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Finding Gratitude: A Founder's Perspective

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.  

~John F. Kennedy 

As the Founder of One Degree Financial, I've learned that success isn't just measured in profit margins or growth charts—it's also about the gratitude we share with our family, friends, and team members. The fast-paced nature of our work in financial advisory services, especially with SaaS companies, propels us to continually face new challenges. Yet, it remains essential to pause and appreciate our present achievements and the aspects of our journey we're grateful for. 

I've found that expressing gratitude is not just a nice-to-have; it's essential for building a positive team culture and maintaining strong relationships. It's about recognizing the effort of a diligent team member, celebrating a family milestone, or just appreciating the everyday victories that we often take for granted. The challenge, however, lies in making this practice a regular part of our hectic lives. 

To keep gratitude front and center, I’ve even started a gratitude tree. It’s a small tree, much like the charming tree in “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” it’s filled with reminders of the people and experiences I cherish – like a Loch Ness ornament gifted by my daughter who lives in Scotland and dog tags to honor my journey as a veteran entrepreneur and the sacrifices of fellow veterans. As the year goes on, I’ll add different ornaments celebrating successes and reminders of what’s truly important. Gratitude shouldn’t be something we confine to a single season; it’s a year-round commitment that feeds into everything I do. 

Now, I'm not claiming to be a gratitude guru – it's an ongoing practice. I was inspired to start my own daily gratitude ritual after hearing a panel discussion where speaker Mike Sherbakov described his simple habit of setting an alarm at 11:11 as a reminder to pause and reflect. For me, sometimes this practice takes the form of intentional journaling. Other times, it might mean just stopping mid-meeting to appreciate a beautiful day. It's those moments, both planned and spontaneous, that keep me aware of the good. 

I recently read a helpful article on gratitude apps that offered some great guidance on apps that cultivate a mindset of gratitude. As a busy founder, these tools can be transformative, whether you have seconds or minutes to pause mindfully throughout the day. 

Here are a few apps that caught my eye, along with what I consider their key strengths: 

Gratitude:  Ideal for anyone new to the concept of gratitude journaling. Simple, colorful prompts make it easy to get your thoughts down. Its vision board feature also motivates future goals, which has real relevance for an entrepreneur  

Appreciation Jar:   Sometimes, we need to shift our attention outwards. This app is wonderful for building connection. Sending thoughtful notes to your team, partner, or simply someone you appreciate fosters stronger relationships.   

Gratitude Forest: This app embodies the idea that gratitude can grow and flourish over time. You plant seeds of thankfulness and watch as they grow into a forest of positivity. For me, this serves as a beautiful analogy for our work at One Degree Financial—nurturing small seeds of trust and appreciation in our relationships can lead to a thriving business ecosystem. 

ThinkUp:  For those who find power in affirmations, ThinkUp allows you to record your own voice on top of curated messages. For someone like me, always on the go, this creates a sense of portable positivity with just a couple of taps. 

Of course, technology doesn't replace human connection! Sometimes the most authentic expression of thanks is a face-to-face word to a colleague after a big win or taking a moment to acknowledge the incredible dedication of a team member who went above and beyond. Gratitude isn't confined to special occasions or tech; it's a mindset built daily through large and small gestures. 

These apps align perfectly with the ethos we live by at One Degree Financial. Our commitment to providing top-tier financial advisory services parallels the nurturing environment these gratitude apps foster. They're tools to help us develop a mindset of thankfulness, which can enrich every aspect of our lives. 

This journey can be unpredictable, even stressful at times. That's why practicing intentional gratitude—however that works for you— is essential.  Whether it's a dedicated app or just appreciating a warm coffee before the chaos starts, taking those quiet moments for thanks makes it all just a bit better. Remember, a grateful mindset not only improves your resilience; it fosters stronger teams, connections, and ultimately impacts your ability to succeed as a founder and leader.