I never shut up about gratitude practices.
A gratitude practice – or whatever you want to call it when you keep a record of what makes you happy – is the very best way I’ve found to figure out what actually makes you happy instead of what you think should make you happy.
And figuring out what makes you happy is the very best way to find your purpose.
But it never looks like that at first.
At first it looks like a trivial list of relatively nice things.
Today I’m grateful for dinner at the kitchen table, a walk through the park, and that early-morning phone call with my mom.
Trivial. Nowhere in there could you spot profound insight or anything worthy of the title Purpose.
But the practice, the keeping on, creates a collection of lists. A collection of list reveals patterns.
It’s also how I discovered that I like to make things.
This was a surprise. I have never considered myself artistic or crafty.
But I did really enjoy knitting when I tried it. And I liked taking my daughter to a local pottery painting studio. And painting with my girlfriends sure was fun. And – you know, it seems like every time I create something with my hands it makes The List.
I tell people to figure out what makes you happy and do more of it, so that’s what I do.
I make more things. I begin to build creating into my day. I’m not very good – most things I make are barely worth keeping, let alone sharing – but the process of making still makes me happy.
My in-laws come to visit and I take them out hunting for furniture to makeover, because this is a side business my mother-in-law has taken up since retiring. And while I’m walking around with them, I decide that I really, really want to try to make something beautiful from ugly furniture.
My teenage son decides he wants to try and make money selling that upcycled furniture.
And all of a sudden, my son and I are in business together.
My son – who thinks my dancing is lame and my movies are lame and my advice is the lamest of all – he wants to go shopping with me for fabric. And he wants me to get out the staple gun so we can recover a seat cushion together.
So I’m quitting the inspirational speaking and the writing and going full-time with my true passion: painting furniture.
No, not really.
But I am spending more time with my son, and he is happy about it.
Never in a million years would I have connected these dots this way or foreseen this as a potential thing we could share. I did not see this coming until the very second it popped into my life.
All I saw was the pattern in my gratitude practice:
Making things makes me happy.
So I did more of that. I followed my happiness.
And my happiness led me some place unexpected: exactly where I needed to be.
The lesson here is simple: