Thanksgiving is upon us once again. As scores of people prepare to travel across the land for a day of family, football, and food comas, it’s prime time to reflect on something else: Gratitude.
What are you grateful for? And what does gratitude have to do with your career?
Stick with me – We’ll get there.
We all have days when it’s difficult to feel grateful for much of anything. I remember times when I felt like the world was totally against me and appreciation was the last thing on my mind. It’s easy to feel thankful when life is great, but some of the most surprising reasons for gratitude can show up during your darkest days.
At the height of one of my most challenging struggles a friend suggested I keep a gratitude journal. I was skeptical. I thought, (1) What do I have to be thankful for? and (2) How can this possibly make anything better?
She convinced me I didn’t have much to lose, so I grabbed a few sheets of note paper and kept them on my bedside table. Every night before falling asleep, I’d scrawl down 3 things I was grateful for that day. There were times when I’d stare for long minutes at a blank page trying to scare up anything for the list. A lot of days looked like this:
I woke up
I have food to eat
My kids are healthy
Sometimes all you have are the basics – yet, the most fundamental things in our lives are decadent luxuries for much of the world. Without them the struggle is exponentially worse.
When was the last time you consciously acknowledged how good your life really is, even on the bad days? (Hint: If you woke up on the right side of the dirt, it’s pretty darn awesome.).
You may be thinking, “Enough already – What does this have to do with my career?”
When was the last time you consciously gave thanks for your job? Your customers and co-workers? Your boss?
Think about it. We spend a good 1/3 of our lives at work. How do you feel about your job? Do you wake up in the morning excited to take on the day, or do you repeatedly hit the snooze button, hiding under the covers until the last possible moment?
Attitude is a huge part of success in sales (and just about everything else in life). It can’t be faked for long. If you’re harboring negativity, it will slowly seep into your relationships with peers, clients, and family. You may not notice at first, but others will. It will eventually impact your quality of life.
Negative energy begets negative energy, creating a downward spiral unless you do something to stop the slide. Cultivating gratitude is a proven way to change your perspective. This is important because your success potential dramatically increases when you shift your attitude from negative to positive.
Consider how the attitudes below can affect your career:
If you’re living on the negative side of the equation, it’s time to make a change and a gratitude practice is a good place to start.
There’s no overnight miracle elixir that will change your circumstances. What I can tell you is that when I shifted my mind from dissatisfaction and scarcity to gratitude, things got better. As Dr. Wayne Dyer frequently said, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
If you’re feeling frustrated and find yourself drowning in negativity, I invite you to experiment with gratitude. Here’s a simple way to do it:
- Reflect: Take a few minutes to reflect on your day;
- Write down your top 3 things to be grateful for;
it out loud, “Today I
am grateful for… (each item on your list).” Giving voice to your
gratitude brings it to life.
Food for thought: Be grateful for the challenges – they may be opportunity in disguise. Courage, strength, and personal growth often manifest out of the toughest of times.
So, what does gratitude have to do with success? A lot, actually. Your mind is your greatest asset and what you put into it is ultimately what you’ll get back out of it. Gratitude moves you from a negative to a positive place and positive people generally feel more successful in life. When you begin to feel successful, you begin to act successful. When you act successful, you become successful. Gratitude places you firmly on a positive trajectory.
Look at it this way: To be grateful is also to be generous – generous with your appreciation. Generosity begets generosity. When you give freely, you will find others responding in kind and the encounters you have with your managers, peers, and customers will improve significantly. And just think of the difference you’ll make in the lives of your family and friends.
If you’re not happy where you’re at, carve 15 minutes out of your day to reflect on the things you’re grateful for. The return on your investment will be worth it.
This article was originally published at The Salesgirl Blog at kimlynne.com