When we think of behaviors that lead to success in the workplace, gratitude is not usually the first attribute that comes to mind. However, cultivating a spirit of gratitude has numerous physical and mental benefits. It’s also a simple way to improve emotional intelligence, build resiliency to stress and develop a positive attitude—abilities that are essential for impactful leadership.
When you choose to have gratitude, you can expand your focus to see more happiness and opportunity in your daily life. For example, how often do you ruminate on the challenges, stresses, and your never-ending to-do list? It can seem like if you just work harder, happiness and success will be right around the corner. However, when we focus our attention on the “lack of”, we unintentionally restrict our mindset and sense of choice, which hinders our productivity as well as increases our chances for burnout.
As you emphasize gratitude, you shift your mindset from being fixated on stress and “what’s next?” to seeing the opportunities that already exist in your life. Research proves that happiness and having a positive outlook are precursors for success, not the other way around. When we train our minds to view life through a gratitude lens, we cultivate an optimistic, confident attitude, enabling our brains to be more engaged, productive and motivated at work.
It takes time to build a lasting habit. Start small, don’t overwhelm yourself, and develop a gratitude practice that works best for you. Schedule a few minutes a day to focus on one, or more, things you are truly grateful for. Use a journal or simply take time to reflect, as long as you allow yourself to fully experience your gratitude. You can take your practice a step further by initiating a “gratitude break” during times of stress, and observe how it affects you.
So, what might happen if you adopted a habit of gratitude that continued beyond this year’s holiday season? How might it affect your relationships, success in the workplace and impact as a leader? When do you want to start?