As a leader, one of your first responsibilities is to see and describe reality as it is today. This is the foundation of casting a compelling vision. But part of casting vision means that you have to show the disparity between the way things are today and the way that they should be.
In other words, you have to see what is wrong and point it out to people. You need to do this as a leader.
But this can bend and warp the way that you view reality. It can shape your worldview such that you only see the negative. You only see what is lacking. You only see the gap between reality and vision.
This can damage you and those you lead. Your team will start thinking that you’re constantly criticizing. That you’re never satisfied. That all that you do is see holes and weaknesses and problems. They become resistant to your vision because all they hear you talk about is the gap.Leaders who express gratitude point out what’s good, not just the necessary changes. Click To Tweet
That’s why gratitude is such an essential practice and why I’m making a one-year commitment to express gratitude on a daily basis.
- I want gratitude to become the first words that people hear out of my mouth.
- I want gratitude to be the way that I approach the world.
- I even want to be grateful for the problems and the holes and the deficiencies because they mean that I have meaningful work ahead to experience.
I’d love to invite you to join me in this year-long gratitude challenge. If you need convincing, here are some reasons you should practice gratitude. If you’d like to join me, let me know on Facebook or Twitter with #gratitudechallenge.
In order to get the most out of the #gratitudechallenge, here are 14 ways that you can practice gratitude in the coming year.
1. Commit to give thanks IN everything, not just FOR something.
Gratitude starts with a commitment. Commit that you’ll give thanks even on bad days. If you can learn to be grateful in everything, you will learn the secret to gratitude.
2. Keep a less-than-5-minute gratitude journal.
Journaling doesn’t have to take a long time. In less than 5 minutes each day, you could capture what you’re grateful for. I’m using DayOne to capture my gratitude thoughts.
3. Start your prayers with gratitude.
It’s easy to start praying with requests. Instead, start your prayers by giving thanks to God.
4. Ask your family to share one thing that each person is grateful for.
If you have dinner with your family, take time during the meal to ask each person what they are grateful for that day. Don’t allow “nothing” to be an answer.
5. Tell your spouse something that you’re grateful for before you go to bed.
Let the last words out of your mouth be gratitude that you express to your spouse. This will draw you closer together.Let the last words out of your mouth every day be gratitude. Click To Tweet
6. Express gratitude at the top of every hour.
Set a reminder that, every hour, you will pause for 30 seconds to express thanks for something that has happened in the last hour. You’ll express gratitude all day long.
7. Make gratitude part of your daily shutdown ritual at work.
Do you have a specific way that you close out your day at work? Maybe a final check of emails and your checklist? Build gratitude into it. One person I know closes her day out by looking at her accomplishments of the day and giving thanks for her 3 biggest wins. This helps her end her day looking at the good, not the bad.End your day at work with gratitude, and you’ll feel like it was a great day. Click To Tweet
8. Express gratitude to your boss every week.
This isn’t about manipulation but about learning to overflow with thanks. Before you tell your boss what’s wrong and needs to be improved, make it a point to tell him or her something that you’re grateful for at work.
9. Write a thank you note.
Let people know that you’re grateful for them with a thank you note. It’s rare to receive a hand-written note from anyone, so this practice can help people feel your gratitude.
10. Express gratitude on social media every day.
Social media can be a hotbed for debate and criticism rather than for building relationships. You can help change that. Express gratitude every day on social media to let others know what you appreciate, not what you dislike. Use #gratitudechallenge
11. Express gratitude at the beginning and end of every meeting.
If you lead a meeting, let people know how thankful you are that they are there. Express appreciation at the end for their engagement.
12. Express gratitude when you say goodnight to your kids.
I don’t have to tuck my kids into bed anymore. But I usually give them a kiss goodnight. (My 13- year-old son will be embarrassed that I’ve now revealed this to the world.) Tell them how grateful you are that they are part of your life.
13. Express gratitude on birthdays.
I believe that birthdays are important. It’s the one day of the year that is your day. Don’t just wish someone a happy birthday. Tell them why you’re thankful that they were born. Express gratitude for some of their characteristics and the way that they enhance your life.
14. Take a gratitude picture every day.
Take a picture every day of something that you’re grateful for. You could combine this with a gratitude journal if you have a digital journal like DayOne. A gratitude picture helps you look back on the exact moment of your gratitude.
If you’re taking the #gratitudechallenge, don’t try to do all of these. Pick one or two of them and make them a habit. I believe that gratitude will become such a habit for you that it will overflow into a thousand other ways in your life.
Question: What are other ways that you could regularly express gratitude?