Leading With Gratitude
“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” ~Charles Dickens
Americans talk a lot about thankfulness this time of year. The holidays tend to bring out a “count your blessings” state of mind for many of us. We are grateful for our families, the food we partake, the gifts we exchange.
Yet gratitude – the state of thankfulness – should not be a once-in-while practice. Entrepreneurs, especially, can benefit from dedicating time every day to acknowledging what’s good in their lives and consciously adopting a grateful outlook. Studies have shown that business owners who practice daily gratitude have an edge over those who don’t.1
Here are just a few of the benefits from incorporating a time for daily gratitude into your day:
1. It puts you in a positive frame of mind. Instead of dwelling on the things that aren’t going to plan, practicing daily gratitude allows you to appreciate the things you have accomplished. James Clear, author of Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results makes it a point to say one thing for which he’s grateful at dinner every day. It’s a small thing, but it can reset negative energy into positive energy for everyone at the table.2
2. It improves your physical health. A negative attitude is closely linked to stress – and stress can wreak havoc on your physical health in a variety of ways. Reducing stress benefits your positive health, leading to better performance physically and mentally, both at work and in your personal life.
3. It strengthens relationships. Grateful people tend to see the good in other people and often recognize untapped potential in others. For entrepreneurs, this trait is beneficial in relationships with employees, clients, suppliers, and anyone who supports the business.
4. It inspires others. Have you ever met someone who gave off such a positive vibe that they lit up every room they entered? People are drawn to that kind of energy. If you’re constantly operating from a place of stress and negativity, you run the risk of losing clients and employees.
5. It improves productivity. As you reduce levels of stress through a grateful mindset, you are able to operate at higher levels. You may be able to concentrate for longer periods of time and get more done as you go through your day. As you inspire others in your office, you’ll probably notice an increase in their productivity, too.
6. It allows you to roll with the punches. Business owners can never really anticipate what the day might bring. A grateful frame of mind can help you remember that you have many things to be thankful for, even as things don’t go exactly to plan.
7. It opens you up to new opportunities. Gratitude is closely related to positive thinking, and positive people tend to be more open to building new skills, learning new tricks and exploring new paths.
Adopting an Attitude of Gratitude
How do we adopt an attitude of gratitude? The first task is to practice daily. Set aside time – even five minutes – every day to acknowledge the things for which you are thankful. It doesn’t matter if these things are large or small, significant or mundane. It only matters that they are important to you.
During your time of reflection, focus on the things that are given to you freely.3 For some, that might be good health, family, or faith. For others, it might be intellectual capability or a naturally high level of energy. What do you possess that money can’t buy? Use those things as the foundation for your gratitude.
Remembering your journey and acknowledging the obstacles you’ve overcome along the way can also help you develop your sense of gratitude. Entrepreneurs often have a story about where they’ve been and how they got here. Instead of lamenting the rough patches, be thankful for the lessons gained during the hard times.
If you’re having a difficult time shifting into a grateful mindset, here’s a little trick: Remember that it could always be worse. Negative visualization is the practice of thinking through your circumstances and analyzing all the ways they could slip into worst-case scenario.4 This exercise will often reframe your thinking, allowing you to see your current situation in a more positive light.
1. Christine Comaford. Forbes. Nov. 19, 2017. “Great Leaders Have An Attitude of Gratitude – Do You?” https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2017/11/19/great-leaders-have-an-attitude-of-gratitude-do-you/#60d58f1428f3 Accessed Nov. 8, 2018.
2. James Clear. “Use This Simple Daily Habit to Add More Gratitude to Your Life.” https://jamesclear.com/gratitude-habit Accessed Nov. 8, 2018.
3. Chris Myers. Forbes. Mar. 21, 2018. “Why Entrepreneurs Need to Practice Gratitude Each and Every Day.” https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrismyers/2018/03/21/why-entrepreneurs-need-to-practice-gratitude-each-and-every-day/#309b29ed1216 Accessed Nov. 8, 2018.
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