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What do Hurricanes and Gratitude have in common?

By September 4, 2023September 18th, 2023No Comments

It’s no secret, that I’m a pink-wearing, champagne-drinking, luxury-loving, stiletto-wearing, girly-girl, so when Hurricane Idalia (let’s call her a mean girl) made an unwelcome visit to Tampa, I decided to approach the whole situation with gratitude and grace.

After all the safety preparations and checking in on loved ones and clients impacted by her visit, I chose a ridiculously lavish, (some would say frivolous), mandatory evacuation strategy complete with my gratitude journal, champagne, eye patches, Apple products, Vogue — and I even blow-dried my hair!

I can hear you rolling your eyes, and raising your eyebrows. I found solace in the little items of luxury (listed below). These allowed me to feel more in control and bring beauty into a stressful situation, and, of course, I had grand plans of sharing them at an impromptu pajama soiree hosted at a friend’s safe haven (a factory immune to the flood zone).

Planning a strategy with the things that bring me joy and peace was part of that. I couldn’t control what she’d do; I could control how to deal with her mean-girl tendencies.

Can you relate? Sometimes, you choose something that seems ridiculous to others — but makes sense to you. More on that later…

A Port In A Storm

Hurricanes are like a cosmic wake-up call, reminding us of our humanity. They are unpredictable, uncontrollable, and unforgiving. Destruction and uncertainty of where they will hit and how much damage they will create, cause an emotional rollercoaster from fear and anxiousness to relief and gratitude.

We are beyond grateful she spared our neighborhood and sad to see how she devastated other parts of Florida and Georgia. Her impact will be felt for years to come. If you want to help, you can donate to the Red Cross here.

Storms, whether they are brewing in the sky or brewing in life, show us who and what really matters. You also note who lights up your life (and your phone) with messages of care and concern. If you messaged me, I did see it and appreciate you. It was beautiful, thank you.

For me, the beauty in those messages was a port in a storm of uncertainty. Beauty is essential to me. Not glamor, beauty. Think fresh flowers, nature’s color palette, the harmony of music, a contagious smile, and the zen of a well-organized home. These luxuries make my heart skip a beat and bring me joy.

The day before Idalia visited, I was keynoting in Palm Beach, at the prestigious National Florida Experience for Smart Meetings (check out the fun pics below); I enjoyed sharing how our Luxury Mindset research helps elevate every meeting experience. These wonderfully talented meeting professionals and industry partners then shared their thoughts and definitions of luxury with me. Their brilliant minds shared words like the luxury of time, freedom to choose, exclusivity, authentic connections, and pure beauty. They are so right.

Now, I know that luxury, as a word, can be divisive to some and delightful to others. One of the words that respondents associated the most with luxury in our research was “indulgent,” and that’s certainly something that you don’t typically associate with hurricane preparations.

But whether it is in your own life, the meetings you plan, or the environment you cultivate in your organization, or the experiences you craft for your clients, the attention you pay to create the experience of Everyday Luxury can make everyone’s day that much better.

Need more ideas? watch this 3 minute video on our new Luxury Mindset channel on YouTube. Some suggestions might surprise you!

We can all agree attention is about connection.

Imagine how much deeper your connections can be if you invest time starting with yourself. I know that might feel like a luxury to you, but in our book, Attention Pays, we share that it is INTENTION that makes ATTENTION valuable.

Attention and intention are NOT luxuries; they are necessities.

Let’s not forget that the hurricane metaphor extends beyond meteorology. Life doesn’t need to be stormy to remind us of the treasures in cherishing everyday moments with the people you care about in the corridors at work or the comfort of your home. As leaders, we have a responsibility to create environments that are safe, caring, and collaborative and allow our team’s productivity and creativity to flourish.

How to Elevate Your Everyday Morning Routine

“How you start your day is how you live your day. How you live your day is how you live your life”. Louise Hay

What you may not know about me is I have a very specific morning routine. I do the same things in the exact order, regardless of whether I am at home or in a hotel. This simple system allows me to pay attention to the most important goals in my life — before any possible distractions of the world around me. Your creative brain is most attuned when you first wake.

As a crazy-early morning riser (I have the cutest furry little alarm clock, my 2-year-old Ragdoll, Harley), I love the quiet when the world is still asleep, and everything is dark.

Mornings begin with fresh lemon juice in water, vitamins, eye patches, using a weird Gua Sha, KoMatcha, and writing in my gratitude journal (it’s champagne color, so you can imagine even that brings me joy).

Then I move my body, meditate, and open my phone — and you can imagine the rest of my day.

Three non-negotiable M’s every day: matcha, movement, meditation.

I sit peacefully and cozy (and look a little ridiculous), starting the day by answering the questions in my gratitude journal (before I touch my phone or open my laptop).

I used to think journaling was for people with too much time on their hands. It seemed woo-woo weird to me. Can you relate? Now, I wouldn’t start a day without it. Trust me on this one.

One of my financial services CEOs shared that this simple action has allowed him to start his day with a more positive focus and provides a peaceful start before he starts his meetings or opens his email. He was skeptical at first, but now his entire executive team is practicing a few minutes each morning and feeling more present with their teams each day. He’s even noticed less conflict in early morning meetings and email communication.

Dr Robert Emmons, a leading scientific expert on gratitude, says, “Being grateful is a choice, a prevailing attitude that endures and is relatively immune to the gains and losses that flow in and out of our lives. When disaster strikes, gratitude provides a perspective from which we can view life in its entirety and not be overwhelmed by temporary circumstances.”

I agree with him.

The benefits of gratitude have been linked to healthier immune systems, lower blood pressure, deeper sleep, more compassion, less fear, feeling more alert and alive, and more optimism and happier hearts.

As a naturally positive (some say painfully positive), I learned this from my mum; she always role-modeled a positive mindset (even through her recent excruciating cancer treatment last year).

One of my brilliant friends reminds me, “It’s not what happens to us, it’s what we make that mean.” He’s right. I’d add, we can choose gratitude.

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