5 Things to Help your Mental Wellness – The Power of Gratitude

Our CEO Cody May was recently featured in Authority Magazine here: https://medium.com/authority-magazine/cody-may-of-studioptbo-how-we-can-leverage-the-power-of-gratitude-to-improve-our-overall-mental-we-ce8548af678e

As kid growing up in Chatham, Ontario, I was fairly introverted. I didn’t feel like I was good at anything and definitely was not great at communicating with people. At the end of high school, I was at a crossroads because I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I wasn’t a great student; in fact, I missed almost 50 classes in my final semester of high school and almost didn’t graduate. The school system never interested me and I had difficulty applying myself. Despite being a lousy student, I felt that there was more opportunity out there for me. I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was. After high school, the natural next progression that was being pushed on us was to go to College or University. To be honest, I wasn’t made aware of any other options and that just didn’t interest me so I decided to take a few years off.

Fortunately, I landed into my first sales job at a company called Future Shop when I was 18, which would go on to be a pivotal moment for me. I had some of the best mentors around me that challenged me to be the best version of myself and taught me the art of sales and building relationships. I quickly began to thrive in this sales job and for the first time I felt like I had found something I was good at. I would go onto manage teams and lead one of the top performing stores in the company. At my 10 year mark in my corporate career, I had this feeling like there was something more out there for me.

About five years ago, I met my current business partner Neil. We met at a coffee shop to chat about a sponsorship for what was then his media company. During that conversation, Neil mentioned that he saw a lot of entrepreneurial traits in me and asked me if I had ever thought of running my own business. To be honest, I had never really even considered it nor had anyone even explained to me this opportunity was plausible. Little did I know but that conversation would be a defining moment for me. I would go on to discover that opportunities were endless inside of entrepreneurship. I really wanted something in life that would motivate me, excite me and encourage me everyday to wake up full of joy. I found that in entrepreneurship. A few years later, I joined as a Managing Partner and then would become the Chief Operating Officer at StudioPTBO, a global marketing agency. For the first time in my career, I felt like I was truly creating my purpose.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

At the beginning of 2020, I attended a Brendon Burchard conference in San Diego, California. Despite knowing that opportunities were endless inside of entrepreneurship, I felt stuck, overworked and tired. I felt like I was on a hamster wheel and the majority of the information I was absorbing from gurus online were saying to work 15–18 hours a day and that will get you ahead by hustling. This led me to take on multiple things and I kept telling myself, “If I just work more, our business will grow”. Little did I know but I had flawed information prior to attending this conference.

I remember it so vividly when Brendon challenged the room full of entrepreneurs to pinpoint what was hampering their business growth and then taught us three ways to grow faster: automate, delegate, and remove all non-needle-moving activities from your life and business. This framework boggled my mind and as he was teaching this, I was texting my business partner Neil saying, “I am doing this all wrong.” Brendon actually went on to challenge us to work less and prioritize the needle movers. This framework would go on to revolutionize both our business and my personal life.

I’ve come to realize that it’s not about how much you do, it’s about how much of the right things that you do. I encourage you to make a list of 30 things that you do on a weekly or monthly basis. Then look at those 30 tasks and ask yourself, ‘What can I automate, what can I delegate and what can I remove?’ The amount of leverage this will give you in both your personal and professional life is astounding.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why do you think that resonates with you? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

There is a famous saying in latin, “Memento Mori” that I have as a mural on my office door. Memento Mori is the reminder that we all die someday.

When I was 19, I decided to go against my parent’s advice and travel with a few friends out of town in a snowstorm. We were in my small Ford pickup truck at the time and I happened to blow a tire on the highway going over 100/km per hour. Struggling to steer the vehicle to safety, we crossed three lanes of traffic and smashed into the median. Just a few moments later, a few semi-trucks passed us on the highway. I honestly felt my life flash before my eyes a few times during this event. Luckily everyone in the truck with me was alright.

I think this life lesson quote resonates with me because I believe that everyday we have a choice to choose gratitude. I try to begin every day in a place of gratitude, simply by being thankful for the breath in my lungs. I find that this level of gratitude helps me reset and realize that life is not infinite and all we have is the breath we are currently breathing.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story about why that resonated with you?

The book that made the most significant impact on me was Traction by Gino Wickman. In early 2019, we came flying out of the gates and landed a bunch of large projects with our agency. Halfway through the year, we started running out of cash inside our business because honestly we were on auto-pilot. There were about 6 months inside the business where none of the partners in the agency got paid. We had bills, staff and rent to pay to keep the lights on. We were struggling because we didn’t have a framework for how to continue to build our own business and ensure we were profitable.
Traction gave us the blueprint that we needed to create a strategy and way forward. I’ve never read a book that provides as much value as Traction did for us in that moment. We still use the frameworks from this book to guide our yearly, quarterly and monthly planning. Traction helped us understand the importance of having and communicating a clear vision, mission, values and goals inside the business. It also helped us understand the power of reinvesting our profits back into the growth of the business. Overall this book helped us recalibrate our business model and set us up for success.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am currently working on a new Mindset & Marketing coaching program with my business partner Neil Morton and friend Belinda Ginter. I am excited about this program because Belinda is a Certified Emotional Kinesiologist and has over 6,000+ clinical coaching hours working with clients worldwide, Neil spent 20 years in the magazine industry as an Editor-In-Chief in Toronto and I have been working with hundreds of entrepreneurs and consulting for a few national brands on marketing and advertising over the last couple years. Our goal with this program is to give a massive amount of value back to the business community. There is going to be bi-weekly live coaching sessions with new training, a private Facebook community and Q & A support. We have also priced this coaching program in a way to make it easy for any business owner to join. This program is called “The Limitless Mindset & Marketing Academy”.

I often find business owners struggle to experience growth because of either a mindset, marketing or sales issue. It’s often both a confidence and competence issue in one of these three concepts. I believe that through the coaching of both Neil, Belinda and I, we will be able to meet business owners and entrepreneurs where they are at. We all have different skills and I believe that working together we are going to be able to help entrepreneurs move forward and experience growth both personally and professionally.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

The person I am most grateful for in my entrepreneurial career is my friend and mentor, Robert Gauvreau of Gauvreau & Associates CPA.

Bob has taught me so many key lessons about entrepreneurship that it’s hard to pinpoint one story. That said, the biggest lesson I’ve learned from him is to continually reinvest back into your business if you want to experience growth. Early on in my entrepreneurial career Bob invited me to a business conference in Marina Del Rey, California. Bob pretty much picked up the entire bill because a) I didn’t have a whole lot of money at that point, and b) I think he saw something in me that at the time I probably didn’t see in myself. The amount of lessons I would learn at this conference about the marketing and coaching world changed the direction of my life and business.

After that conference I became more aware of the amount Bob was reinvesting into marketing and coaching programs to find the answers to the problems he was looking to solve inside his business. It seemed like the more he would invest, the faster that the team and business would grow. His business is now the 2nd fastest growing accounting firm in Canada.

Through Bob, I’ve learned the lesson that scared money doesn’t make money. I’ve learned that new levels of growth require new investments back into both personal and professional growth.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now that we are on the topic of gratitude, let’s move to the main focus of our interview. As you know, the collective mental health of our country is facing extreme pressure. We would like to explore together how every one of us can use gratitude to improve our mental wellness. Let’s start with a basic definition of terms. How do you define the concept of Gratitude? Can you explain what you mean?

I think that I would define gratitude as a reverence and appreciation for everything, including life. After my car crash as a 19 year old kid, I have come to realize that life is not infinite. Remembering that we are someday going to die drives me to live everyday full of appreciation for the breath in my lungs. I choose to look at gratitude as a mindset, a perspective, a healthy outlook on life. When you begin every day in a place of gratitude, that mindset begins to shift your attitude.

Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Despite our circumstances, we have the power to choose our attitude. We have a choice to see the glass as half-full or half-empty. I try to focus on what I have rather than on what I don’t have. I find it’s impossible to live my best life when I am filled with negativity, cynicism, and angst.

I encourage everyone to start with gratitude and express appreciation for life every day.

Why do you think so many people do not feel gratitude? How would you articulate why a simple emotion can be so elusive?

I believe we as humans consume a lot more than we create, reflect and give. We consume a lot of news, social media, Netflix shows and often it’s those outlets that dictate our emotions. I can see how it can be hard to be grateful when we feel like our lives are boring, and that escapism feels like the best way to feel something and deflect from our own lives and sense of worth.

Writing this now brings me into a state of reflection and self-actualization. It’s so easy to live life on auto-pilot and just let what you consume lead you. You have to set clear intentions for yourself each day and each hour, and breathe breath into your lungs. I think real gratitude requires a reverence and appreciation for life.

I had the chance in my early 20s to travel and do some humanitarian work in the Dominican Republic. We met with people that we consider to have nothing. But they seemed to exhibit one thing that we often struggle to express in North America, gratitude. They didn’t want anything and almost every village was hospitable and wanted you to come visit them in their homes. Despite having very little, they wanted to give back a lot. It really showed me that gratitude is a perspective, and is created through giving and reflection and it’s a choice we make everyday.

This might be intuitive to you but I think it will be constructive to help spell it out. Can you share with us a few ways that increased gratitude can benefit and enhance our life?

Everyday I wake up, I use Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Planner. I use this because it puts me in a state of gratitude. One of the questions during my morning meditation is who is someone I could surprise with a note, gift, or sign of appreciation. I believe that this action is a form of gratitude that has helped enhance my personal relationships.

It’s so easy to get caught up in what is happening in your own life that you forget to show gratitude to the important people in your life. I think gratitude can increase the depth that you have in your relationships because people want to feel appreciated. I find that when you express gratitude to those that are important to you it creates that depth in relationship.

All we have are the relationships that we form. So much of life is relationships and increased gratitude can help to strengthen and create depth in those relationships. I encourage everyone to choose one person a day and surprise them with a note, gift or sign of appreciation.

Let’s talk about mental wellness in particular. Can you share with us a few examples of how gratitude can help improve mental wellness?

As a team we really aim to celebrate wins on a daily basis. I also meet with my team to do 1:1 coaching and this is an opportunity for me to express gratitude on an individual basis. I believe that gratitude creates depth in relationships and allows those around you to be more vulnerable.

For instance, I have an employee that felt comfortable enough sharing with me the need for mental wellness days. This is something we recently implemented in our company because of feedback. This kind of feedback may have never come up without my expression of gratitude towards our team. I really desire to give them the tools that they need to succeed in our company. I feel like gratitude is often the catalyst for these vulnerable conversations.

Ok wonderful. Now here is the main question of our discussion. From your experience or research, what are “Five Ways That Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness”. Can you please share a story or example for each?

The Five Ways that I think each of us can leverage the power of gratitude to improve our overall mental wellness are:

1. Interrupt your pattern

For the longest time, I struggled in the afternoons to stay inspired and excited about my day. This is when I began recognizing that leaving time for pattern interrupts throughout my day began to re-ignite my appreciation for life. I encourage you to do something out of the blue: take a drive or walk down a country road, get a spontaneous massage, or shut it down and go to the golf course. It’s often the pattern interrupts that reignite inspiration and gratitude for life in us.

2. Shift into learning mode

In business, I find myself fading with inspiration and gratitude when I am not constantly living the identity of a life-long learner. After graduating from university, I told myself that I wasn’t going to read anymore. I felt like I had spent the last four years at school learning and I was finally ready to take on the real world. Little did I know that being a life-long learner was required to experience growth and to strive satisfied. When I started to read books around business, mindset and marketing, I quickly found knowledge that inspired me. Over the last year, I have read over 60 books and it’s helped my psyche tremendously and pushed me towards a growth mindset.

Learning new information is one of the fastest paths to fresh inspiration and reinvigorates an appreciation for life. Read a biography or watch an inspiring video/documentary about someone or something extraordinary.

3. Be with inspirational people

Spend quality time with people who inspire you. Seek out others who have a wide variety of expertise and experience to enrich your thinking and broaden your viewpoints. Their input and influence will fuel your personal and professional breakthroughs. Jim Rohn famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

If you aspire to greater things, to grow personally and professionally, it’s absolutely vital to audit your circle of friends. Do they share your optimism? Are they driven to learn, work, and improve their lives? Are they driven by the same values as you are?

If your people are all negative and full of cynicism and angst, they will only bring you down. You can try to convert them to optimism, hope, and positivity but you might just have to trade most (or all) of them for like-minded people who push you forward, not hold you back.

Wondering how you’ll ever find a new circle of people? Great question. Luckily, today’s technology makes it easy to find and connect with new people. Here are some practical ways that I have been able to do that:

1. Find an online business mastermind group in your area of expertise or in an area you want to master. I am so grateful that I got the opportunity to connect with the Cat Howell community. It changed the fortunes for our agency and I was able to glean insight from other agency owners for sound advice.

2. Volunteer in your local business community or non-profit. I am the board of directors for our local chamber in Peterborough, Canada and try to serve my community when I can. I have found that some of the best relationships are fostered through service.

4. Think, reflect, and journal daily

Start by keeping score. How can you know how much momentum you have and if you are living an inspired life unless you are keeping score?

Your daily reflection time can be compared to athletes reviewing their game tapes. They analyze their performance in specific games, determine the ways they need to improve, and plan how they will get to the next level.

Reflecting and journaling allow you to look back and think about your state of mind during a certain season of life. It also allows you to examine how you felt in that peak moment or during that day you just weren’t feeling it.

You can’t measure what you don’t track.

Long-term inspiration requires daily reflection.

5. Create Your Purpose

Deep down in our core, human beings seek only a few fundamentals — purpose and fulfillment. Purpose means different things to different people but at its core, purpose is the reason we exist.

Have you ever asked yourself, “What is my purpose?” The answer to this deep, philosophical question is foundational to both your personal and professional life.

I wrestled with purpose for a large portion of my life and career. It’s what led me into my studies for pastoral ministry at one point. But in the end, the study of purpose is what sparked my passion for marketing and entrepreneurship.

I served in a large telecom corporation for 10 years. But this innate sense of purpose and desire to make a greater contribution in the world inspired me to head out on my own, to follow what I felt gave my life meaning and purpose.

Maybe you haven’t found your “thing” or “juice” yet or maybe you don’t feel like you’re living a purposeful life. After having so many conversations around purpose, one thing is clear: purpose is created and it’s a choice.

I implore your readers to ask themselves a few questions. What is it that motivates you? What is it that excites you? What is the one thing that drives you to wake up every morning full of excitement and joy?

Life is too finite and valuable not to act on those things that bring you true joy and fulfillment.

Go. Create your purpose.

Is there a particular practice that can be used during a time when one is feeling really down, really vulnerable, or really sensitive?

I think the best practice that can be used during a time when you are feeling down, vulnerable or sensitive is to talk with someone who has your best interest in mind. When I am feeling down and out, I often will reach out to one of the five people that are closest with me that I’ve given the right to speak into my life. Sometimes we just need someone to listen to us and hear us out. This is why I am such a big advocate for hiring a coach as well. A coach can help us sort out our thoughts. I really believe that we often have the answers we already need, we just don’t know how to make sense of the information in our head and heart.

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that you would recommend to our readers to help them to live with gratitude?

I am a big fan of Brendon Burchard’s podcasts and resources. I find that anyone looking to live with gratitude should read his The Motivation Manifesto and The Charge book, and follow his podcast The Brendon Show. He is constantly giving back to his global community.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

My mission is to help 1 million entrepreneurs experience both passion and exuberant energy in both their personal and professional lives. There is a lot of information out there that says you have to sacrifice relationships or a fulfilling life in order to experience success in business. I simply don’t believe that because I have seen a countless amount of business owners protect and thrive in their relationships and health, and still build successful businesses. The movement I am aiming to build is to help entrepreneurs realize that it doesn’t have to be one or the other. I believe in this mission wholeheartedly because I’ve burnt some relationships along the way with flawed information.

What is the best way our readers can further follow your work online?

I am constantly aiming to provide value back to the business community: The best way your readers can follow my work online is to find me on these social platforms below.

Call Me: (705) 742-1908
Email me: cody@studioptbo.com

Our Free Mindset, Marketing & Business Secrets Facebook Community: https://studioptbo.com/marketing-hacks-community/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cody-may-8b5904b1/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cody.may1/ or https://www.facebook.com/studioptbo

Clubhouse app: @codymay
Instagram: http://instagram.com/codmay or http://instagram.com/codmay

Our Website: www.studioptbo.com

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