This week, we in the U.S. will take Thursday to gather with family and friends to celebrate and give thanks for the many blessings of our lives. To some of us, this time of year is stressful because there is all of this travel, family, friends, cooking, and shopping stuff that suddenly intrudes in our lives on top of all of the other stressors that never seem to go away.
As you reflect on the holiday, consider that gratitude is a very powerful tool that can dramatically improve your capabilities as a leader and your life.
- People who are grateful appreciate each day, and the gifts it brings. Gratitude builds resilience in the face of stress because grateful people can find the silver lining in adversity.
- Grateful people have positive energy and others want to follow. During the first few milliseconds of contact with you, others decide whether they’re safe with you or they need to raise their defenses. Positive energy radiating from gratitude will make others more receptive to you.
- Leaders who appreciate the people around them and show that appreciation are better able to motivate their teams.
By contrast, people who do not feel gratitude see every task as an obstacle and even if they are successful, they feel vulnerable. They do not enjoy the ride. Setbacks make them angry and hurt. They have a lot of negative energy and people do not want to be around them, much less follow them.
When you think of the inspiring leaders in your life, did they appreciate you? Did they present you with a vision of opportunity and possibilities or a vision of struggle and loss?
So how do you build gratitude in your life? Like anything, cultivating gratitude takes practice. Every night before you go to bed, take a few minutes to close your eyes and think about what happened that day that you have to be grateful for. If nothing immediately springs to mind, start by reviewing your day, starting with when you woke up. On a bad day, your list of things to be grateful for may be that you woke up in a safe warm bed or that you had enough to eat and drink.
Looking for things to be grateful for may help you to remember that a co-worker extended himself to help you when they saw that you were having a tough day. It may help you to see the opportunities that life may be presenting to you. It may even help you to calm your mind so that you can enjoy a restful sleep.
So this season, take the opportunity to increase the gratitude in your life and see what comes. You will be glad you did.
QUESTION: How do you channel gratitude in your life?
Leadership/Career Coach Kris Ishibashi works with leaders to bring together their skills, their authentic selves, and their intentions to inspire their organizations to superior performance. Click here to set up a complimentary consultation.