I’m blogging & posting about gratitude & celebration this month because, well, it’s December and “tis the season.” However, I am learning much about both that I’m glad I chose this topic.
I usually post for my clients – leadership ideas, tips for thinking strategically, managing change effectively, or how to get your career in gear. But this post is more for me, I hope you benefit from it too!
I look around the world and realize there are so many things in my life for which I am grateful. I have a caring husband, a career that I love, and a supportive community of family, friends & business partners. I am over five years cancer free. I have clean water, a safe roof over my head, and enough food to eat.
I found some interesting gratitude projects to share with you:
365 Gratitude – This movement started when a young woman was depressed and was coached to write down one thing each day for which she was grateful. She chose to take a photograph daily, and discovered that by focusing on being grateful she changed her life. Others have taken up the challenge in creative ways. //365grateful.com/
The University of California, Berkley’s Greater Good Science Center – They study psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teach skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society. One of their core themes is gratitude. //greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/gratitude
Since most of you read my blogs because of my leadership focus, I’ll include examples of how gratitude can help your organization.
Forbes magazine – “Gratitude in Business: The Appreciation that Inspires Employees” says "Of every kind of gratitude that matters in business, one of the most vital is a company’s appreciation for its great employees. Even more than money, an environment of gratitude, the opportunity to serve with great leaders and genuine appreciation inspires employees to engage fully and to produce stellar work.”
Harvard Business Review – “How Gratitude can Help Your Career” wrote “Who are you in those moments when you are grateful? How do you show up? What are you doing? How are you behaving with yourself and others? Go back to those moments of gratitude and bring them into your present. Reminding yourself of what you have already done in the past is a much more reliable way of shifting your behavior — much more believable, reasonable, doable, repeatable, sustainable — than starting a whole new behavior in the future. You’re remembering, not inventing. You are already the person you aspire to be.”
Pepperdine University’s Graziadio Business Review – “Gratitude at Work” states “When an employee believes his or her superiors are grateful for his or her work, the employee will benefit by having an improved sense of worth to the organization. This improved sense of worth can lead to performance improvement, thereby benefiting the organization.”
If you want to create a culture of gratitude in your organization, you have to start with yourself. You must model gratitude.
Document what you are grateful for - Write, photograph, or draw something each day for which you are grateful. Do this for at least 30 days. You will be surprised how focusing on gratitude can shift your attitude. It could be things from work - your project got approved, you completed all the performance appraisals, the photocopier didn't jam, the coffee was hot, or the system didn't crash. You could also record things from your personal life - family, volunteering, your commute home, or the view out your window.
Practice gratitude - Thank others for doing something that you appreciate. Be specific about what the person did, generalities don't work. And talk about the impact that it had on you. This can be verbal or written. I'd recommend a letter over an email because emails can dismissed as not meaningful. Thanking others may seem uncomfortable at first, but that's normal. Keep practicing, it gets easier.
Review - At the end of the month, or the end of the year, look back on what you have recorded as being grateful for. Reflect upon what you have learned, and how you have changed.
I am grateful for many things in my life and work. I'd better start modeling gratitude. Thank you for reading my blog! Your comments help me stay motivated.
Tis the season! Enjoy and be grateful for all you have been given.
Want to talk? Valerie.MacLeod@HainesCentre.com