Benefits Of A Year-Round Attitude Of Gratitude – In Your Business, Your Workplace & Beyond
This past Thursday was Thanksgiving here in the States. It’s my favorite holiday. One reason is that it’s an entire day focused on gratitude… which is so powerful and so often overlooked (or dismissed as naive and unsophisticated).
I often talk about the importance of gratitude in my business and my life. And there’s something just as important as gratitude that can change your business (and your whole life) for the better… and that’s what sits on the other side of cultivating more gratitude, of strengthening this emotional muscle.
Tune in below – or read on – and today I’ll share what that is — and why it’s critical to lasting success in any area of your work or your life.
As we step solidly into the holiday season, gratitude is a gift that keeps on giving. Giving thanks throughout your day, your business, your organization is not just a nice idea—it’s smart business
Mindful professionals and business leaders who make gratitude a year-round practice can be rewarded with better outcomes along with healthier teams and more robust customer relationships.
Let’s take a moment to get clear on what I mean when I talk about experiencing more gratitude – and what sits on the other side of it. To get in touch with what this feels like, remember the last time you narrowly avoided a bad outcome:
- perhaps you braked just in time to avoid rear-ending the car in front of you;
- you got an “all clear” on an important medical exam; or
- you caught yourself before taking a bad fall.
You may have felt a wave of adrenaline, and then a heartfelt sigh of relief. You may have had an immediate and clear sense of how fortunate you are – not to have wrecked your car, not to have a life-threatening diagnosis, not to have sprained your ankle.All at once, your perspective shifts away from whatever concerns may have been on your mind. You appreciate being alive and whole as the very real gift that it is, something for which you are profoundly grateful.
This is what I’m talking about when I speak to the power of gratitude and what sits on the other side of it. When you’re in a situation like that, you realize that this very moment is worthy of your full appreciation and thankfulness. Everything is put into perspective. Instead of worrying about how you’re ever going to get through your to-do list or how you’re going to close an important deal, you’re glad to be alive and well and exactly where you are in the moment.
In that instant, all those things you otherwise think are necessary in order for you to feel successful fulfilled and satisfied (financial wealth, professional influence, romantic love, the new car, the trip abroad, world peace, etc.) are put into perspective. You know that that would all be great, and… thankfully I’m alive.
Benefits of Gratitude
The good news is that you don’t need to wait for a near-miss situation to experience the power of gratitude. This is an emotional muscle that can be strengthened. And the benefits of cultivating gratitude (basically by expressing it regularly) are well-documented.
In my last article, I spoke about 5 scientifically proven benefits of gratitude and how more gratitude can make you more successful. If you watched that video or read the post, you know that a regular gratitude practice supports your success in very real ways. It’s shown to:
- help you make more progress toward your most important goals
- build resilience as it buffers you from more negative or draining states such as stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Gratitude helps us shift from limiting beliefs, worries or fears to more positive states of happiness, connection, abundance and love.
- It literally helps you shift from a problem mindset to a solution mindset. This is in part because when we’re appreciating something, our ego steps aside so we can connect with something from a bigger perspective, sometimes even a deeper, wiser place within. We can put aside the day-to-day worries, challenges and to-dos, shift our focus from the problems we’re trying to solve to a mindset where we more easily find the solutions that we seek.
- Gratitude also brings our attention into the present, which is enables us to literally bring more presence to what we’re doing: whether serving a client, making a sales call or an important presentation. Planning and goal setting are powerful and the present is where it all happens.
Yet the research also shows that we hesitate to show gratitude – in our workplace, our relationships, in any area of our lives. That’s in part because gratitude involves showing some vulnerability. We’re often most grateful to others: our colleagues, our partners, our friends. In a culture that still rewards an image of rugged independence as vision success, it’s not necessarily easy to acknowledge that we need someone: that we leaned on our team to close an important business deal, that we leaned on our spouse or significant other for support during that challenging time. That our success is at least in part dependent on the help, support, and advice from others.
Yet it’s my belief – and experience – that expressing sincere gratitude is a sign of strength and of courage – not weakness.
Perhaps the best news about gratitude is that it requires little time and no money to cultivate.
I’d say that’s a must for our everyday lives, not just for one holiday during the year, would you agree? It’s especially valuable when you’re juggling a business or career along with your personal life and priorities outside of work.
(I have a special holiday gift to help you make it even easier to cultivate gratitude at the end of this article!)
How Gratitude Helps You Shift From a Problem-Oriented Mindset to a Solution-Oriented Mindset
Many of us are focused on solving problems, and when we spend too long in problem mindset, we can easily lose sight of the big picture – and then struggle to find the very solutions we seek to the problems we face.
Our focus on solving small, day-to-day problems, on putting out fires, responding to email, resolving a customer dispute, returning phone calls, it all takes us away from the solution-oriented mindset that we need to effectively deal with the challenges of the day. Yet this solution-orientation is the very mindset that will help us get where we’re trying to go. And although it’s valuable every day, it’s especially important when we’re navigating a change in our business, when we want to take our professional career to the next level, or wanting to make a shift to a more multi-dimensional version of success.
The more you can reframe your experiences, the more resilient you become and the more quickly you can solve those sticky challenges of the day… the better and more successful outcomes you’ll experience. I am not advising that you put a band-aid over a difficult situation or create a fictitious life for yourself. The reality is that we’re creating our own reality within our minds all the time. How we look at things completely affects the way we respond to situations, the way we go through each day, our ability to come up with and act on creative, effective solutions.
But while we may acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, it still can be difficult to sustain. So many of us are trained to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives. In order to experience the full potential of gratitude – and the resilience that’s on the other side of it – in our lives, it needs to become more than just a concept we celebrate at Thanksgiving, a once-a-year nice idea. We have to learn a new way of looking at things, cultivate a new habit. And that can take time.
The key with this tool is to know how to cultivate and incorporate it in real and effective ways.
How to Practice Gratitude
Here is one proven gratitude practice you can try today:
Mental Review: Do a mental review at the end of your day and think of 3 things that you’re really grateful for – maybe there are 3 wins in your business, 3 aspects of your workday that went well, 3 people you truly value. You can do this on your drive home, just before you go to sleep, or even in the shower. If you’re feeling stuck, ask yourself:
— Who or what inspired me today?
— What important lessons did I learn today?
— What worked well today?
— What brought me happiness or joy today?
— Where or when did I see something beautiful?
— What made me laugh?
— What brought me comfort or peace?
So how do you practice gratitude? You might appreciate the beauty of a sunset; enjoy a walk outside; feel grateful for waking up refreshed; closing an important deal; a conversation with a good friend; listening to a favorite song; help from a colleague with a challenge at work. All of these things are important to mentally document so you know what helps you the most.
A regular gratitude practice has the power to transform your life in a very positive way. But everyone is different in what might work for them.
That’s why I want to offer you a few more gratitude action steps that can greatly impact your professional and personal success (and ones I’ve seen major results with for my clients – and in my own life).
Once you take a peek, let me know what you think by sending me a quick email. What’s most important is that you take a few moments to focus your mind on your blessings and allow yourself to connect with the feeling of gratitude. That’s the essence of a gratitude practice.
So as we’ve just celebrated another Thanksgiving holiday… what are you grateful for today?