I must admit, being grateful and feeling sincere gratitude was somewhat foreign to me for some time. I felt I had what I had because I earned it or deserved it. True to a degree, but what about everything else in my life, spirit, friends, family, and my community? What about just being present for life itself? I certainly deserve these gifts too, we all do. Did I work hard to earn them? Not exactly, but through my consistent actions to appreciate others around me and focus on the positives in life, I have attracted these gifts and have magnified them with more gratitude. When I examined these choices and actions with intention, I began to understand the effect of gratitude on my life and consequent successes. I learned that gratitude in leadership can only occur once we open our eyes to the gifts we have been given and the people that surrounds. Once our eyes are open, passion is ignited and people desire to work with us.
My Gratitude Practice
Each morning, as I awake and am still in a relaxed state, I feel what I am truly grateful for at that very moment. No incredible task is required. I allow myself to feel what is inside and place my focus on the good stuff.
Geoffrey James did a great job explaining gratitude in an article that isn’t available anymore; he compared it to any other muscle requiring regular exercise. Our muscles need an activity for physical health, our brain uses reading and problem solving to flex its potential. In the same way, gratitude is the exercise of choice for our emotional well-being. This muscle may not be strong at first, but, as the article points out, with practice it becomes powerful.
Saying, “I AM Grateful”, is a great start. My challenge for each of us is to list at least five things or moments, big or small, that we truly feel grateful for in our lives. Do this for 20 days and soon you will have 100. Think about the things you love or moments of satisfaction that relax your body, create a feeling of content, it may even make your heart swell a bit, that’s the good stuff.
This is a practice my fellow leadership coach and friend Stephen McGhee suggests in his writings. I suggest that the act of getting in touch with gratitude will not only serve you but also serve others in your life as they see the light in your face.
Once you can do this for yourself, you can express genuine gratitude for the people you serve. Gratitude in leadership is vital to creating a supporting and growth oriented work place.
Don’t forget to register now for the Leadership Development Day for more insight on gratitude and culture.
“Gratitude is the beginning of wisdom. Stated differently, true wisdom cannot be obtained unless it is built on a foundation of true humility and gratitude.”
~ Gordon B. Hinckley
Dig deeper on the topic: