What Need Do You Fill?

The sole reason a business exists is because it meets a human need. ~Harvey Firestone

I saw this quote over the weekend and it got me to thinking, again, about what human need a box of cookies fulfills. Yes, we’ve been over this before. That Gratitude Cookies are not so much about the cookie part and much more about the concept of gratitude.

Is feeling gratitude an actual need? It’s not specifically on Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, but friendship, giving and receiving love, and recognition are on his chart. Feeling connected to others is certainly a human need. And expressing appreciation is one important way to connect.

Keith Ferrazzi was on Good Morning America today, promoting his new book “Who’s Got Your Back” and his 16-city road show. He said that 75% of Americans don’t feel that someone’s got their back; not even married couples. Wow, that’s a lot of disconnected people. Furthermore, he says that the most important thing you can do to succeed is to build deep and trusting relationships.

So then, if you could create stronger connections in your personal or profession life and satisfy that need in yourself and for others, why wouldn’t you? You have a great opportunity here! No matter what other human need your business exists to fulfill, you can improve your business by addressing this one of connection and recognition through gratitude.

Quick Change in Perspective

I just left Starbucks, where I was to meet with a new business contact. In South Florida, there seems to always be a traffic delay somewhere, so I usually give people 10 minutes before I call to find out where they are. Coming up on the 9-1/2 minute mark, my phone rang. It was the person I was to meet and she asked if I was there. I knew right away she was going to say she wasn’t coming; I was mentally preparing for some kind of lame excuse, since that’s what usually comes next.

I was not prepared for her to say her dad died on Sunday and she’s in Chicago. Immediately my perspective changed from “doesn’t this person respect my time” to “holy cow, don’t even worry about not meeting with me you have so many more important things to do”! I’m surprised and grateful she even thought to call me – she said she doesn’t know why our meeting just popped into her head right then.

One of my mentors told me a story years ago, about some rowdy kids on the subway early one morning. The man riding with them was doing nothing to control their behavior and a fellow rider was becoming increasingly annoyed. After a while, the fellow rider finally caught the man’s attention. The man quickly apologized for his children’s activity and explained that they’d all spent the night at the hospital where their mother had just died. The kids were full of anxious, fidgety energy.

Talk about a turnaround in perspective.

It only takes an instant to change your perspective. So whether it’s from annoyance to compassion or from frustration to gratitude, see if you can find what serves your higher good in every situation.

Can’t believe I’m writing this

I had a strategy call with my coach and mentor this morning. Fabienne always speaks her truth, what she’s seeing or feeling, and sometimes it’s hard to hear. She always asks permission before sharing, and really, who wouldn’t want to hear what could be a great revelation? Still, even when you know it’s for your own good, it can sting. So what she called me out for is not living in gratitude.

Deep breath here.

My business is all about gratitude, saying thank you, showing appreciation in your business and personal life. The Gratitude Cookie™. Hello?!

But I’m not personally living in gratitude. I have my moments for sure. And then there’s the rest of the time. The time I spend wondering where the money is. Where are more clients? Why do I not have a multi-million dollar business yet?

Rachael Ray featured Zen Crunch as Snack of the Day on her talk show last month. Everyone who knows about that thinks it’s an incredible achievement! My gratitude for that lasted about five minutes before I was looking for the next opportunity.

Nothing has been enough and I always need more.

So I haven’t been living authentically. That’s why everything has been so hard. Are you laughing at me, or does this resonate with you too?

Fabienne and I talked about how I can change that – continuing my meditations and working out at the gym, and journaling more consistently. There are some other changes I’m making too, that I’ll share in time.

Right now, I’m committing to live in gratitude for everything, even when it feels foreign. Care to join me in the adventure?

Seasonal Gratitude

Before we close out 2008, I had to write one end of the year post. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for the past several weeks.

Throughout November and December, I’ve been receiving emails and reading articles all over the place about the importance of gratitude during this holiday season. I’m sure you’ve seen them too. Gratitude and appreciation are the “in” things this time of year.

However, gratitude and appreciation are really important throughout the year too. Research shows being grateful everyday improves health, keeps you happier and strengthens relationships.

I encourage you to resolve that in 2009, you’ll acknowledge and express more gratitude, even for small things. Connect more regularly with the people you value – in your business and personal life – and let them know what they mean to you.

Best wishes for a healthy, prosperous and fun new year!

The Power of Authenticity

The guest column in Jeffrey Gitomer’s ezine this week was written by Andrew Corbus and Bill Guertin. Their main point was that consumers are tired of hype and empty promises. What’s working in marketing now is authenticity. Of course authenticity in terms of keeping promises and delivering what you say you will has always been essential to business success. But these guys are talking about sharing your “story” with your audience and communicating on a more personal level. It’s your story that differentiates you from everyone else.

In the article, they say, “When you become Authentic, you and your business become more interesting. You get much better at starting conversations. You learn how to bridge your personal experiences with your sales message. You stay focused on the attributes of the brand that meet your customers’ needs. And you become more successful at whatever it is you do.”

I believe this is true. It’s a matter of communicating with your clients in a way that benefits them. Give them useful information and stay in touch regularly. The only way to have an authentic relationship, whether business or personal, is to communicate consistently. When you do that, you will no doubt see all kinds of success.