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“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets as Michelangelo painted, or as Beethoven composed music or as Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”- Martin Luther King Jr.

Have you ever been greeted by a hostess, cashier or co-worker who made it painfully clear they didn’t want to be there?

Whether it was the way they kept their eyes on the floor, frowns on their face, or lethargy in their voice, you knew that person wanted nothing to do with you. 

As much as it may offends us when others are uninterested in us, we often give the same feeling to those around us. My friend, complacency – taking things for granted – will cut into your life professionally, personally and relationally.

 Complacency cuts away joy from today and hope from tomorrow. [Tweet this]

The roots of complacency grow deeper each day as you struggle to get going, move through the morning motions and absolutely miss that the tone you are setting for your morning is setting the melody for the rest of your day.

Think for a moment about yesterday: when you woke up, were you grateful for the chance at another day? When you saw a spouse, partner or friend for the first time that day, did you blankly say hello and miss the opportunity to recognize how fortunate you are to have them in your life? Did you endure the efforts of pushing your kids out the door to get to school on time or dreading carpool pickup duty? Did you struggle through emails, answering calls, visiting patients, dealing with students or leading meetings without fully embracing the gift of your work?

Remember, these treasured duties are fleeting moments that make up what life is all about.

This time won’t last forever.

Life is busy and routines help maintain calm. But you mustn’t lose gratitude for the unruly beauty of life within those confines. [Tweet this.]

This week I am challenging you to break through complacency and harness gratitude at three points each and every day:

  1. Wake-up call: Start your day 15 minutes earlier. Aren’t you sick of the morning race? Choose to be intentional in directing your morning rather than being guided by it. Get in that quick work out, read scripture, meditate, pray, plan your day, journal. Rather than letting the morning tell you what the day is going to be like, you’ll tell it! It will first change your day – and then change your life.
  2. Encounters: Each time you see your spouse, treat her like the most important person in the world (because after all, she is). When you see your children, treasure it as if this moment will never come again (it won’t). Treat your aging parents as if you are intensely grateful for the life they gave you recognizing they won’t be with you forever (they won’t). Treat your co-workers like they matter profoundly (they do) and strangers like something you say may change their life (it will, for better or worse that is your choice).
  3. Purpose: My friend, your work, your relationships, your life: they matter profoundly; for you, your co-workers, your shareholders and everyone you touch throughout your day. No matter what your “work” is each day, do it as Michelangelo painted because we are watching, it does matter and you can (what’s the point of not living up to your potential?).

Choose today to open up the possibility of your life by stepping deeper into gratitude. I’ve developed an actionable tool kit to live this message in your lives. You’ll receive the Rising Above What More Can I Do? journal, four audio interviews I had with remarkable individuals who model this teaching and worksheets to help you create the steps you can take to live it in your life too. Check it out and choose to step into it boldly: Gratitude Month Kit.

Take back your life, ignite your possibility and change your world by increasing your gratitude and learning how to share it with those you love.

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Live Inspired Together is a community of friends changing the world together, starting with their own. In a world that often focuses on negativity, John O’Leary - Live Inspired shares the other side of the story through his member-supported channels (essays, Live Inspired Podcast, video, webcasts, social platforms) to connect our community and share inspiration and actions to live it. Support now.