Embrace Gratitude. Simple words in this time of Thanksgiving. This Thursday we will gather around tables small and large, and reflect if only for a moment, on the kindness and blessing in our lives. We will share food and fellowship. Football games will be won and lost. Turkeys stuffed. Vegetables roasted. Pies baked and meals blessed.
Studies show that when we embrace gratitude as a daily practice, we have more positive emotions, we sleep better and feel more alive. In turn, we express more compassion and kindness to others. When we do embrace gratitude, we turn from the discouraging towards the encouraging.
A daily practice of gratitude. Sit quietly in the early morning light and reflect upon the kindness and blessings in your life. Or in the warmth of the bedroom at night, write in a journal the goodness and blessings that have been granted to you. Or before a meal, take a moment to express the kindness and blessings of the day.
Share Gratitude: The essence of gratitude is that it is meant to be shared with those who have bestowed kindness and grace upon us. In this busy, hectic, self-indulgent world, we forget to pause and thank one another for their efforts for us, for their attention to us, for their love of us. Gratitude is not measured in syllables; it is measured in connection.
Some simple guidelines allow our gratitude to be felt:
- Express gratitude when you feel gratitude. Don’t hesitate until a perfect time, do it at the moment. The flip side of this is not to express gratitude if you don’t feel gratitude. People will see you are insincere.
- Be full-throated: A quick thank you may leave the recipient puzzled about your intent. Be specific as possible. Instead of saying, “Thank you for all that you do for me,” say, “Thank you so much for helping with Project A, especially your insights into how to improve delivery.” Gratitude is a deep rich feeling and should be expressed as such.
- Reach the recipient. In today’s world, we have a thousand ways of communicating with each other. What I have found is that when I include gratitude in group communications be it a town hall, social media posts or an email, the impact on the recipient is lost. A direct connection between my gratitude and the recipient is best. This includes an e-card, handwriting thank you note or a personal conversation.
I worked with a leader who would send handwritten thank-you notes to her staff when she was grateful for a job well done. Walking around the office, I noticed that these cards lingered in their work spaces for weeks, if not months, after being received. What a measurable impact this leader was having on her team.
Embracing gratitude is the act of appreciation for the kindness and blessings in our lives. It allows us to focus on the hope instead of the fear. It allows us to welcome the possibilities of the future. It allows us to know we are not alone in our journey.
(Used with permission from John Thalheimer, The Leadership Guide, please visit his website at www.johnthalheimer.com).