that doesn’t have a vision board?” Then it struck me. I have something way more powerful than a vision board – I have a gratitude list. In the “me-centric” world we live in where Madison Avenue has promoted the concept of “me first,” I realized that my gratitude list is way more important and powerful than a self centered vision board. The reason, my gratitude list contains all the things I’ve been blessed with, not things I am striving to obtain. The Googling exercise got me thinking even deeper about the subject and I came to an even stronger epiphany – the items on my gratitude list are real and valuable intangibles; they are the things I value the most in my life and make me who I am (unlike the Ferrari or mansion on a vision board I would “wish for”).

An example of the “gratitude list mindset” at work came from the most unlikely of places. Recently, at one of the IGNITE Development Group meetings I attend, we were trying to find a way to measure the value of the group and how it was affecting the Members and their businesses in a positive way. We looked at other business development / networking groups and saw many of them using value measurements based on what was given, not on what was received. Through the input of the IGNITE Members our W.I.C.S. (Wins, Ideas, Connections & Social Interactions) Value Board was created. The W.I.C.S. Value Board changed the “give to gain” paradigm considerably. Instead of the IGNITE Members stating what they gave (or were going to give) to another Member, they had to think about what they were grateful for FROM the Members of the group. I was in love with this concept instantly since it so closely mirrored the purpose of my gratitude list. In our trial run of the W.I.C.S. Value Board, we noted 36 tangible (monetary) and intangible measurements of gratitude between the Members – all of which took place in a matter of two weeks between our meetings. The Members were able to express their gratitude to other members rather than focus on themselves. It took some time for the Members to shift their mindset from ego-driven giver to grateful receiver.

Here is a partial look at my gratitude list. Notice how many of the things I’m grateful for are intangibles:

  • My loving and supportive wife
  • My beautiful, healthy, smart daughter
  • My amazingly supportive and caring parents
  • The blessing of having fiercely loyal friends
  • Waking up another day
  • My health
  • Having been blessed with a good education
  • Living in the United States
  • Living in the year 2017
  • Having food on my table
  • Having a roof over my head
  • Having clothes
  • The freedom and opportunity to do what makes me happy
  • Having the opportunity to serve others and make their lives better
  • The gift of being able to see how connecting others can grow into lifelong friendships and business opportunities
  • The blessing of amazing business colleagues
  • The blessing of loyal and trusted clients

Keep your vision board; but, I challenge you to create your gratitude list. Take some reflective time and ask yourself “What are the intangibles I am most grateful for?” Look at your gratitude list as much as you do your vision board (my gratitude list is the background on my computer) and you will start to realize that you may already have all that you need to consider yourself successful.

I can summarize this article with one quote from Ben Franklin “If you desire many things, many things will seem few.” Things come and go, but you can never have enough love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, kindness, self control and faithfulness.