Gratitude Practice for Leaders
How gratitude practice can help you grow as a leader
In this article I will explain why it’s worth incorporating gratitude practice in your daily routine, how it can impact you as a leader, improve your relationships and increase happiness. I will also give you a few examples on how to practise gratitude.
It’s worth mentioning, that gratitude is not about disguising reality and making it look better than it really is. Gratitude about finding a balance between the good and the bad things in your life.
Why practice gratitude?
The power of gratitude practice
Gratitude practice helps you to focus on the good things in your life. When you shift your focus to positive things, you more often choose the things which are positive for you. Over time you can create a snowball effect of positive things which you notice and attract.
With this approach, in spite of difficulties you’re experiencing, you can always find something you can be grateful for. This makes you more resilient and helps maintain your motivations during turbulent times.
Apart from that, gratitude changes your attitude and energy you bring to your interactions with people. It also influences the way you respond in difficult situations and how you make decisions.
Gratitude gives you the feeling of abundance because you shift your focus from what you lack to what you already have.
What can you be grateful for?
You will be surprised how many things you’ll find. But I know that some of us struggle finding things to be grateful for. So what could you be grateful for if you haven’t got anything special or above average in your life? Here are some examples, but the list is much, much longer.
Examples of things you can be grateful for:
- That you are alive
- Your skills
- Your home
- Your pets
- Your team at work
- Food on the table
- A cup of coffee
- Clean street you walk on
- Tools you use
- Someone smiling at you
When you start thinking about things and events you can be grateful for, you’ll also automatically think about people who make all those good things happen for you. E.g. clothes you’re wearing and hands which made them, delivered them to you etc. With time you will notice how your relationships begin to change.
How to practise gratitude
If you want to start practising gratitude or improve your existing gratitude practice, here are three ideas on what you can do.
3 ways to practise gratitude
1. Gratitude sessions
Set a specific time of the day to dedicate to your gratitude practice. It can be any time and here are some examples when you may find it convenient for you:
- After you wake up. Let your first thoughts of the day be 3 things you’re grateful for.
- On the way to work. When you walk, drive or ride you usually have some spare time when your thoughts wander aimlessly. You could use this time in a productive way.
- Brushing your teeth
- Miracle Morning routine
- When you go to sleep. If your last thoughts of the day are positive it puts you in a calm, peaceful state for better sleep.
You may even want to do your gratitude practice more than once during the day. E.g. first and last thoughts during the day dedicated to gratitude are a great way to approach it.
No matter who you are thankful to: other people, God, your good fortune, the universe or yourself, just think about what you are grateful for and focus on this feeling.
2. Gratitude letters
This is an idea on how to express your gratitude to others. You can write a gratitude letter to someone, meet them and read it out loud in person. It’s a very powerful way to show the people in your life your appreciation.
3. Practise gratitude in difficult relationships or in conflict
This is my way of approaching people in difficult situations or in conflict, when there’s a lot of resentment. In such situations it may be nearly impossible to have difficult thoughts about the person you’re dealing with. But you can change your attitude. Below I describe my method. I use this technique especially before a difficult conversation with someone.
Here is how:
Find 3 things you can be grateful for to this person. That’s it.
You should be able to find three things in most cases. However, if you really can’t, then try to find three good things about them. It can be something very trivial or more substantial e.g. they have a nice jacket, they were on time yesterday, they have a good relationship with someone else.
You’ll notice how the energy changes in meetings when you do it beforehand.
The obstacles to gratitude
Like I mentioned before, it’s not always easy to feel thankful. You can find it challenging to practise gratitude. It may be because of resentment but also due to your thinking habits. Here are a few more reasons why it happens.
Let’s start with the sense of entitlement and self-importance. Exaggerated feelings of self-worth and entitlement are one of the biggest roadblocks on your gratitude journey. We live in times when we are told that we deserve all the best things, it creates a sense of entitlement and makes us take things for granted. This is just the opposite to feeling grateful.
Other obstacles are self-preoccupation and the lack of empathy. These two are closely related, people who are self-absorbed often lack empathy. In this type of thinking pattern it’s difficult to focus your thoughts on the outside world, yet be humble enough to be thankful.
When you notice this kind of tendency in your thinking, try to shift your focus and even more for that, practise your gratitude!
You may also like:
Gratitude is one of the greatest joys you can experience. It can make you a happier person, a more compassionate leader as well as improve your relationships. You can take control of your thoughts and improve their quality by shifting focus to positive things.
Thank you for reading 🙂
Ready to start your gratitude practice? What are you grateful for? Share in the comments below.