Six Ideas for Cultivating Gratitude in Your Life
“Just wanted to let you know that I thought that you did a great job on that committee presentation last week”
“You are a Rock Star – your help with the kids really made the difference”
“That article was sooooooo good . . . . ”
“You have such a green thumb”
“You were dynamic, well-spoken, engaged and engaging – it was a pleasure to spend time with you yesterday”
How do you feel when you receive a note like those above? It makes you happy. Subconsciously you ‘puff up your chest’ a bit. Receiving compliments and expressions of gratitude are uplifting and validating. You probably weren’t looking to be noticed, but it certainly feels good to know that someone did.
Admit it – it feels AWESOME to receive a compliment!
How do you feel when you send a complimentary note to a colleague or a friend? It’s a different feeling, isn’t it, but equally as rewarding.
Sidebar: You may not be comfortable sending notes like these, especially in the work environment! I get it. Some people (like me) – well, it’s our personality, we are all business – we are not wired for the touchy-feely stuff. (Believe me, I could write a book about this). So this is going to take a little bit of work. For us, you and me, this may need to start as a task. Trust me, becoming adept at expressing gratitude in your business and personal life is a great strategy for your personal success.
Back on task . . . .
Think about the notes of gratitude that you have received. Besides all the really good stuff they said about you, what are some of the commonalities? Think about the people. Here are some things that I noticed:
- They are positive people with positive attitudes.
- They are attuned to life’s little pleasures. They have an appreciation and recognition of the little things.
- They are ‘glass half full’ thinkers. They have an abundance mentality.
- They are successful. Not necessarily rich and famous successful, but definitely achieving success in their chosen endeavors – ‘happy in their skins’.
- They are the kind of people that I want to emulate.
Think about it – A positive, successful person with an abundance mentality took time out of their busy life to send me a ‘feel good’ note. How cool is that, and how do I become that person?
Cultivating Gratitude in your Life really is quite simple. Try these six ideas:
- Express gratefulness for the big things – spouse and kids, extended family, friends, job and career. “I am grateful for parents that pushed me to think bigger.”
- Sharpen your skills of observation – notice the little things that you are grateful for – a full pantry, clean clothes, fresh water. Become more aware of the blessings of nature – the crispness of the morning air, the vibrant color of the sunset.
- Exercise your gratitude muscle. Expressing gratitude may not come naturally – you may need to train your brain to be more grateful. The best way to exercise gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal. Note one or two things you are grateful for each day. After a few weeks challenge yourself to expand your notes and your writing – become more specific. “I am grateful for my team” becomes – “I am grateful to have a team of professionals that focus on the needs of our clients every day, on every project.”
- Share the things that you are grateful for. I received a note the other day from a friend expressing how grateful he was that all three of his kids had summer jobs lined up and understanding my happiness that both of my kids were ‘off my payroll’. I was so glad for him …. and told him so. “I am grateful that my kids have become financially responsible adults.”
- Give a positive compliment every day. Consider identifying a target of your gratitude first thing in the morning. Look for opportunities to compliment them. You will probably be amazed at how many opportunities that they provide. You may be embarrassed that you didn’t notice them before. “I am grateful for the always pleasant attitude of the attendant at the parking garage.”
- Acknowledge compliments that you receive in a positive and humble matter. A compliment is a precious gift – they are not sold at the complement store on the corner.
The tools are simple – note cards, gratitude journal, and a pencil. By using these tools daily, acknowledging the good in others, yourself, and the world, you will become more aware of the positive things in life. You will become ‘that person’ that others want to emulate.
This week . . . actually right now would be good time to start.
Send a quick text or email to your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, or just a friend – thanking them ….. well, just for being them, or, if more appropriate, for putting up with you. Add a little smiley face from me.
Making gratitude part of your life is really quite simple. Like everything worthwhile it sometimes requires a nudge. Consider this your nudge.
. . . . go have an Awesome Week!