Why Gratitude Makes You a Powerful Business Owner with Jen McFarland – Episode 66

Jen McFarland

The attitude of gratitude is a concept that is so rarely talked about but is super beneficial in living your day-to-day life both in the personal and professional sense. In Episode 66 of the Business & Life Conversations Podcast, Jen Mcfarland will help us understand how surrender, gratitude and abundance are all interconnected and how this can benefit our life and business in the most positive and powerful way. She will also share helpful tips on how we can start implementing gratitude in your life and business.

Important Links Mentioned in the Show:

Jen McFarland Website

Women Conquer Business Podcast

Jen McFarland Facebook

Jen McFarland Twitter

Jen McFarland LinkedIn

Business Masterclass – The Ultimate 4-Step Framework for Creating a Sustainable and Profitable Business

Australian Business Collaborative Facebook Group

Finding Balance in Business Women’s Retreat

Angela Henderson Website

Angela Henderson Active Business Facebook Group

Angela Henderson Facebook Business Page

Angela Henderson Instagram

Prefer to read Why Gratitude Makes You a Powerful Business Owner with Jen McFarland? Here’s the transcript:

ANGELA:

You’re listening to the Business and Life Conversations Podcast with Angela Henderson, Episode 66.

Hey there, you’re listening to the Business and Life Conversations Podcast. My name is Angela Henderson and on this show, we talk about improving your business, life or both. By having amazing and rich conversations with brilliant guests who will inspire you and who will give you tips and tricks to help you grow both in life and in business.

Well, hey there amazing people. Welcome back to another episode of the Business and Life Conversations Podcast. As you know, I am your host, Angela, from Angela Henderson Consulting, where I am a Business Consultant helping women in business to develop the foundational framework and strategy they need to grow sustainable and profitable businesses.

Now, for those of you that have listened to the podcast, followed me on socials; some of you listening are probably friends and family, you’ll know that I’m a pretty positive person. Upbeat; some of you have defined me as. Loud; you’ve also defined me as that. I’m always trying to look at the good where I can. But gratitude; gratitude, I didn’t really take much notice to until the last couple of years. 

As some of you know, my grandmother died on Christmas almost two years ago. My brother died last Mother’s Day. A father-type figure who was super important to me died on January 1 this year. And a dear business friend passed away mid-January, too. And it’s really taken these deaths, collectively, for my levels of gratitude to increase. And it’s this gratitude, really, that is, I guess, helped me through my grief in some ways. It’s death that has also helped me look at life with a different lens. And that lens I’m talking about is gratitude. And from this lens of gratitude, things have shifted for me, both personally and in business. 

Now, as also, some of you know, I’m not super woo-woo. And again, I don’t even really know what woo-woo super means. But I don’t do a lot of things with crystals and I don’t do things like that. But it doesn’t mean that I can’t have gratitude, alright? And I think gratitude is a word that has been, I guess, put into this box. So that means woo. And I totally disagree. I think just be you. Be whoever you are. I don’t care what colour you are. Where your background is from. If you woo it up or if you don’t woo it up; the reality of it is, is everyone can embrace gratitude. Gratitude is what will shift things for your life, for your business and for the best. 

And that is why today, I’m thrilled to be talking with Jen McFarland about why gratitude makes you a powerful business owner. And we’re going to chat about surrender and how this impacts gratitude. How gratitude is linked with attitude and abundance. Also going to identify in what ways gratitude helps to make your business powerful. And Jen is also then going to finish up with some beautiful tips on how you can slowly start to implement gratitude into your life and in business. Because it’s something that just, as Jen will talk about, it’s a soft skill. It doesn’t just happen. We actually have to work on it.

But before we jump into this episode, I just want to let you know that this episode is sponsored by my new on-demand business Masterclass, The Ultimate 4-Step Framework for Creating a Sustainable and Profitable Business. In my 60-minute jam-packed Masterclass, you will learn my signature four-step framework for creating a sustainable and profitable business without sacrificing time with your kids, without the overwhelm or without wasting more cash. We’re also going to talk in the Masterclass what the four big business mistakes that everyone in business makes and why they’re keeping you from growing that sustainable and profitable business. And lastly, we’re going to talk about what is working for businesses now and why most of what you’re being taught about growing your business is outdated and wrong. 

To sign up for my on-demand class, head to bit.ly/masterclasswithangelahenderson. And we’ll also pop this link in the show notes. Now let’s get into today’s episode.

Welcome to the show, Jen.

JEN:

Oh, thank you so much for having me.

ANGELA:

Well, thank you. As I was saying before we pressed record, you are over in the United States and is just going into your evening, so I appreciate you taking time off your day to be here.

JEN:

Sure. Yes. It’s awesome. 

ANGELA:

And so, again, we’re just talking about you are over in Oregon, but again, weather; you’re still in summer right now. So everything is going well.

JEN:

Oh yes. That was beautiful here. So it rains all winter long here. And we live for summer. All day; totally, not a cloud in the sky. Beautiful day and my dog is going nuts. He’s ready to go out and play. So it’s awesome.

ANGELA:

I know. Fantastic. Now, before we get into today’s episode, which I’m really excited to talk to you about, I always ask my guest a question. And that one is never; it’s kind of one of those, “Oh, what would the audiences like to know?” Predominantly, my audience is Australian-based. And we don’t know; we hear a lot about America over here, seeing the movies. I mean, I’ve lived over there. But not everyone has even travelled to the United States. So my question to you is; because we do know that Americans love to barbecue, alright? It’s kind of like that whole 4th of July essence. So my question to you; what is your all-time go-to favourite American food?

JEN:

Oh, like all-time? You know…

ANGELA:

Yes. Like, you got twinkies, you got hotdogs, I mean, you guys; you got a lot of really cool stuff. So there’s got to be one that you’re like, “Okay. Either that takes me back to my childhood.” Or, “I love that.” My daughter was telling me the other day, she’s like, “Mom, can you get me a pack of those Peeps?” And I was like, “What do you mean, Chloe?” “Well, on YouTube, Addison has these Peeps. And they’re marshmallow. And they’re bright colours. I’m going to need me some.” And I was like, “Well, we only get those in America. I can’t.” She was like, “I’m going to need you to get some the next time you’re there.” So, you know, even kids kind of picked up on these things. So what’s your all-time go-to American food?

JEN:

Ok. Well, my all-time favourite food are tacos, which is really not American. So I’m going to; that’s why I was like, “Ohhh.”

ANGELA:

The American sausage.

JEN:

I know, right? So, I mean, I’ve been watching a show about tacos on Netflix. I mean, it’s pretty insane. So I actually do like Peeps and people just give me such a hard time about it. Like, “How can you be an adult and like Peeps?” And I like Peeps and hot tamales. And thankfully, they’re made by the same company. So when it comes to candy, it’s the stuff that’s like isn’t super fancy. Like, I’ve actually been; you can tell your daughter this – they have a Peep Museum.

ANGELA:

Oh my goodness. She is going to freak her mind.

JEN:

I know. And it was in Washington DC. And it was super fun. So, yes. I love Peeps. And at that place, they have the hot tamales. So you could get like all these different kinds that you can’t get in the store and all these Peeps you can’t get in the store. I was in heaven and my Mom liked some, too. So I bought us like Christmas ornaments at the Peeps’ store.

ANGELA:

Oh my goodness. That is so classic. That is awesome. And so, for those of you out there listening, Peeps are like; they’re bright colours, like very vibrant purples and pinks and yellows and oranges. I think even greens. And they’re like a marshmallow, is what it comes down to. And at Easter, they make them into like Easter bunnies, little like chicks. And they’re like, again, so they’re really a marshmallow. And the hot tamales, again, are like; it’s like a cinnamon candy. It’s super; you got like regular cinnamon, but it’s got like a kick to it. Not from like a spicy kick. But it just got like a really, like, “Oh, that’s hot on my mouth kick.”

JEN:

Yes.

ANGELA:

And for those Aussies that are out there, candy is equivalent to lollies. So we use the word, “What lolly are you going to take to the movies?” Where back home, in the United States, we would say candies. Just kind of translating there for everyone.

So, the other thing that I’d like to do is not all of my listeners will know who you are, Jen. So if you could just kind of give us a little bit of background about; you told me a really cool journey about you and your husband in; I’m going to mess up the country.

JEN:

Oh, yes. So my husband and I were Peace Corps Volunteers in a country called Kazakhstan, which is a former Soviet country just south of Russia. In The United States, we have a program called The Peace Corps. And it’s like a public service program that you volunteer for. We have some that are domestic and the Peace Corps is where you travel abroad. And they kind of; you just say, “I want to go. And here are my skills.” And then, they match you up with countries where you have skills; where they have spaces; where you can go serve. 

And so, we lived overseas in Kazakhstan for two years and taught English. My husband was in a rock band. I mean, when you’re in Peace Corps, you just kind of do it. And we had a blast. I mean, it’s amazing to go meet people and live and work alongside them for two years. And I think that it’s so much of my trajectory now, just knowing that there’s this whole other world out there and wanting to share it with people. Yes. I think about it all the time.

ANGELA:

So you first started; so let me just back up a little bit. You did your Masters in Leadership. And then, you went over there for a couple of years. And then you’ve come back and settled in Oregon. And so, I guess, obviously, you would have learned so much with being over there. And I’m sure like you said, it stays with you every day. It feeds your soul probably to some degree. And so, I guess, my question is this. What does your day-to-day look like now? What are you up to these days?

JEN:

Sure. Well, actually I got my master’s degree after I came back. 

ANGELA:

So after you came back.

JEN:

After I came back, I got my master’s degree. I worked for ten years in Tech Project Management. And now, today, my day-to-day is, I help women-led business owners take their goals; you work with a business coach and put together your goals and make them execution-able tasks. So like, getting the job done. So it’s like, project management for women-led businesses. So if you have goals that you don’t know what to do with, I help you figure out what to do with them. So those things you’re doing every single day are helping you achieve your biggest goals. 

ANGELA:

Fantastic. And you predominantly work with women, specifically?

JEN:

I do. I work with women and people of colour in my local community.

ANGELA:

Fantastic. And is that more online businesses? E-commerce businesses? Or a collection?

JEN:

It’s a collection. Yes. 

ANGELA:

Fantastic. That’s great. Because again, some of the listeners will want to, again, I always say mini stalk the guests after. So it’s always good; I mean so that they could kind of understand a little bit more about you. 

JEN:

Yes. And that’s cool. Because they can also; I have a podcast, too. So they can find me on there, too.

ANGELA:

And what’s the name of your podcast? Let us know.

JEN:

Yes. Women Conquer Business.

ANGELA:

Dude, fantastic. And we’ll make sure that we have that link in the show notes at the end, also. Now, for today’s purposes, again, we were talking a little bit before we pressed record on here. But there’s something, in my opinion, that we’re missing in business. And I talk; I’ve had a big shift around mindset. But again, around gratitude. And I think people just collectively, in the world of the busyness of our day-to-day life, we’re forgetting about gratitude. But I wanted to, really, today, talk to you about why gratitude makes a powerful business owner. 

But I guess, in order for us to really kind of unpack the gratitude side of things, we must first look at surrendering. Because I know, as we talked about, that when you surrender, this is what allows us to really look at grace and gratitude. So I guess for the purposes of this episode, Jen, I’d like you to start us off by explaining and just defining what does surrender mean for this context of this particular episode?

JEN:

Sure. So surrender, in general, means to give oneself over to something. And it sounds a little scary, right? Like you want to be in control of the process, particularly as a business owner. But being a business owner also means that when you’re doing your level best at something, you also have to accept the outcome because you don’t control everything. So when you make a sales pitch, it’s about understanding when it’s an aligned yes or an aligned no; that you’re good with either outcome. You’re surrendering yourself over to that outcome. And it also means that when things go your way, you celebrate. And then, when it doesn’t, you move on. And it’s simply because you need to surrender to the process and let things happen.

ANGELA:

And surrendering, listen; some people out there might be starting to scrunch up their faces and go, “Woo, I’m not too sure about that,” because surrendering isn’t always easy at all. Do you feel like there’s a time and place to surrender? Does this happen? Or is it like kind of projected or planned? And I guess, to accompany that; what do you think are some of the benefits of surrendering?

JEN:

Sure. So first of all, surrendering isn’t the same as relaxing.

ANGELA:

Yes.

JEN:

And it doesn’t mean like you’re not working hard. So, it means that you’re working hard and then letting go of the things that you can’t control. And there’s freedom in surrender. And there’s also grace in surrender. Because in that space of surrendering is where you find things like self-awareness. Like, “Oh. That didn’t go well. Let me reflect on why that happened.”  Or self-love; like, “Oh. That went really well. I must be really good at speaking or leading a team or making sales calls.” Right? So there’s teamwork and collaboration in surrender because when you don’t feel like you have to do everything, you’re surrendering part of what you’re doing to your team. Or you’re surrendering it to your VA. Or you’re surrendering it to whatever that process is.

ANGELA:

And with surrendering, I guess, that feeling of, I guess, freedom; I guess that’s a big word to use. But there’s probably almost like a heaviness that is released from; like you’re not wearing all the burden anymore.

JEN:

Absolutely. I mean, that’s what gives you the space for things like grace. Like, you’re granting yourself the kindness of resting and being present. And then saying, “Okay. This is where we are today. What’s next?” And then being okay with that.

ANGELA

And do you think; like for you, for example. Have you always been open to surrender?

JEN:

No. 

ANGELA:

No:

JEN:

I’m not going to lie. But I will say that; and we talked about this a little bit before we hit record that probably the biggest moment of my life, which was the moment when I said, “I want to be an entrepreneur,” happened when I had finally let go of this job that I was not aligned with anymore. And finally saying, “You know what? I don’t care how much money they’re paying me. I don’t care about all the security. I don’t care about any of that. Whatever happens next, I’m not going to be homeless. I’m going to be great. But I have to make room. I have to make space for this next thing to happen.” 

And then, it did. And it was really beautiful. And I think that that was when I started to really realize how important surrender is as part of it. Is that letting go of saying, “Okay. That isn’t working for me.” Like, in this example, that’s how it is. And then, you’re realizing, “Oh. Okay. Well, there’s all these other opportunities that I couldn’t see because I wasn’t allowing myself to see it. Because I hadn’t just sort of handed it over to what could be a possibility for next.”

ANGELA:

And I think that’s important about the possibility for next, right? Is that sometimes, we’re so engrossed in the day-to-day that we forget about the bigger picture. And sometimes, I think, because of that, and that lack of surrender, we’re at; that’s why I believe a lot of people continue to play small, right? Is that, it’s just like, “I can’t do this,” or “I can’t do this.” And it is whatever that story or that belief that’s going on for them. But it’s like, that lack of surrender is actually what’s holding that true potential back.

JEN

I think that’s 100% true. And I think it’s that, and I think that when you are; how do I? I don’t know how to say this. But when you’re really hard on yourself, all the time, and you’re just playing that out over and over and over again, right? Then, you’re not making space for all the things that you are good at. And if you’re not thinking about all of the good things and you’re just focused on the bad things, then that’s all that you begin to see.

ANGELA:

100%. And it starts to get clouded.

JEN:

Yes. And so, if you look back on the things that may have been great successes, you’re like, “Oh, I hated that,” you’re not looking back on all of the great successes. And then you’re not seeing the potential opportunities ahead. And I think that that’s where kind of surrendering is linked to things like gratitude because when you appreciate the journey that you have been through and you’re grateful for what is going on, then surrendering is just kind of that act of self-love. It’s about giving yourself that grace. It’s about seeing the good. And I’m not going to be Pollyanna, but it means that like, even when something bad happens, there’s still something good in even your worst day. And it’s about teasing that out because that’s how you can continue.

ANGELA:

And I know, in the introduction to this, I talked about the essence of gratitude. And in the last, almost two years, like I talked about in the intro is that my Grandmother died on Christmas, my brother died on Mother’s Day. A father-like figure died on January 1. And then, we had a good business friend died in mid-January this year also. And it was through, again, let’s say surrender, grief; probably combination of things though. But it was almost; as sad as it’s been, it is allowed the opportunity to really hone in on being grateful for a variety of things.

Like, I remember even lying in bed this morning. Chloe walked in with this fluffy robe that she like insisted on getting. It’s like this anyway, is just this robe. And she’s like, the first thing she does in the morning is put this robe on and she prances around the house. And I remember talking to myself today, “Okay. Yes, I’m tired. But I’m grateful.” Like, she makes me smile, right? That robe cracks me up every single day. I wouldn’t have noticed that probably two years ago. It just would have been a normal morning, right? So there’s something to be said about that surrendering; what it looks like. And being able to be; still express forms of gratitude even in the darkest of times.

JEN:

Yes. Absolutely. I mean, I can’t imagine everything that you’ve been through. That’s just; it just sounds awful. And yet, at the same time, yes, seeing the little things and realizing that; how the robe or that the sun is still shining. Or that, you get to take a hot shower. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, I didn’t even get to take showers a lot. So I still am grateful of things like a warm shower. And looking at those little things, and it begins to snowball, right? And if you look even at those relationships for the people that we’ve lost, because we’ve all lost people far too soon.

ANGELA:

Totally.

JEN:

It’s about looking at all of the good things about that relationship and about that person because that’s what the focus on instead of death. There’s the loss but the grace is in; the kindness that they showed us in the relationship that we had and the love that they showed that we can then take and pay forward to others. 

ANGELA:

100%. And with that, I guess, similar to one we’re defining surrender, though. Because sometimes, people, and I don’t know what it is. I think I thought about it, too, is like you think the word gratitude or gratefulness or whatever, I think people start to go a little bit like, “Oh, we’ll start a borderline woo here. Like, that’s a bit woo out there for me.” And listen, most people know, because of my scientific background, being a trained Mental Health Clinician, I’m very driven by data and clinical and this, that. However, I don’t even look at the form of gratitude as woo. I’m just like, it’s just part of making the world a better place. Making your world a better place. Making the people around you a better place. Because the world needs more gratitude. Because when there’s gratitude, there’s kindness and there’s brightness and there’s happiness, right? And I think if we are able to practice that a lot more, I think people wouldn’t be so down in the dumps. Especially in our first world countries where technology is taking over so many of people’s lives, right?  So I guess, for the purposes of this, how are you defining gratitude?

JEN

Gratitude is really simple. It’s just the quality of being thankful, right? It’s very simple but not always easy, right? As kids, we were always taught to like respect our elders and say thank you and please and everything. But so many people kind of lose that as adults. It’s more about getting things done or showing results, right? 

ANGELA:

Yes.

JEN:

And the act of gratitude, I mean, look, I’m not 100% woo either. I have a master’s degree in Leadership. I’m interested in what the data says about things like self-awareness and gratitude. And I will tell you that they’ve done research. And gratitude isn’t simply a soft skill if you will. They found that teams and workplaces where people are shown gratitude and where the focus is on accomplishment and what has been achieved are more likely to pay it forward, meaning, there’s like a social benefit to a company and they achieve better. 

So being grateful and sharing in all of the good and in continuing to pay that forward has not only societal benefits but it will help you and your business because people want to work with people who are happy. People want to work with people who are grateful. People will run into the fire with you if they feel like they’re appreciated. Like you cannot tell someone that you’re grateful for them or thankful or that they did a great job and not smile. You can’t hate and show gratitude in the same breath. And so, it is about kind of that transformational thing that it’s a soft skill, but it’s actually something that we can research and we can take from that. It doesn’t work if it’s fake. But it does work if it’s genuine. 

And it will help your business. It will help you succeed. And it will help; they found it helps family relationships and business at the same time. Because people who practice gratitude, oftentimes, it starts with yourself. By showing yourself grace, by showing yourself gratitude through something like a gratitude journal or a gratitude jar or sharing with a partner. And then, you begin to see it in more places. And then you find that you’re just sharing it with colleagues and customers and potential customers.

ANGELA

Yes. And I do think that, too. Like, I know, again, when all that stuff happens with the family. It’s one of the things that every night with the kids, the last things we kind of say other than I love you is what are you grateful for today. And sometimes, it’s whatever, right? Like, I just go, I don’t want to project my thoughts on it, right? But, “Oh, I’m grateful for the candy or lollies we had at the movies.” I’m like, “Okay. Well. Alright. You’re kids. That’s probably what you are grateful for.” Right? 

But the essence for me is just trying to get them practising that skill. Because I do think that you’re not necessarily; I think everyone has it in them. But it’s like, again, going to the gym. You’ve got to practice that muscle in order to keep it going and firing off. So for me, is if I can start practising this with the kids now, that by the time they’re adults, I hope that it’s something that’s more ingrained with them and that that’s a skill that they don’t lose.

JEN:

Absolutely. And, yes. I mean, I think it is something that is best when you’re practising it, when you’re modelling it. And then, it’ll be awesome if the next generation just naturally does this. If they’re showing it and then can retain it into adulthood.

ANGELA:

Yes. And I think, yes. So again, that’s why, again, for all those parents out there, you can start with them, too. It’s not just about business. So for business owners though, do you feel business owners who show way gratitude; maybe, maybe not? And can you give us some examples of what showing good gratitude, and potentially even bad gratitude looks like from a business perspective?

JEN:

Sure. I think that we live in a society that, at least in the US, and maybe in other places, seems to worship the hustle. So you push away the gratitude, right? You push away the small wins because you’re always trying to go for that big knock it out of the park. And so, I think people do push it away or they put themselves down because they didn’t meet X revenue goal but they came really close. So it’s like, well, be grateful that you came close. Be grateful that you have a roof over your head. Be grateful that you learn something from the process because we can’t always succeed but we can be grateful for what we’ve learned along the way.

And so, yes. I do think a lot of business owners push away gratitude. And I think that sometimes, it’s what actually leads people to walk away from their business. Or to not succeed or achieve is that they; and I was just talking about this on my podcast. There’s no such thing as an overnight success. And yet, that’s what we see over and over and over again. We don’t see all the failures that had to happen before that “overnight success.” And because we don’t see it, I think, there is sometimes; people have this perception that it’s not happening. But it’s 100% happening and you have to show yourself that grace. You have to look sometimes at your weaknesses and be aware about it so that you can get better.

ANGELA:

Exactly.

JEN:

And you can’t do that if you’re pushing away the good part.

ANGELA:

The good part of it. And I do think, again, that mentality of hustle. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves is that like, “You must hustle. You must work hard.” Or, “You must hustle to like almost the point of exhaustion,” and how that’s impacting on people’s mental health, their marriages, their finances. I talk about it regularly. It is quite disheartening. And like you said, people are more likely to look at their stuff. And I’ve seen this with my own clients and tell these women, “First, if you’re working with me, we’ve got to start making these shifts.” These are quite happy to go, “I didn’t get this done. I didn’t get this done. I didn’t get this done. I didn’t get this done. I didn’t get this done. Oh my God. Everything sucks.” But I’m like, “If you actually wrote down a simple…” One of the things that I try and implement, and that’s not perfect every day. But either I write it or it’s in my head, as you know, again, “But what did I achieve? What am I grateful for that did happen today?” But I think we’re so quick and the mind is so quick to look at the bad that we forget about seeing the good.

Like, actually, I called three follow-up discovery call people. I had a beautiful lunch. I had a conversation with this person. I made a new collaboration with this person. I got two podcasts done. I’m grateful for being able to get that done. And people are like, “Oh, no. I didn’t get anything done today.” But I’m like, “Actually you did.” So what are your thoughts about that?

JEN:

I mean, I agree. And I think that as women, we all do it, right? I think that a lot of times women feel like they have to do all of the things. And then, if there’s one thing that doesn’t get done, then we feel like the whole day was a failure. And I think men feel that, too. It’s just that, a lot of times, women have the pressure of like, “I have kids. I’m being a mom.” Like, we’re wearing all of these hats and we always feel like we have to hold everything together. Like, we’re the glue. And I think that it happens in families. And I think it happens in the business context as well that instead of looking at all of the achievement; like you just listed off all these great things that you’ve done. Why focus on the one thing that you didn’t do? It doesn’t make any sense.

ANGELA:

It makes zero sense.

JEN:

And it doesn’t move you forward.

ANGELA:

In fact, I would say, more times, it’s keeping people that stuckness, right? Like that stuckness, like that heaviness, that fog. Just like that really; the word I can just say is heaviness, right? But it’s just like, “Oh my goodness. But look at all these positive things.” So one of the things that I said; I know we’re going to talk about some of the ways that people can start to embrace gratitude in their everyday life later on. But one of the things that I’ll just say is like, again, write; as much as want, write down a list or think about all the things that you still have to do. If you’re already writing for tomorrow’s list of things that you have to do, write a list of things that you did accomplish. Like, I call it the “Ta-da List.” Like, “Ta- daaa. This is what I did do.” And through that little thing, that little gesture, you’ll start to shift into some of that happiness and gratitude.

JEN:

Dude, I love the “Ta-da List.” I’m going to start doing that and just be like, “Ta-daaa.”

ANGELA:

“Ta-daaa.” But even like when you say, “Ta-da,” you can’t not smile. It’s like fun. Right?

JEN:

Exactly. Yes. It’s about making it fun. And like, as you were talking, I was thinking about this quote, and  I know this stuff all sounds cheesy, but it works.

ANGELA:

Yes.

JEN:

Believe me. It works. But what you appreciate, appreciates. 

ANGELA:

It grows.

JEN:

It grows. And so, what is it that you want to grow? Do you want to sow the seeds of abundance and getting things done and of achievement? Or do you want to continue to go down that road of, “I’m not doing enough. I’m not good enough.” Because people are going to see that. If that’s what you’re focusing on, they’ll see that. And you don’t want that for yourself. You don’t want other people to think about that; to think about you in that way. So it is about making that correlation between what is it that I really want, what are all of these goals. And then, embracing the things that you’ve done to get there. Or start on that journey because, again, there are no overnight successes. This isn’t like super woo. This is about like enjoying the process because there are going to be days that don’t go as well. 

ANGELA:

Some days are not fun.

JEN:

Some days are not fun. And I’m not claiming that they are. But even in the days that aren’t fun, we can pull out a little bit. 

ANGELA:

Yes. And I mean, I’ll give an example. On Monday this week, I’m running Facebook ads for a lead magnet. And so, I won’t disclose the lead magnet just because, again, actually I haven’t spoken to the person who have told me. We’ll go into it in a minute. But, one of the things that happened is this particular gentleman, sent me a thing on Facebook and just said, “Hey Angela. My name is such and such. I see you’re running ads for such and such.” Right? “However, there’s two words you’re using in that ad that are actually trademarked. And you’re infringing on my trademark.”

And I was like, “These two words are universal words.” Right? And I was just like, “What?” But this man was beautiful. Like, genuinely, just beautiful man, right? Like, he sent me the voice message on Facebook. He’s like, “I see we’ve got a bunch of mutual friends. I thought I’d talk to you first so that the legal team didn’t have to message you.” And I was like, “Holy shit.” Like, “What?” Because like again, the two words, most people would just be like, “There’s no way that these words are trademarked.” Right? Like, I genuinely would never have thought these words would have been trademarked. So I was like, “Yes. No worries.”

But again, like, I could have been like super upset. “Oh my goodness. My life is horrible.” But, there is an essence of gratitude. Because I was grateful that he felt that he could reach out to me; that we could resolve this as adults. That again, he validated the friendships and connections that I had in tied with him; that they were worthwhile, to try and resolve it in a different manner, potentially, right? So it’s like, even though I was like initially going, “Oh my God. I’m probably getting sued. What’s going on? I would have never even guessed.” Like, it was just one of those things. But I was so grateful because there’s lessons that I’ve learned from that, too. 

So I was grateful and had that gratitude towards him for what he did. But I was equally grateful to be able to go back and look at the lessons, right? But I had a choice to look at it from that angle. I could have been pissed off at him, “Now, I’ve got to go back and re-change my ads and do a different design and do all this.” But at the end of the day, that’s my responsibility. That’s nothing on him. 

So again, I think you can look at gratitude and how I think gratitude is linked with attitude. And when that; when they’re linked together, I think there’s also a linkage that we’re forgetting is that choice. We all have choices on how we respond to situations. With the majority of people, in my opinion, are missing out on making the choice to look at things through a lens of gratitude.

JEN:

And I agree with that. I think, and that’s where I think the self-awareness piece comes in, right? It’s about understanding, “Look. I have a choice. I can…” In the example that you gave, it’s like, “I can lose my mind on this guy.” Or I can say, “Wow. Thank you so much for telling me. Let me work on that. And I appreciate you. I appreciate the heads up. I appreciate not being sued right away.”

ANGELA:

Yes.

JEN:

You know what I mean? And like, just learn from it and you move on. Equally, the person value the relationships enough and to show his own self-awareness about, “This is something you probably just didn’t know.” Instead of immediately going on the attack. And that’s how it creates more abundance. Because now, when you see this person, you’re more likely to share a laugh or connect with them on some other level because it was a good interaction. Maybe not what you wanted because you’ve been spending money on ads and did all these creative, and yet, it was something that could have gone really bad. And it didn’t. It was just an inconvenience. 

And it’s the same thing about things like happiness. Like, we choose happiness. Now, I’m not talking about like people with mental health issues. That’s a whole different thing when people have depression and anxiety. But in our day-to-day, we could choose whether or not something is going to make us really angry. We can choose happiness and still get the job done without choosing to be working from a place of scarcity or, “I’m going to get mine,” or “Hustle. Hustle. Hustle.” Right? You can work from that place of abundance and I think it just makes your business better.

ANGELA:

100%. And I guess that kind of leads us to the next essence. In your experience, what are your thoughts about; or in what ways, I should say, does gratitude make businesses more powerful?

JEN:

Yes. I mean, and so I think that; well, first of all, I think it breeds success, right? I think that when, for, in the example that you just gave, right? So like when two successful people meet and they have that emotional intelligence or that self-awareness to realize that having positive relationships is more powerful and breeds more success than getting really angry with somebody and going down a rabbit hole, right? So showing gratitude, showing professionalism, having the self-awareness of maybe like knowing who you do best with; what tasks you’re best with, and what things that you need help with, right?

ANGELA:

Yes.

JEN:

Those things are what lead you to make better decisions and be grateful for the people who can cover your blind spots. And so in those ways, gratitude, first of all, breeds success. Second of all,  gratitude brings peace, right?

ANGELA:

Yes.

JEN:

So, I challenge you. I challenge you, Angela. 

ANGELA:

You challenge me. Yes. I’m always up for a challenge.

JEN:

So be really angry and really grateful at the same time. It’s really hard to do.

ANGELA:

It’s almost impossible. 

JEN:

You can’t ever.

ANGELA:

Yes.

JEN:

Right. So when you kind of shift that mindset piece into your gratitude, it actually allows you to be more productive. Because you’re not ruminating on all the stuff that has you upset. And it brings peace and allows you to move on from the good and the bad a little bit quicker. And then, the last one, I guess it sounds kind of woo, but I mentioned it earlier. It’s about what you see is what you get. So if you’re only looking at the things that are bad, you’re going to get more of that because that’s all you’re going to see. 

So if you look at the things that are good and that can be anything. It can be very small things. But whatever you see, you get more of. So if you see an opportunity, you’re going to get more opportunity. If you see the good in others, they’ll see the good in you and it will help you be more successful. And all of these things, all of these doors opening; the peace and the success; those are the elements that make your business more powerful. And ultimately, I think, more profitable. Because you’re going to get more done.

ANGELA:

More done. But again, more opportunities. Like, everything is interlinked together, right? Like, I know, for example, last night I was speaking with someone. One of my goals that I’ve got my vision board is to get to Necker Island one day.

JEN:

Oh, yes.

ANGELA:

With some of the businesses over there. And I was invited last night to go. And it’s one of those things. But because I guess for me, I show gratitude on a regular basis and people see that, right? And the person that invited me last night, I was like, “Oh my goodness.” My husband was like, “Well, how do you think that happened? How did it get there?” And again, if I really have to reflect, it’s about how I’m showing up; how I’m presenting myself. Again, looking at that gratitude and that graciousness. I mean, it’s a combination, right? Like, yes, it’s still my work that got me there. It’s the actions that I chose to take to be able to have this amazing invite to go. 

But it’s still like, again, it comes down to I believe that mindset shift that I was; really happened for me. I think I’ve always been grateful. I’ve always been a positive person. But really, again, doing it repetitively, acknowledging it on a daily basis; sometimes, hourly basis. Whereas, I never really did that because I was too busy to do it. It wasn’t a priority.  But I see that it pays off.

So, I guess, for you and I, we know that really, the reality, the truth is, is that gratitude is everywhere. But, for so many people even listening or in our own families, it’s a missing piece in their day-to-day life. So for those listeners that are out there, can you give us a few ways that business owners, specifically that are listening, can incorporate that gratitude into their day-to-day life and just business, collectively? 

JEN:

Sure. And wow. That’s really awesome. You know the really successful people practice gratitude. They take care of themselves. They practice gratitude. They see abundance and they end up on Necker Island. I think that’s just how it works. 

ANGELA:

The invite is there. Now though, is again, it’s about that going, “Okay. And I just have to find the money.” But I will find the money. But it’s one of those things that again, I’m grateful, alright? I’m super grateful. But I just got to make sure we can find the money. But yes, it’s like a huge opportunity. But for those though out there that are like, “Well how do I start practising this?” Because I do think again, that comes down; I think gratitude is part of that overall mindset. Like, it becomes part; there’s a shift that happens. And it’s not about looking at your externals but you’re going to make some shifts internal. Like, this shit doesn’t just happen. Like, just as much as I’m exercising physically, I’m exercising the gratitude train every single day. So it is something that takes time. 

But for those people that are wanting to start, what are some of the ways that you would be suggesting that business owners could start to being looking at gratitude from a different angle or implementing it into their day-to-day lives. What would your suggestions be?

JEN:

Sure. I mean, I think gratitude really starts with yourself. Especially before you go to be a business leader, business owner and sharing it with others. Certainly, you can share thank you notes and genuine heartfelt thanks for things happening. But in order for it to kind of become a daily practice, there are a couple of different ways you can start. One is to have a gratitude journal and it’s really easy. Like, if you already are doing like bullet journaling or something to kind of keep track of your mental thoughts, is you just add like three things that you’re grateful for in the morning. Because when you start the day off with that, it feels pretty good. And then, three things you’re grateful for maybe that happened during the day in the evening before you go to bed.

ANGELA:

Sure.

JEN:

If you’re not really a journaler, meaning, you don’t want to write all the stuff down; you don’t really do it. One of the things that I’ve done with my husband is we’ll just ask each other for three things that we’re grateful for in the morning every day. Now, the rule with that is you can’t just say the same three things every day. 

ANGELA:

Yes.

JEN:

Right? Because this is an additive process. Like, so you can’t just say, “Well, I really like coffee. I like my husband and my dog.” Like, no. You’re branching out because it’s about kind of seeing that abundance everywhere. It’s about seeing all of the little things and then all of the big things, right? 

ANGELA:

Yes.

JEN:

So those are some ways that you can start kind of doing it at home, right? And kind of surrounding yourself with gratitude. Like, just do little things instead of reading the news. Like, have some positivity in the morning before you get going instead of everything that’s going on in the world, right?

In like a broader context, something you can apply in the workplace or if you’re in an office is something like a gratitude jar. And that can be either virtually done or it can be a physical jar that you decorate. And then, as something good happens, you just put a note in. Like, what that good thing was that happened, right? And that’s really fun with teams, especially, like, when, for example, when I’ve led like large projects; having that. And then, we hit a milestone, and then, we just read them. 

You realize, or somebody is having a tough day; you read them every Friday or whatever. Because it makes that appreciation build and then having that jar sitting right there for you to add to also kind of gives you that, “Oh, okay. It’s not all that bad.” Like, the appreciation; it’s like that whole idea of what you appreciate, appreciates. And you see this jar filling of all the good things. And it kind of takes your mind away from all the bad things.

ANGELA:

And I think you’re being able to see it physically, right?

JEN:

Yes.

ANGELA:

Like you said, there’s a jar. But then like, okay, well, now it’s half full. And now, it’s almost overflowing, right? Like I do you think there’s something to be said to watch, I guess. It’s almost like a flower. You’re planting the seed. You’re watering it a little bit. And then it’s blooming. I mean, the jar really is literally transforming in front of you.

JEN:

Right. And that’s part of the letting go, right? That’s where the surrender comes in. It’s really, “Oh, this day is terrible.” And then you look over and you see this jar filling up and like all the good things. And you’re like, “Oh, okay. Well, maybe it’s not that terrible.” You’re kind of letting go of all that stuff that’s made you angry, right? And then, you have celebrations around it.

You can do it virtually. I never have. But there’s other ways of making gratitude virtual. But I think there’s really something, too, that like writing it down in the journal or like looking your partner in the eye and talking about it or the physical jar piling up. You’re starting to see that progress. But those are a lot of the ways that you can incorporate it into your life and your business.

ANGELA:

Fantastic. And I think again, just choose one. Again, so many times we will try and do everything and then we don’t do anything, right? So again, I’m just like, just choose one. Again, “Ta-da List,” your jar, talking to your partner. Whatever it is that works for you. But just start. Right? Start. And it might only be two days a week. Well, two days a week are better than zero days a week. And then it might go to four days a week.

Like, I too, have had to work to make it a daily practice. It took me time. Whereas, now, I almost feel; angry is not the right word. But I almost feel like, “Oh, I feel like I haven’t started off on the right foot when I don’t do it.” I don’t know how to describe it but it’s just one of those things I feel like something’s missing, right? Like, I’m like, “Oh, why do I feel anxious? What is it?” It’s like, “Oh, Jesus. I haven’t done; I haven’t reflected on this.” So I do think that just by being attuned also with yourself.

Now, one final question. Because again, I like to just kind of wrap it up. And this is something that I’ve just started doing with the past couple of guests is, with gratitude, so much levels of awesomeness. But just from a business perspective, what do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started?

JEN

Oh, wow. I think it’s; gosh, there’s so many things, to be honest. But I think the most important thing is authenticity. And because everybody is giving you all this advice, but at the end of the day, it’s really about you and your authentic self, and doing what you’re good at, and doing what you believe in, and giving yourself that grace. But it all starts with that truthfulness and not trying to be what somebody else thinks that you need to be. And not listening to all of the opinions.

Because I think that when I first started, I  was one of those people who would like overwhelm myself with like research and things like that. I’m like, “Oh, I’m going to do this. And I’m going to do this.” And at the end of it, no. It’s really; you’re the one with the relationships. You’re the one who knows what you’re good at. You’re the one who is working towards something big. But you have to have the confidence to be fully present and show up for people authentically and do it your way.

ANGELA:

That’s awesome. Very, very cool. Now, for those listeners that want to know more about you, obviously after today’s amazing session; just about the beauty of surrendering and gratefulness and gratitude; where can they find you?

JEN

Oh, wow. So they can find me on the Women Conquer Business Podcast. That’s women (plural). I think I sounded like a woman. And then, my website is jenmcfarland.com. That’s J-E-N Mcfarland.com. And then, I’m on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter @jensmcfarland.

ANGELA:

Alright. Fantastic.  Well, thank you so, so much for, again, allowing us into your evening; or evening time for you over in America. I really appreciate that. I really appreciate your openness in talking about a topic that doesn’t necessarily get spoken about on a regular basis.

And for the rest of you, before we sign off, I just want to remind you that my team and I will be putting together the whole transcription for this episode at angelahenderson.com.au. And of course, I cover all sorts of related business and life topics inside my Facebook community, The Australian Business Collaborative. I think we’re about to hit 6,000 amazing business members in there. And for the rest of you, I hope you have a fabulous day no matter where you are in the world. And I look forward to having you joining me next week for another amazing episode of the Business and Life Conversations Podcast.

Thanks a lot, Jen. And have a great day everyone. 

Thanks for listening to the Business and Life Conversations Podcast with Angela Henderson, Jen McFarland. www.angelahenderson.com.au 

Angel Henderson Consulting

I'm Ange... proud Canadian, Nutella eating lover and pink is my favorite colour with a splash of glitter. I'm a business consultant/coach who has helped hundreds of business owners get all the pieces in place to have consistent 5-figure months and multiple 6-figure years... without burning out in the process.