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Issue #5: Being Grateful

A few months ago I discovered J. Cole's 2014 Forest Hills Drive album. The last track on it ("Note to

James Costa

March 28 · Issue #5 · View online
A batch of thoughts, resources, and motivation from a friendly digital agency owner delivered every Monday at 6am ET.

A few months ago I discovered J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive album. The last track on it (“Note to Self”) features 10 minutes of the artist thanking everyone who played role in making it. Something about hearing genuine thanks being given always gives me that extra push when I need it. Listening to it this week got me thinking about all the things I need to be grateful for.
I won’t lie, the last few weeks have been tough. I’ve been running around trying to get things done, and haven’t had many moments to sit and reflect. Hell, when I do I can only think of all the things I have to do and feel guilty for even taking the moment to reflect.
But in all the crazy, I think of how lucky I am to have all of the crazy going on. Tobias van Schneider wrote an awesome article titled The Worst Case Scenario. In it, Tobias talks about the path that got him where he is, and how he copes with the stress of making decisions through reflecting on that path. As business owners, we feel this stress all the time. Whether you’re a team of 1 or 100, every decision can feel like it carries the weight of the world. You stay up at night feeling anxious and tired, worrying about what lies ahead.
But in that moment of stress, sometimes we realize the glimmer of hope: that we’ve made it this far. We’ve all been on different paths but have gotten to where we are through persistence. We’re faced with big decisions and we push ourselves because we believe in ourselves. I truly don’t think any of us would be where we’re standing if we didn’t.
So, what do I have to be grateful for? Everything.
All of the good, all of the bad, all of the crazy… I can sincerely say it’s all worth it. It doesn’t make the stress any less stressful or the crazy any less crazy, but it makes me appreciate all of the good times that much more. It doesn’t make me stop fighting, it gives me that extra energy to continue pushing for those feelings of euphoria. I’m sincerely blessed for the people around me (my team, my mentors, my clients), and the ability to do what I love on a daily basis.
Those rough patches will continue coming, and decisions will be made that in hindsight we’ll doubt, but as long as we keep being grateful, I truly believe it’ll help fuel us through it all. 
One last thing before I let you go: I don’t think we tell each other enough how grateful we are for each other. We’re also so often the last people to receive thanks as we’re “the boss” (and sometimes we really need it the most). This week, let’s make sure we take a moment to thank those around us from the heart. Not just the usual “thank you” we pass around when someone holds the door open or hands you a coffee, but one that lets them know why you’re grateful.
Thank you.
P.S.: If you have a moment and enjoyed this week’s issue, I’d really appreciate your support sharing this newsletter. Whether it’s a forward, a Twitter post, or professing your love from the rooftops, it would mean the world to me.

Thoughts from Slack
The Toronto Agency Owner community has a Slack channel where we share thoughts, accomplishments, upcoming events, and ultimately support one another. If you’d like in, just reply to this email and ask (nicely)!
This week, we asked the community: What are you grateful for?
Paul Dowman (OK Grow!): “I’m grateful to have found a team of great people that really care. Also that I have the freedom to make decisions and learn from the bad ones.”
Matt Hryhorsky (Filament Lab): “I’m grateful to help shape a company that isn’t beholden to every client whim, and where innovation and pushing boundaries ranks higher than the almighty dollar.”
Symon Oliver (Also Collective): “I’m really grateful to have found a great team that is excited about making things, and solving problems together. Second would be our clients, they really do work hard with us, and we think of them as part of the team for each project. I’m grateful for their work and attention to the process.”
Good Reads
The Commoditization of Diversity
The only thing that matters
Owning a Digital Agency
Approach client meetings with confidence
Inspiration for the Week
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” ― Epicurus
In Closing
Speaking of being grateful, last week I put down an offer on a house that was accepted (there were 23 other bidders, so this was a particularly big deal). I’d like to sincerely apologize to everyone who has heard me complain about this process for that few weeks - but alas, I’m officially a home owner! Many of you know my path over the last eight years has been particularly windy, but I’m so grateful to have stabled out a bit.
If you have any questions or I can help you in any way, all you have to do is respond to this email.
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