Mother of all Virtues
The feeling of gratitude is a very potent positive emotion. But what are we grateful for? Most of us will be grateful for the big things, like a good job, a happy family, a nice house and a luxury car. These are some obvious examples of things which we are commonly grateful for and rightly so.
However, when was the last time we were grateful for the small things? For example, are we grateful for fresh air, sunlight and the people who plant the trees by the roadside so we can enjoy the shade on a sunny day? Are we thankful to the security officers for checking our bags and bodies to ensure safety for everyone? When the lift is being fixed, are we grateful for the opportunity to climb the stairs for the good exercise to strengthen our heart? Are we grateful when we are faced with a roadblock or unexpected setbacks, so we can develop empathy and compassion towards those who face similar situations?
To be open and mindful of the small details in life only helps us in gaining greater appreciation for the bigger blessings which come our way. Being grateful for small things only magnifies our feeling of thankfulness when a bigger win happens. We want to be grateful for the people who have helped us along our journeys of work and life. When we do so, people would want to support us even more. Think of those people who we have helped but nary any appreciation was given; now, think of those people who we helped and were so sincerely grateful. Which group of people would we prefer to support in the future?
This is a good illustration of how being grateful and having a heart full of gratitude multiplies the good we can do for each other. In other words, goodness increases with gratefulness. This is proven in the highly credible Mankato study, among many others, which shows that people who practice gratitude, enjoy better health, greater achievements and yes, they do live longer and happier lives.
The key here is to go to bed and wake up every day with gratitude. Go through your day looking for little things to be grateful for and notice how your life changes as you marvel at the better things that come your way. Embrace your mother of all healthy virtues. Embrace Gratitude.
Phillip’s Case Story
Phillip was a high-ranked executive in a logistics company just one reporting line away from the Chief Information Officer (CIO) post in his organization. Unfortunately, he has a reputation for being hard to work with and is seen as aloof and distant.
When a department made a call to fill vacancies, Phillip was shocked to find many under him made the switch. Not making things better shortly after was when he was overlooked for the chief level post when the incumbent retired.
Sensing something amiss, he reached out to his peers. He was told he was a competent executive. However, his lack of gratitude for the contributions and recommendations from his peers or direct reports was hurting his reputation.
Realizing he had to change or be changed, he sought the help of his mentor to chart him a path towards being a more grateful person. Acting upon the advice, he carried a small heart-shaped stone in his pocket as a reminder of want he was grateful for everyday. Phillip also started to write down daily in his gratitude journal, the things he felt thankful for and how he would express that to others each day.
His token and notes gradually made him more aware of the valuable support he got from his colleagues, friends and family. He began to thank and demonstrate appreciation to those who added value to his day. Phillip felt more joyful in each present moment as be continued to focus on appreciating the people around him and began to find gratitude in even small things like a glass of mineral water.
Soon, his image as a distant person become a distant memory and people wanted to be on his team again as they felt appreciated for their efforts. Perception of him changed as he began to express his gratitude to others. As Phillip persisted with his new lifelong habit, his life eventually turned around for the better. His mastery of both people and result orientation earned him high respect from all key stakeholders and led Phillip to becoming a role model CIO of the company.
“Be grateful for little things every day and notice how your life changes as you marvel at bigger things that come your way” – Dr Marshall Goldsmith and Dr Peter Chee
Use the steps as follows to make it easier for you to get results.
1. Watch the video by Jack Canfield, the co-author of Coaching for Breakthrough Success with Dr Peter Chee and take not of your key learnings.
2. Answer the transformational coaching questions to help you focus on what you need to do.
3. Download the tool below to help you keep track of what you are thankful for to raise your awareness on being grateful.