Cultivating the energy of gratitude
Last week’s annual celebration of Thanksgiving in America is just one of several reminders I’ve had of the value of gratitude, and particularly the powerful positive energy it releases, over the past few weeks and in a number of different settings. And for that reminder I am grateful.
One experience was with a group of leaders at a talk exploring mindfulness in the workplace and being asked to reflect on and then share three things they had been grateful for during the day. In that sharing what had been an engaged though polite and slightly restrained group suddenly changed. People were animated and enthusiastic. The volume rose in a good way. And the room was enveloped in a cloud of positive energy.
Often in work and in life we look for the gaps, the deficit, what’s wrong and needs fixing rather than what’s right. Some of this may be about our fundamental wiring as human beings. A lot of it, especially in the workplace, is about the pressure to meet targets and deliver results and the pace at which we need to move to do so. Reflecting on and then sharing our sense of gratitude takes time we may not feel we can spare
Yet stepping back to appreciate what we have, and the efforts of others would release a more positive and purposeful energy in ourselves, our team and our organisation, stimulating actions and behaviours that generate even more to appreciate.
As leaders we can tap into this energetic resource by founding our practice on cultivating the energy of gratitude – incorporating it into our reflection, actively looking for what’s going well and expressing our appreciation openly and from the heart.
That doesn’t mean we don’t address problems, rather that we approach them with an attitude of positive resolution and an openness to appreciating the experience. It’s an attitude that will transform the result.