Benefits of Gratitude: How to Use Gratitude to Be a Better Leader
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Mom said there would be days like this — even in Australia

I wake up late because my iPhone is stuck in “Do Not Disturb” and with my first step out of bed I step on a Transfomer. Ouch, that hurts! It’s raining outside and I can’t find my car keys. I reach down to pick up my briefcase and spill my coffee all over the floor. I look in the mirror and realize I forgot to shave. I think this is going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Arriving at the office, I find a cluster of people around my office manager’s computer. She just sent an unfinished email to my whole email list. As I walk to my desk, the phone starts ringing. It’s my biggest client, she’s really upset! It takes me 40 minutes to talk her off the ledge…Finally I look at my email; there’s a message from the company I did a big proposal for last week. I open it expectantly! Nope, they gave it to that other firm. This truly is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Sound familiar? We’ve all had them, right? Staff problems, customer issues, tight cash flow, trouble with the lease… There are so many things that can go wrong in a business owner’s day.

Benefits of Gratitude

But I could have written about that same day this way (and it would be just as true):

I wake up and realizing that my house is warm and snug. As the room starts to get lighter, I notice that my 4 year-old has climbed into bed with me. Even though I’m running late, I pause to snuggle his little warm body. It’s raining outside. I’m glad to have a car and be able drive to my office; instead having to wait for a bus, or walk in this terrible weather.

Arriving at the office I find that my team is working together to solve a problem with our email newsletter. Walking to my desk, the phone starts ringing. My biggest client is calling to tell me about an issue where we disappointed her. I always appreciate feedback; it gives us a chance to get better! Moving on to my email I see that we lost out on a big proposal. I’m disappointed, but confident that another opportunity is just around the corner…

Both versions told different stories about the same day, all that changed was my perspective…

But what does this have to do with improving my business performance?

The perspective we carry into our day can make a big difference in our performance, and the performance of the people around us. People who choose to be grateful are more likely to appreciate the help that other people give them (even if they send a half-finished email to your whole mailing list). If you were good at seeing the help that your team was offering, and the effort they were putting into doing it, how might that make you a better boss? Would you feel less alone and more supported?

But there’s more! People who “count their blessings” get more sleep at night. Would you perform better with an extra hour’s sleep? If you slept better would you be sharper? Would you have more patience? (I would!)

Gratitude can also make you more empathetic, optimistic and increase the loyalty of your team members. Am I getting your attention?

We can’t afford to be negative. We can’t afford to be “busy”, overtired or isolated. We need to find some gratitude. Lucky for us, we’re staring down the barrel of Thanksgiving — a holiday practically designed to get us to flex our gratitude muscles.

Thanksgiving as a national holiday was first established in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln. In the midst of a civil war and an unprecedented loss of life, Lincoln realized that there was much to give thanks for and he issued what became the first of an unbroken series of presidential proclamations recognizing our need to give thanks.

I am so grateful that I can share my thoughts and ideas with you. So many of you have expressed to me that you value these articles — thank you. I’ve learned much more by writing them than you have from reading them, and I’m grateful for the chance to do it.

Happy Thanksgiving,

From all of us at Anchor Advisors

Photo credit: ilyinov

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