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At this time of year, it’s tradition to reflect on what we’re thankful for, but in order to thrive both personally and professionally, I’d suggest embracing an attitude of gratitude year-round. Here are some methods I’ve found to incorporate that into daily living.
1. Mind your manners
As I grew up in Ireland, my mother made certain that my siblings and I were polite and mannerly. Her constant refrain was, “It costs nothing to say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you'”. I’ve never forgotten this timeless and valuable bit of counsel, and offer it to my own kids. Such conversational gestures might seem disarmingly simple, but their impact is extraordinarily powerful; someone who is well mannered will make a mark, and likely stand out in a competitive and transactional marketplace. So, if you want to be remembered for all the right reasons, mind your manners.
2. Count blessings
When you let all there is to be grateful for escape your daily thoughts, it’s easy to drift towards feelings of entitlement and/or negativity. To remind myself, my wife and I begin every morning with a prayer of thanksgiving — a practice that never fails to ground us and remind us of how lucky and blessed we are. Before we get caught up in to-do lists and other tasks, we have already tapped into a positive and grateful mindset. Try it for yourself and see the phenomenal benefits, not only in mood and outlook, but in personal and professional relationships. A mantra I embrace is that, “gratitude and entitlement cannot exist at the same time”.
3. Appreciate the simple things
Embracing gratitude as an attitude of the heart has little to do with what you possess, or don’t. If you focus on being grateful for even the simplest things — such as the beauty of nature or wildlife in your backyard — you will be gifted the ability to see the wonders of existence as if once again through the eyes of a child. We are surrounded by miracles; if you can train yourself to notice and appreciate them, your life will transform and you will become truly and dimensionally grateful.
4. Learn to give and receive
Many find it easier to express gratitude than to accept others’ thanks or appreciation, but it’s important that you learn that often tricky skill. When someone goes to the trouble of expressing their gratitude and you minimize it — even innocently or unknowingly — you risk depreciating its value and even damaging the relationship. So, when gratitude is expressed to you, acknowledge and embrace it wherever and whenever.
5. Spread the love
Gratitude is contagious: the more you practice it, the more it spreads. Make a habit of asking yourself, “Who can I express gratitude to today?” Whether to family members, friends, colleagues, business associates and clients (or them all) reach out and express how much you appreciate and value them, and how grateful you are for them. The simple truth is that there’s no point in being grateful and staying quiet, so don’t impersonate the Sphynx: express it!
Gratitude is one of the cornerstones of a good life, and indispensable to true success. The more you express it, the more you’ll see a radical change in how you think, feel and behave. If you can embrace, express and receive gratitude, your mindset will improve, your relationships will grow and flourish and your life and your business will be transformed. Before you know it, every day will be Thanksgiving!