October 14, 2009

attitude of gratitude

Thanksgiving is an opportunity to think about what I am grateful for.   I like the reminder to pause and reflect.  I sometimes focus on the parts of my life that aren't working rather than the parts that are.

I read an article on the weekend about coaching kids to help them learn to experience gratitude.  The process suggested in the article - such as thinking about the situation where someone helped, what the benefit was, the intentions of the person to help - is valuable for anyone.  It makes it specific too.  It is relatively easy to say 'I am grateful for having helpful work colleagues'.  It requires something more to say 'I am grateful for Rick tracking down that letter that I needed and sending it to me, even though he had a deadline this morning'.  I find the latter creates a profound connection to the feeling of gratitude.

The personal impact of feeling grateful is compelling.  I know I would like for everyone of us to be 'more satisfied with our lives and more optimistic...less depressed and happier.'   The impact is highlighted in the chapter on the fourth element of 12: The Elements of Great Managing.  The authors explain the impact of expressing gratitude - through recognition and praise - in the workplace.  The reasons for ensuring your business has this culture of recognition are compelling - such as a 10-20 percent increase in productivity and revenue, as well as increased customer loyalty.  The authors also note the same beneficial impact on the individual of expressing gratitude to someone else.  Positive benefits that can last for a month, such as in the example given of writing a letter of gratitude to someone.  The person expressing the gratitude benefits, the person receiving it benefits, and the business benefits.

Feeling gratitude, and feeling gratitude and expressing it.  What would our world be like if we took that on?

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