An Attitude of Gratitude

Rewire your brain to think more optimistically and scan the world for the positive first! Read how this simple technique can change your outlook on work, relationships and life!

I recently celebrated my 7-year work anniversary at Kane Learning. Just typing that brought tears of gratitude. To say I am grateful for the work I get to do every day and the people I get to do it with doesn’t even begin to capture how deeply I feel it.

Now, that’s not because I hated what I did before this. I’ve had a great ride and am incredibly grateful for my career journey. Who knew a part-time job selling bras and panties could lead me down this path?

When I paused to reflect on the last seven years, I felt overwhelmingly grateful. Grateful for my husband who fully supported taking this risk. Grateful for my kids who have shaped the way I see the world and continue to bring leadership lessons to life for me every single day. Grateful to my parents who always operated with a growth mindset, even before I knew what that was. Grateful to leaders who were terrific role models and were willing to take a chance on me. Grateful for smart, kind, generous friends and colleagues who have helped me in so many ways on this journey… and believe it or not, my list was only getting started.

What I realized in this litany of gratitude is how much feeling grateful has played a role in my life and in my success.

I’m far from perfect. I’m impatient. I’m bad at providing clear direction and disappointed when you don’t know exactly what I want. I have high expectations and lose my cool when I think someone isn’t holding up their end of the deal. I take my frustrations out on my husband because I know that’s safe… but the one thing I can honestly say is that I am consistently grateful.

I wake up feeling grateful for the sun. I feel grateful for strength and flexibility when I do yoga. I feel grateful for friends and laughter. Gratitude is natural for me.

I have learned over time that gratitude can also be a powerful tool. When I’m feeling down or stuck on a challenge, pausing to think about, or write down, a few things I’m grateful for quickly moves me to a better place. I can think more creatively, let go of frustration or negativity and get things done.

I’ve made taking stock of what I’m grateful for a regular part of my daily routine. I just take a few moments here and there to pause, close my eyes and count my blessings. It’s easy to do, for there are many.

According to Shawn Achor (NYT Best-Selling Author and Researcher) – even the act of speaking to others about what you’re grateful for can deepen social bonds – especially in the work place. Just think, if before your next team meeting, everyone started by saying something they’re grateful for… it can be something as minor as “I’m grateful that my mom brought us a tray of her homemade lasagna for dinner last night.” When doing this, you deepen social connections because someone else on your team might think “I love lasagna” and then you form a bond.

You can actually rewire your brain to think more positively by writing down new things you’re grateful for every day. This basic exercise will allow your brain to work more optimistically and more successfully, and your brain starts to retain a pattern to scan the world – not for the negative but for the positive first.

So, let’s get started, what are you grateful for today?