Is Your Gratitude a Blessing, or an Excuse?

This is a week in the States where we’re supposed to feel grateful for all we have. And compared to most of the world—not to mention all the people who lived in generations past—we have much to be grateful for. But while gratitude is a virtue, it can also be an excuse for not giving the world all the fullness of your deepest gifts.

The Power of Dreams

One of the things I do everyday is talk to people about their dreams. But for all the talk we give to our dreams most of us don’t go after them.

We tell people we want to do more of the work we love, have a bigger impact on the world, and spend more time with our families. But we rarely go after these dreams, wholeheartedly.

We tell ourselves this isn’t the way the world works. That we’d have to give up our peace and quiet, our time, and our security to go after what we want. We tell ourselves we should just be grateful for what we have. We don’t want to get greedy and lose the idyllic lives we’ve created.

But using gratefulness as an excuse to play small serves no one.

Sometimes people tell me that they really want to do something different. They want create a whole new role at their company, or make their side hustle their main gig, or become a full-time coach, or show up to work as their whole and real selves. But that they can’t ever seem to get there because they start feeling like it’s too greedy.

They say, “I just keep thinking that things aren’t that bad right now, that I’m already pretty successful, and I realize maybe I just need to be grateful for what I’ve already got.”

And they’re right, they should be grateful. But you don’t have to stop having a big vision or a powerful intention in order to be grateful. Coming from a place of lack is the foundation of the greed you’re trying so hard to avoid.

If you want to do something truly different, something truly revolutionary on this day of gratitude, you can learn how to take a foundation of deep gratitude and use it to create something truly extraordinary.

How to Create from Gratitude

First, spend a few minutes feeling how deeply grateful you feel for everything you have. Feel the gratitude for the amazing people in your life, the bounty of your possessions, your access to boundless information, and all of the hard-fought lessons you have learned. Remember that you are living in a heavenly realm (even in hard times) that most people in the world and throughout time would kill to have.

Next, as you feel this gratitude deeply in your heart, expand your awareness to hold your desire to create something even more extraordinary. See your vision for a better world where you get to do more of what you love, have an incredible impact on those around you, and get to experience more love, depth, and wisdom every single day.

Feel the guilt of wanting more. The need to make this moment bad in order to want this different future. Feel the guilt of wanting while also feeling your deep satisfaction with this moment.

Don’t let the guilt of gratitude squelch the powerful intention of your purpose.

Yes, you’ve built a successful company and/or career. Yes, you have an incredible family and lovely spouse. Yes, you’re very lucky for the home you live in. But you also see how it can be better, how you can be better, and how there’s more power and potential lying dormant inside of you right now.

Use your gratitude not as an excuse to just tolerate things as they are, but as fuel to go after what you want. Not from a place of lack. But from a place of setting a clear intention and in willingness to feel the guilt of getting what you want.

A Revolutionary Way to See

Leading from this place is almost unheard of. A leader who is driven by the ambition for depth, for a big heart, and for creating a business and life that is the expression of their deepest consciousness and calling is very rare.

This week, as you feel grateful, don’t forget to be grateful for the thing inside you that drives you towards truth, depth, and love. Because it’s this drive that makes it possible for you to lead in a way few people in world are willing to, and to create a world that is better for you and everyone you love.

Love, Toku

PS: If you’re looking for a really cool new thanksgiving holiday tradition, I can’t recommend Seth Godin’s Thanksgiving Reader enough. It’s a wonderful tool for creating an incredible Thanksgiving.