If you said “yes” to any of the above questions keep reading…
With snow beginning to fall as I write this, it is easy to get into the Christmas spirit. Christmas is one of my favorite times because it encourages us to be more outward-focused and to be thankful for blessings and relationships in our lives. However, this article speaks to your daily living and daily business operations regardless of the time of the year.
Let’s face it, we all currently have, or have previously dealt with, close relationships in our professional or personal lives that have been chronically negative or pessimistic. Many times, we allow them to penetrate our hearts and not just get us down, but hold us down. In effect, we become less effective within our business or life in general. Many business owners and leaders are good at planning a brighter future for themselves. But many forget that you should also be focused on creating a brighter future for your team and clients. Indeed, that should become the ongoing fuel that drives your business and strategic outlook.
I challenge you to work, lead and live differently. I challenge you to grow a heart of gratitude. In doing so, I believe you can develop a life-long attitude of appreciation. It is one thing to simply be thankful as positive things happen to us. It is another thing altogether to cultivate a proactive gratitude focus in your daily living. Ideas like a daily gratitude journal as a part of your behavioral plan, offering intangible perks to employees or reaching out to your team or clients through unexpected means of communication can start to reinforce this concept. Additional ideas are listed below.
If you start doing proactive gratitude behaviors, you’ll find new ways to appreciate what is beautiful in your world despite your circumstances. If you become keenly aware to your daily attitude and how it affects your behavior, then you can truly see great change. In doing so, you begin seeing value and appreciate aspects of your business and life that you couldn’t see before. It validates that your future can always be brighter than your past.
Incorporating Proactive Gratitude Habits into Your Life
Though there are endless possibilities in how you can see gratitude transform your life and business, following are a few ideas to encourage you in taking the first steps:
- The Daily Gratitude Focus Journal – The challenge is for you to spend time each day to say or do something that reflects a heart of gratitude and is used to encourage someone else in life. This changes and grows almost daily as we interact in the business community. It becomes a planned behavior that begins to change you from the inside out. You can create your own version of this journal, and it is something you can have fun with.
- Weekly Gratitude Focus – For those who feel like the daily gratitude focus journal concept is too much, then you can easily start out by doing one unexpected act that shows a heart of gratitude each week. I began with this approach myself, and discovered it is a great way to learn the art of gratitude and make sure it becomes a truly integrated part of your life.
- The 15 Minutes Per Day Factor – People often say they don’t have enough time to do things they should, like prayer, exercise, meditation, journaling, spending time with family, etc. I believe a great approach to building a heart of gratitude is to start out by spending 15 minutes per day to think through all of the blessings that are in your life. You can write them down in a journal. You can pray and thank God for them. You can meditate on them. You can share them with your family at a meal and encourage meaningful dialogue, etc. The concept is that you commit to 15 minutes per day and make it a priority so you learn how to truly grow a deeper heart of gratitude in your daily living.
- Appreciate the Power Found in the Small Things – People often [PM1] obsess over their goals… landing a dream job building a nice home, finding a soul mate, etc. In so doing, we miss out in the small things in life that God has blessed us with. Focus each day on finding at least one thing that is truly small, but beautiful, like seeing a smile in a child and reflecting on the beauty in that simple expression of happiness.
- The 21-Day Gratitude Focus™ and “The Gratitude Principle™ – These are concepts from the Strategic Coach. The 21-Day Gratitude Focus is a great tool for allowing you to take a 21 day journey to build a heart of gratitude that can reshape your outlook on your life despite your circumstances. It is a simple resource that can be purchased on-line. I like to give to my coaching clients to use personally.
Reflecting Gratitude Through a Heart of Appreciation For Others
Many successful leaders I have met lack an ability to give credit to those around them for their success. Here are a few ideas to counter that trend:
- If you can show ongoing appreciation for the unique value and abilities in others around you, I believe you will see significant growth in your own leadership (and find a deeper sense of peace over time).
- You can also appreciate the opportunities you have now and take advantage of them, despite your circumstances. It doesn’t matter if you are faced with staff turn-around, sales challenges, personal life adversity, health issues, debt, etc. You can constantly respond by looking for ways to bless the greatest number of people and create a bigger future for them in the face of any adversity in life or business.
- You can show gratitude toward your greatest teachers and continue to learn from them. Leaders should always remain teachable, no matter their role or circumstance. Recently, I was able to have a deep, heart-to-heart conversation with one of my dear teachers, Ed Staub, from Staub & Associates. His shared love for others while serving God and paying meaningful deposits into the lives of other leaders like me is inspiring.
- Going the extra mile to really connect with your clients, team and circle of influence is key. It could be through meaningful cards, articles, gifts or contacts that would connect with that one personally. It could be simply an unexpected contact to ensure they know they are more than a business relationship. Don’t stop at the services rendered and payment received.
In closing, I want to encourage you to reflect on who you are today, and who you want to become. You can find yourself full of gratitude for those dreams and visions. I know I am extremely thankful that God has placed them within my heart and allowed me to not only access them, but see them for the gift from his hands that they truly are. As I write this at Christmas time, I want to remind you again of the true meaning of Christmas. I want to remind you how God did the unthinkable, becoming a child that would one day show us His desires for us all, while creating a door into a life of abundance with Him that goes well beyond this life. I personally believe no other act will ever allow the world to develop hearts that can be filled with gratitude more deeply. His undying love remains open to us all, and as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, I pray he would touch your heart and give you an amazing outlook as you prepare to walk into the opportunity of a new year.
I help my coaching clients focus on matters like these so they can see their business become more efficient, profitable and scalable, if desired. I also help them achieve better balance professionally and personally so they can see their business truly work to support their life purpose and vision. If you want to find out more about how this could be leveraged in your world, or if you want to discuss a business problem you are facing, feel free to contact me or call me at 717-615-2274.You are also welcome to share this article or other resources found on my blog (www.livewithpurposecoaching.com). Feel free to contact me if you or an associate would like to join my blog or receive this article as a PDF.