I've been thinking a lot about gratitude. I am a firm believer in the concept, "you get what you give" and have seen it play out in my life (and the lives of others) on a regular basis. Related: 7 Tips For Becoming A Leader At Work In everything we do and say in our lives, we are emitting energetic vibrations and those frequencies that we emit come back to us in the same fashion. (Some refer to it as karma). Therefore, being kind and loving will bring that back to you, as will being angry and frustrated. The more angry and frustrated you are, the more you experience things around you that are frustrating and make you angry. The more kind and loving you are, the more you get back experiences that include kindness and love. If you think about it, I'm sure you’ll recognize how this concept plays out in your life. And, that's why this practice of gratitude is so important. The more you appreciate what you have in your life, the more you receive and experience things that you can appreciate. Why? Because typically you attract into your life that which you focus upon. It's amazing (but not surprising) that during the recent presidential election two different individuals had completely different reports about the presidential debates. One interpreted things President Obama said as very condescending and inaccurate, whereas the other interpreted what he said as applicable and respectful. Both watched the debate and saw completely different things because they were focused on different things. One focused on what Obama was doing wrong and one focused on what he was doing right, and that's exactly what they experienced. That’s why expressing gratitude and appreciation is so important. Each day, despite how awful the day might have been, I find and write down (in my gratitude journal) at least five things for which I am grateful. Sometimes I am simply grateful that the day is over and for the unconditional love of my animals, but regardless, I list five. The more things I list, the more I find to be grateful for because that's what I am focusing my energy and attention upon. I use this concept in my coaching practice with my clients. I find that many of my clients in high level leadership roles and high pressure positions deal with a lot of negativity, and are often focused on what's wrong in their environment and the problems that need to be solved. While this is clearly a part of their job, it's also important for them to focus upon what's right and what there is to appreciate. When I suggest focusing upon what's right and ask them what they are grateful for in their position, I'm sometimes met with a bit of resistance; however, when they take a step back and pause for a minute, it becomes quite easy for them to articulate what they appreciate about their leadership positions. Does this eliminate the problems they have to solve? No, but it does allow them to approach the problems from a more positive perspective which then makes the problems easier to solve. They also notice that when they focus upon what they are grateful for with their teams, they begin to elicit more of those behaviors from the team. Focusing upon the positives and appreciating those characteristics draws more of that behavior into their environment. Yes, THAT is exactly why I keep a gratitude journal. The more I focus on appreciation, the more I receive things to appreciate. The same holds true for all of us. Even if you are in a job situation or on a career path where you want to make changes or are unhappy, try to find five things about your current situation for which you are grateful. Even if it’s that you are grateful that you know you want to find another job or a new career path; be thankful for that! Keep a gratitude journal for the next 60 days and each day write down five things to appreciate. I guarantee that by day 60, you will have many more things showing up in your life for you to keep appreciating! This month’s development tip: Start a gratitude journal specifically related to your career or leadership role. Every day write down at least three things you are grateful for related to your career or your role as a leader.
July 12, 2014