Tess Cox & Chelsea Cox Gillman: “Growth Mindset”

Growth Mindset — having a growth mindset enriches our life and allows us to live in the flow of gratitude. This means we are committed to being lifelong learners and seeing life as an opportunity to learn the lessons presented to us. As we all know, times are tough right now. In addition to the acute medical crisis […]

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Growth Mindset — having a growth mindset enriches our life and allows us to live in the flow of gratitude. This means we are committed to being lifelong learners and seeing life as an opportunity to learn the lessons presented to us.


As we all know, times are tough right now. In addition to the acute medical crisis caused by the Pandemic, in our post COVID world, we are also experiencing what some have called a “mental health pandemic”.

What can each of us do to get out of this “Pandemic Induced Mental and Emotional Funk”?

One tool that each of us has access to is the simple power of daily gratitude. As a part of our series about the “How Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness” I had the pleasure of interviewing Tess Cox & Chelsea Cox Gillman.

They are the mother/ daughter duo behind Tess Cox & Associates LLC, a leadership coaching and consulting firm. Tess is Principal and a Senior Executive Leadership Coach, Consultant, Author and Non-Profit Founder with 30 years of leadership experience. Chelsea is a Leadership Coach & Hospitality Consultant with over 15 years in luxury & lifestyle hotel operations management and leadership throughout the U.S.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive into our discussion, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about you and about what brought you to your specific career path?

I (Chelsea) joined Tess at TC&A in 2016 after a fast-paced, demanding hotel management career. I was looking to transform my career and life by focusing on creating life first and using my skills and expertise to serve others. Tess has always been an entrepreneur and visionary. She started TC&A in 2008 after spending years traveling the world as an Executive Leadership Coach.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Reflecting on our work together at TC&A, we have had many meaningful and interesting experiences as a mother/daughter coaching team. One of our clients that stands out is a hotel in Hollywood that we work with. I worked there in the food and beverage and events department early in my career. Then, a decade later we made our way back to the hotel — this time leading team training and leadership coaching for their managers. It’s been a joy to come full circle with this hotel and we’ve had a valuable experience and influence for the past several years as we continue to offer our services to the team.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why do you think that resonates with you? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“You are worthy of gratitude. Everything begins with the way you think. When you think more positively, you communicate and act in a grateful way.” This is one of our quotes from our Attitude of Gratitude online course. It resonates with us because we believe gratitude is the starting place for all abundance to flow, but internally and externally. Gratitude is so impactful because we can all, always find a way to be grateful and something to be thankful for.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story about why that resonated with you?

We both find reading to be a valued resource and support to our own continued learning. As we reflect on gratitude, I think we’d both agree that Brene Brown’s books have impacted us and encourage our own growth.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yes! This year we are launching The Engagement Blueprint which is a valuable on-boarding resource and program that will enrich company culture, empower individual employees within their roles and enhance leadership development. The blueprint is designed for Leadership, Managers, Human Resources team and employees. Whether employees have worked together for a period of time or are just entering into the new work space, The Engagement Blueprint will create positive energy, momentum and synergy within your teams. We are booking for this program for 4th quarter of 2021 and into 2022.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

We have a beautiful connection as mother/daughter and being business partners. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of Tess. We both have unique experiences that have led us to work together today and while we are family; we both have different strengths and personality preferences that encourage a strong partnership of working together. We are grateful for one another and to be on this journey of life and work together.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now that we are on the topic of gratitude, let’s move to the main focus of our interview. As you know, the collective mental health of our country is facing extreme pressure. We would like to explore together how every one of us can use gratitude to improve our mental wellness. Let’s start with a basic definition of terms. How do you define the concept of Gratitude? Can you explain what you mean?

Gratitude is being thankful, appreciative and grateful. Gratitude can help us express ourselves and what’s meaningful to us when we are engaging with others. When we lead and live from a place of gratitude, everyone is impacted externally and we are fulfilled internally. We know from experience that when you fill up your own inner self with gratitude first, it has a ripple effect to everyone you work and live with.

Why do you think so many people do not feel gratitude? How would you articulate why a simple emotion can be so elusive?

Gratitude is a feeling and an expression, yes, but it is also a choice. When we don’t “feel” grateful, that is actually the most important time to choose gratitude and immediately engage in a gratitude practice. 
It can feel elusive and often times people react and focus on what they lack rather than focusing on what they have.

This might be intuitive to you but I think it will be constructive to help spell it out. Can you share with us a few ways that increased gratitude can benefit and enhance our life?

Gratitude is an immediate mood enhancer and energy booster! Simply waking up and stating out loud 3 things you are grateful for or better yet, writing them down starts your day off with a grateful mindset; focusing on the things that are going well and what you do have over focusing on what you may be lacking.

When gratitude is shared and spoken into existence, it multiplies. Sharing your gratitude with others is one of the most powerful ways to have a connection and impact experiences with those you work and live with.

Let’s talk about mental wellness in particular. Can you share with us a few examples of how gratitude can help improve mental wellness?

Gratitude requires us to slow down, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes. Slowing down and being present is often underrated in our fast pace, on the go, do more, society. Being present allows us to fully process what we are thinking and what’s happening around us. Then we are able to release what doesn’t serve us, seek help and support with more clarity and ultimately return to gratitude in everything we do.

Ok wonderful. Now here is the main question of our discussion. From your experience or research, what are “Five Ways That Each Of Us Can Leverage the Power of Gratitude to Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness”. Can you please share a story or example for each?

  1. Growth Mindset — having a growth mindset enriches our life and allows us to live in the flow of gratitude. This means we are committed to being lifelong learners and seeing life as an opportunity to learn the lessons presented to us.
  2. Identify Intentional Behaviors — being intentional with our gratitude practice cultivates even more grateful feelings and behavior. When you wake up in the morning, say 3 things you’re grateful for out loud or better yet, write them down.
  3. Focus on the Internal and the External will be revealed — everything starts within. If you aren’t feeling gratitude, commit to doing the internal work to find your starting place of gratitude. When you make gratitude a priority internally, the external experiences will start to flow.
  4. Lead Yourself — leadership is generally thought of as leading others but have you ever thought about being the leader of yourself, first? Commit to becoming the leader of yourself by building your own gratitude practice and inner strength. When you do this, it will affect everyone around you.
  5. Simply Grateful — being grateful for all of the simple things in life is key. We like to practice mantras like: I am grateful for my life today. I am grateful for my work. I am grateful for the relationships I am building with others.

Is there a particular practice that can be used during a time when one is feeling really down, really vulnerable, or really sensitive?

When our feelings and emotions are heightened it’s even more important to slow down and keep things simple. As we mentioned above simply stating out loud 3 things you are grateful for before you get out of bed or turning right to your journal in the morning and writing 3 things down is powerful. You may need to set an alarm at first to remind you, or name your morning alarm, “What am I grateful for?”, so it’s the first thing you see in the morning. The simplest of acts are not always the easiest which is why being intentional and setting yourself up for success is key.

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that you would recommend to our readers to help them to live with gratitude?

Some of our favorite books and podcasts are by Brene Brown, Jay Shetty, Julia Cameron and Yung Pueblo.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

We would make a gratitude practice mandatory! When gratitude is at the foundation of everything you do, abundance flows in all ways. Spreading gratitude is infectious and brings energy to yourself and everyone around you. Try it now and shoot someone you care about a text or give them a call and tell them you are grateful for them, be specific and intentional, it will fill your heart and theirs.

What is the best way our readers can further follow your work online?

Teachable course — Attitude of Gratitude: https://lead-yourselffirst.teachable.com

LinkedIn & Facebook– Tess Cox & Associates

Instagram — @coachtesscoxandassociates

Website — www.tesscoxandassociates.com

Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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