Exercise your gratitude muscle

Saying thank you, sincerely and in a meaningful way, should be ingrained in your business practices. In fact, it should be ingrained in your life. Jack Canfield, author of The Success Principles, writes:

“When you are in a state of appreciation and gratitude, you are in a state of abundance. You are appreciating what you do have instead of focusing on and complaining about what you don’t have. Your focus is on what you have received, and you always get more of what you focus on.” (page 357)

From a business point of view, showing gratitude is a key component of nurturing relationships. Building an art business is all about forming strong relationships–with other artists, gallery dealers, curators, collectors, and anyone else who might be part of your community. Take a moment to read last week’s newsletter on nurturing community in case you missed it.

Here are four ways to start giving that gratitude muscle a workout.

1. When you thank clerks helping you at the store (or anyone else for that matter), look into their eyes. It’s so easy to stuff your change in your wallet and mumble “Thanks” as you turn and walk away. Make a little extra effort and demonstrate a more sincere response.

Cedar Lee
Cedar Lee, Golden Leaves.
Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches.©The Artist

2. Keep a gratitude journal. It can be separate from or part of your regular journal, but write down each day at least five things you’re grateful for professionally or personally. As you’re writing your gratitudes, really feel them in your heart. Look back over them and consider the role it has in your day or week.

3. When responding to an email inquiry that shows interest in your art, begin with “Thank you for your interest in my work.” Many people don’t take the time to write this simple sentence–preferring to jot off a response as swiftly as possible.

4. Write thank-you notes. Yep, notes of the handwritten variety. This, you may know, is one of my favorite business secrets. I learned it from my mother and saw it executed with perfection by the U.S. Senator I worked for. He always keeps a stack of correspondence cards on top of his desk so he can quickly write a note to someone. Your handwritten notes will set you apart from everyone else and go farther than email for helping people remember you.

Taking the time to practice gratitude isn’t a bunch of hooey. It’s a must for everyone trying to build relationships and an art career. Try it. I’ve witnessed the magic of a sincere Thank You over and over again!

( Additional resource: See Action 10 in I’d Rather Be in the Studio! for more about following up with people. )

KNOW THIS———-~> Practicing sincere gratitude opens you up to receiving even more abundance.

THINK ABOUT THIS—~> When is the last time you wrote a thank-you note?

DO THIS————~> Exercise your gratitude muscle. Identify your weak points from the four items above and decide what you will work on. Do you think maybe you could send 5 thank-you notes a week for the next month? Or write your gratitudes in your journal every day for 28 days? Challenge yourself and start right now.

Tell us how you practice sincere gratitude and listen to the podcast on the  Art Biz Blog. For the last few days I’ve been posting about gratitude there and more is coming up.

Have you seen Affirmations for Artists? (Get the YouTube version while you’re there to plug into your blog.)

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6 comments to Exercise your gratitude muscle

  • [...] If you’ve been in my classes, you have been asked to write your gratitude list every day. Being thankful for what you have tells the Universe that you’re ready for more abundance. I’ve written a lot about gratitude in this newsletter and on the blog. Here are some posts from last year that might appeal. Exercise Your Gratitude Muscle [...]

  • [...] If you’re too caught up in trying to promote and sell your art, now is a great time to take a break. Invoke the spirit of the season. Slow down, open your heart, and think of others this week. [...]

  • Serendipity
    by Dian MCray on 12/22/2009 8:38:56 AM

    You never know what lies around the next corner. Yesterday was like all my other “sticky Mondays,” a full schedule, this time preparing for the upcoming holiday. I was out doing last minute chores (especially the meds for the nine year old!), and a couple of forgotten gifts. I made one stop at a retail store for a convenience item for my baking this week. The owner of the shop greeted me and helped with my purchase. I took the opportunity to introduce myself as both someone who appreciated her shop and as an artist who paints about the things she sells. She became energized with the information, announcing her long-time interest in the marriage of the two areas in her shop. She eagerly took my card and reacted very favorably to the image she saw. I invited her to my website and we are getting together in January to discuss our shared possibilities.

    When I got home, followed up with a hand-witten card with a different image (but same enticing subject).

    I’m learning, Alyson! Thank you for all your guidance. Happy Holidays.

  • Dian: That’s great news. Break a leg at the meeting!

  • I am not always very good with note cards, but I do share gratitude in other ways and not just around the Winter Solstice. I know I like to feel appreciated so I infer that others do as well.

    Thanks Alyson!