Over two weeks ago I introduced a new habit into my daily routine. Sometimes it’s the simplest changes/additions that make the biggest difference. I think part of me has always expected big change to be a struggle, so it’s always a little disconcerting when huge shifts in consciousness happen so effortlessly. This is a habit that I’ve read about continuously over the years. I tried it several times in the past, but I never stuck with it. Then a couple of weeks ago I read the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (affiliate link).
This was a game-changing book for me. In it, Carol Dweck talks about the difference between people with the growth-mindset and those with a fixed mind-set. I realized that my resistance toward really sticking to these habits — that expert after expert quite passionately stressed would change my life — was indicative of my belief that I could not change and that putting in all this effort wouldn’t make a difference. I was comfortable with the mindset that I had already.
Changing the way I thought would mean changing the person that I am, and if I could no longer cling to labels like insecure, introvert and struggling artist, what could I cling to?
If I really and truly committed to changing the way I thought and changing the words I associated with my identity, how could I make sense of myself?
Despite my fears (and after listening to a podcast that I mention at the end of this post) I decided that I was going to go for it. So, I went to Chapters, I picked up a blank notebook (it had butterflies decorating the cover), and on October 3rd I made my very first entry in my very first gratitude journal. I know it sounds incredibly cheesy, but things actually started happening pretty quickly after that.
How to practice gratitude? Since October 3rd, everyday I have found the time to write down three things that I’m grateful for. These things have ranged from the big to the small. On Oct 10th I was grateful to find a seat in a packed coffee shop. On Oct 11th I was grateful that my new roommates took time out of their day to help me set up my bed from Ikea (Carly even made Morgan and I lunch!).
By taking the time to practice gratitude (because it is a practice), I have learned a lot about myself as a person and as an artist. I’ve come to appreciate the people and the experiences in my life in a new way. I’ve found that I’m a lot less likely to get upset about events that I can’t control, and that I’ve become more able to find the positive in everything. It’s even helped me to rework (or at least start to rework) my relationship with success.
The Day That Everything Went “Wrong”
Last Tuesday, two things that I had planned for didn’t end up happening. In the morning I had planned to go to the Women in Film breakfast with my friend Sarah. I had told her about it, and we had showed up (both very excited) at the coffee shop that would be hosting the event. When we got there, we found out that I had misread the date on the website, and that it was actually being held on the following Tuesday. I felt annoyed at myself, and guilty for getting Sarah up this early for nothing. We were both disappointed, but since we were there, we decided to get a coffee and use the opportunity to catch up. An hour and a half later we were still talking passionately about topics like love, film, and feminism. I left feeling incredibly inspired, and grateful that a silly error had meant that Sarah and I had had an opportunity to talk and get to know each other even better.
Later that day, I had a photo shoot for new headshots with a local photographer. I packed my bag with the clothes I had recently bought, caught a bus, and made my way to the studio. When I knocked on the door, no one was there. I checked my e-mail and realized that although we had chosen this date, we had never actually officially confirmed it. I waited for another 10 minutes, and then wheeled my bag out the door feeling a little silly and (for the second time that day) very disappointed.
When I was about half way home, my phone rang. I picked up the phone and it was the photographer! He apologized for the mix-up and asked me if I wanted to meet up for coffee and discuss the shoot. I got off the bus, and he went out of his way to meet me on Main and Broadway. We ended up chatting for over an hour, and not just about the shoot. We really hit it off, and he even offered his services if I ever needed them for the magazine I manage. Wow! We rescheduled the shoot for the following Tuesday.
Now, instead of shooting my new headshots with a stranger, I am going to be shooting them with someone who not only knows who I am, but even believes in me and wants me to succeed. I am INCREDIBLY grateful.
An Attitude of Gratitude: A Reflection
Everyday I’m finding more and more things to feel grateful for. I feel a sense of control and power when it comes to my life and my experiences. It’s not just that I have the power to decide how I’m going to react to every situation, but I feel like this attitude of gratitude is actually attracting the kinds of people and experiences that it’s easy to experience gratitude for. I strongly believe in vibrations, and I believe that this habit is helping to raise my own personal vibration to a very different frequency. I’m changing my mindset, and although it’s incredibly scary and disorienting, it’s also the most empowered that I’ve ever felt. My gratitude habit is also helping me to stay grounded and aware of all the good that is in my life. I look forward to filling out my journal every morning.
“Abundance is a state of being/consciousness that comes from gratitude. Appreciating and acknowledging everything that is good in your life will move you toward this state of abundance.”
This was something that I heard on The School of Greatness Podcast (my favourite podcast), episode 54: 10 Principles of Abundance and Prosperity to Enhance Your Business and Life with Chris Lee. I listened to this podcast immediately before making the decision to start my gratitude habit. Check out this episode. It really has made such an enormous difference in my life.
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned the words that I had previously identified with (insecure, introvert, and struggling artist). As I continue to do the work of shifting my mindset, I’ve started to introduce some new words to my sense of self. Those words are leader, brave, and compassionate (both toward myself and others).
Head shots are tomorrow! I’ll be writing a post about the shoot as well as an update on my creative writing habit next month. Thank you for reading.
I really encourage you to introduce a gratitude habit into your own life. It doesn’t cost anything to do, and it takes almost no time at all. Like I said at the beginning of this post: sometimes it’s the simplest habits that make the biggest difference. Try it, and share your stories! I’d love to hear them.
Latest posts by Christine Bissonnette (see all)
- A conversation about belonging at the Vancouver Writer’s Fest - October 28, 2015
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