Why is Gratitude so Powerful? Here are Three Ways Being Thankful Impacts Your Life
One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving. It’s one of the few times during the year when we pause and realize how blessed we are. I’m very grateful for my wife, children, and grandchildren, along with the special moments and memories we share. I’m also grateful for my friends and colleagues who give support and encouragement as we journey through life together. I enjoy my business, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve numerous clients. But most importantly, God’s love, care and blessings are something I’m truly grateful for. Throughout my life, there have been many times of success and times of challenge and despair. Regardless of life experiences, I believe there is always something to be thankful for.
Why is gratitude so powerful? I believe three significant results will occur when you are thankful. Life’s perspective will change; you’ll have a positive influence on others; and your business will experience a significant impact.
1. Gratitude Changes Your Perspective
Expressing gratitude has always been a universal practice. Children, regardless of culture, are usually taught at an early age to say “please” and “thank you.” People understand being grateful demonstrates courtesy, respect, and kindness.
It’s easy in life to get discouraged when faced with difficult situations. Feelings of hopelessness and despair can be overwhelming. Often you begin playing the comparison game with others. This will create a “life isn’t fair” attitude, which results in a critical, frustrated, and angry outlook on life.
A report from Harvard Medical School says that giving thanks can make you happier. Developing an attitude of gratitude can change your perspective. You will be amazed at the changes you experience. Begin and end each day by identifying one thing to be thankful for. Choosing positive thoughts will change you from the inside out. After a time it will become a habit. Before long, you will notice how your outlook, countenance, and relationships change. Gratefulness is a powerful tool that can change the trajectory of your life.
No matter the age or stage in life, even in tough situations, there is always a reason to be thankful.
This past summer, due to a decline in my 91-year-old mother-in-law’s health, she had to be put in a nursing facility. The transition was extremely difficult. For over 72 years, she and her husband lived in the same house. The sudden change was devastating. In her words, “this is the most difficult thing I’ve had to do in my life.” The kind, gracious and thankful attitude that consistently marked her life, was now overshadowed by complaining, sadness and a critical spirit. However, over time her perspective began to change as she was encouraged to focus on the many blessings she was surrounded with. Her circumstances didn’t change, but her outlook and countenance did. She chose to develop a grateful attitude. No matter the age or stage in life, even in tough situations, there is always a reason to be thankful.
2. Gratitude Impacts Others
Grateful people show kindness, mercy and grace. Imagine the impact which would be felt if kindness was shown. It would change reactions and responses in relationships and situations.
Here are a few practical suggestions of showing kindness, mercy and grace…
- Develop a daily habit of being thankful
- Choose compassion over criticism
- Look for the positive rather than negative
- Choose your words carefully
- Focus on others rather than yourself.
- Encourage rather than degrade
- Compliment instead of complain
- Choose forgiveness over punishment
- Respond softly rather than harshly
- Don’t be a victim, be a victor
A few years ago, I was diagnosed with advanced stages of prostate cancer. It was a difficult time in my life. As the healing process progressed, feelings of discouragement, frustration, and impatience were very real. The lack of energy, motivation, and focus kept me from doing the things I enjoyed. Words of encouragement, acts of kindness and compassion helped me get through very challenging days. Those times taught me the importance of showing the same level of kindness and encouragement to others.
3. Gratitude Will Impact your Business and Career
Business is typically seen as a “survival of the fittest” environment. Dominating your competition and making money is usually the measurement of success, but there’s more to it.
Whether you are a business owner today or aspire to become one, now is the time to demonstrate leadership with an attitude of gratitude.
Business is all about leading people. Successful ownership requires strong leadership. Setting the right tone, along with clear expectations, creates direction for your team. Leading with integrity and by example is ultimately the difference between success and failure. Whether you are a business owner today or aspire to become one, now is the time to demonstrate leadership with an attitude of gratitude.
Here are few practical suggestions of how leaders can show gratitude…
- Be intentional with thanking your employees. Thank them individually for their contributions
- Show kindness, extend mercy and demonstrate grace in difficult situations
- Actively and regularly compliment employees for what they do best, focus on the positive
- Remind them each day how grateful you are for them
- Encourage an environment of gratefulness by being the example
- Remind your customers how grateful you are to be serving them
- Remind your employees how fortunate you are to have customers
- Treat your vendors the way you want to be treated by your customers
One of my favorite leadership statements is… “What would my business be if everyone in my business was just like me?” Creating an environment of gratitude will transform your organization into a magnet that will attract the best employees and great customers. A few simple behavior modifications will have an amazing impact. Showing gratitude in life and business makes all the difference.
I want to challenge you during this Thanksgiving holiday season to consider showing more gratitude and thankfulness. You will be amazed by the powerful impact it will have on your life and those around you.