December 12, 2014

I like receiving cards and e-mails around Thanksgiving more than any other holiday.

(And for those of you from outside of the United States, you don’t have to celebrate Thanksgiving to understand this post…not to worry)

It’s a time of year when everyone seems to take inventory of what’s important in their lives; and the words “grateful” and “thankful” grace almost every sentence…it is truly the best time of year.

But my observation is that the flurry of messages about gratefulness are quickly forgotten as things like holiday shopping (and everything else called “everyday life”) take precedence…

Not as much gratefulness for fellow human beings even the day after Thanksgiving when the Black Friday stampede begins at Wal-Mart…

And so it goes from there…from Black Friday madness to being angry with your spouse over minutia or yelling at a colleague for being less than perfect…and that’s just the first week after Thanksgiving…

Figuring that the “Thanksgiving glow” has now worn off for most of you (although I’m still sleepy from all the tryptophan myself), I thought the timing for this post was ideal.

I can’t help but draw an analogy between making a New Year’s resolution to lose 10 pounds and a Thanksgiving declaration (resolution?) to “become grateful.”

Most people are eating cheesecake by January 15th…and most people forget that being grateful is a state of mind, not a resolution on a list of resolutions.

Simply put, being grateful is a 365 day a year proposition…as I’ve talked about in a previous post, “Rejecting People is a Lot of Work.

I was just e-mailing with a subscriber to to my regular posts about practicing gratefulness andwins every day (he was referring to the procedure I talked about in “Rejecting People…”).

He shared with me how implementing “gratefulness” and “daily wins” into his life has made all the difference.

We agreed that days when we don’t write 3 things we’re grateful for in the morning (and write the 3 wins for the day at night) are days which end up being less productive and not as rewarding.

That’s why an alarm goes off on my phone at 8:00 a.m. every morning…and another goes off at 8:00 p.m. every evening…and I write for five minutes twice a day.

I’d rather forget to pick up skim milk or drop off clothes at the dry cleaners than ignore those two reminders…

I want to also add another spin on gratefulness that was inspired by Dan Sullivan, the number one coach in the world for entrepreneurs.

Dan makes the distinction between a “gratefulness cycle” and an “envy cycle.”

I would like to share some thoughts on this distinction.

I recently had the honor of being a keynote speaker at the GKIC Info-Summit (one of the leading conferences for information marketers and direct marketers alike)…and when I received a standing ovation for my presentation, I was not only surprised but very grateful.

And I told the audience just that…

But I couldn’t resist delivering a self-deprecating joke (which may have had more truth to it than I want to admit) given the fact that so many speakers at this particular conference speak and then sell products, services or both at the end of their presentations and I did not.

I told them as they stood and applauded:

“Are you giving me a standing ovation because I delivered such incredible content or because I simply didn’t sell you anything tonight after my speech?”

While I am a very effective direct marketer and dealmaker, “selling from the stage” is not even close to one of my core competencies.

In fact, my buddy Joe Polish (who has interviewed me many times and some of those interviews are available for free at, says this about me as it pertains to selling live on stage:

“Brian Kurtz is the Director of Sales Prevention.”


But no one can take away that standing ovation…it was a huge win that day and something I was grateful for the next morning as well…

Another thing that happened the next morning was that my good friend Robin Robins took the stage at Info-Summit.

Robin is a total rock star, the top guru for IT professionals on the planet and one of the most amazing marketers I know.

She proceeded to deliver a killer presentation about how to do sponsorships for live events with power, integrity and maximum return…and then she “sold” (note quotation marks) a program for everyone so they could easily implement everything Robin had learned on the topic…frankly, I saw it as more of a gift to the audience than something she was actually “selling.”

It seemed like she wasn’t even trying that hard…she was just being herself…and she sold more product than anyone at the conference by a wide margin.

I think it might have even been a record for sales at Info-Summit…a conference known for amazing sales results from the word’s best salespeople from the stage.

People were lining up at the back table before she completed her presentation and before she even told them the price.

So…what does this have to do with “gratefulness” vs. “envy?”

It would have been so easy for me to feel inferior to Robin:

Just 12 hours after I got a rousing standing ovation after speaking on the same stage she did, she sold materials to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Mine was a standing ovation while hers was a “running ovation” (to the back of the room for an order form).

But what I felt was anything but envy.

All I could think about was how grateful I was to be in Robin’s inner circle–someone she looks up to as a marketing maven—and someone she would share her wisdom with for the asking.

I couldn’t wait to give her a hug and tell her how proud I was to be her friend. And how much I learned by watching her do what she did with such mastery.

Money may be how we keep score…but frankly, being aligned with the best, watching them excel and showing why they are the best–and then being able to learn from them–is the real treasure.

I know that some of the other speakers (and folks in the audience who sell from the stage as part of their livelihood) were more envious of Robin’s windfall (i.e. the money).

Rather than being grateful that they were given a PhD course in how to sell from the stage with total class, they felt competitive and somewhat envious.

However, anyone who went to being grateful for Robin were rewarded much more.

I know it sounds corny…but train yourself to try on gratefulness whenever envy creeps into your consciousness.

And let me take this one step further…

I spend $70,000 a year on my own “education”—I guess you can call it “tuition” –and I’m pretty happy both of my kids are now out of college so it’s my turn.

I just hope I’m not doing this because my Mom still thinks I should get an M.B.A. to take my career to the next level!

But this “tuition” has little to do with getting an advanced degree…and it is way more valuable.

That is, I am an active member of two high end Mastermind Groups (plus an entrepreneur’s workshop called Strategic Coach, run by the aforementioned Dan Sullivan).

These groups are comprised of the most successful business people, heart-based entrepreneurs and cause-related game changers you will find anywhere…no imposters allowed…and almost all of the members are “givers” (as opposed to “takers” or “matchers”).

How to Keep Your Right Arm” will explain more about those important distinctions…distinctions that are critical to make sure you surround yourself with others who understand gratefulness over envy.

It would be so easy to be envious sitting in rooms with game-changers like that, most of whom are millionaires and hugely successful based on any criteria, financial success being one of many.

But envy turns to gratefulness pretty quickly when you realize you are not in a room of smart people but rather you are in a room of people just getting smarter.

I can’t think of anywhere better I want to be.

The gratefulness then translates to wins…and you are off to the races.

It is all about being the best “you”—and to only associate with the best “them”–and then be grateful that you can contribute to any room that will have you…especially if it’s a room about achievement and success.

A couple of my favorite quotes that together will punctuate:

From Marty Edelston:

“You only go through life once so you might as well be the world’s best.”

From Eleanor Roosevelt:

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

The great direct marketer and flamboyant speaker Don Libey always ended every speech with the phrase, “Go forth and multiply!”

And I will add that the biggest “multipliers” always start from being grateful…every day…and maybe twice on Thanksgiving…

Until next week,


P.S. My ongoing plan is to post weekly…but an insane travel schedule has gotten in the way of that…I apologize.

I am grateful for your patience and continued support…and one of my wins today is writing this post!

About the author 

Brian Kurtz

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