“The root of joy is gratefulness” – David Steindl-Rast
Gratitude is a seed that multiplies once planted. It grows and leads to transformation. I am amazed by the power of gratitude not only within the soul but beyond as well. In my coaching practice, I preach and encourage my clients to imbibe the art of gratitude on a consistent basis.
Personally, every month, I practice the art of gratitude by placing phone calls, or sending email, text or voice messages to mentors, coaches, and key members of my network to acknowledge, appreciate, and honor them.
This conscious effort acknowledges the past, without compromising the present. This small act influences the future by keeping the lines of communication open for future possibilities and opportunities.
Here are 5 reasons why you should be grateful:
- Gratitude softens hearts
- Gratitude uplifts the soul and spirit
- Gratitude transforms the giver and receiver
- Gratitude is free
- Gratitude is a gift that keeps on giving (it literally takes on a life of its own)
To amplify the importance of gratitude, I will share a personal story of my 1st annual performance review. This performance review after so many years remains indelible on my mind for a few reasons but most especially for the lesson of gratitude.
When I started out in my career, like many, I was a ‘raw’, hard working, and driven individual. I was of the opinion that the mantra of “working hard” and letting the rest fall into place was sufficient.
So I just worked hard.
Whatever I was asked to do, I did.
When the annual performance review rolled around, I was confident that I had done what was sufficient for a promotion. I submitted my review and anticipated the best news possible. So, imagine my utmost shock when I was informed I didn’t deserve a promotion and had to settle for a meager 3% merit increase.
Is this a joke, I wondered, a 3% increase? It’s been a while and can’t recall to whom I directed the bulk of anger but I was livid. Upset enough that my lips trembled and I had to fight the natural impulse to make a scene. However, I wanted to leave the room without acknowledging the feedback or saying thank you. But, I knew better and mumbled a half-hearted “Thank You” and left.
The day after…
Overnight, I gained some perspective and reminded myself of life’s gifts including my good fortune of a promising job in a great organization. I dragged myself back into my manager’s office and I reiterated what I thought I heard about my career, acknowledged my manager’s feedback and uttered a more thoughtful thank you. I think I said something along these lines “…thank you for your feedback and the bonus you administered on behalf of the company yesterday.”
I didn’t stop there…
I went to my manager’s boss and said, something similar and along the same lines. I think I said, “Thank you for the feedback and the bonus that was administered (assigned, would probably be more accurate) yesterday.”
A Life of Its Own
So, back to the story, it was the shell-shocked look on their faces that gave it away. I knew I had just performed an act that is extremely rare. That was my first lesson on Brand Differentiation. Remember that:
“If you do something different, you will get noticed.”
By stepping out and acting different, I separated myself from others and my actions took on a life of their own. My action opened doors and gave me unlimited access to my manager’s boss which eventually transitioned into a monthly mentoring lunch and much more. A habit I have maintained till date on my journey. Within that new year, I gained new allies, sponsors, and mentors that led to open doors and more opportunities in the office.
I want to encourage you to develop a “Gratitude Strategy” as well.
- Develop an attitude of gratitude
- Say “Thank You” often
- Take the time to craft a simple note to those who have helped you at work, school, business, and life
These are little things, but experts agree that in life and relationships, the little things matter. I want to challenge you to try gratitude. It might feel odd at first but give it a try. Trust me, the effect and results are out of this world.