Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.
– Oprah Winfrey
Oftentimes we become so focused on fixing problems and resolving issues that our entire sense of reality shifts. In effect we begin to live in a bubble, for better or for worse. Because they demand our attention, the negative aspects of work and life become a disproportionate amount of our thinking – and eventually our perceived reality.
Re-center and shift your perspective by grounding yourself in thanks for what is good with you, or your team. What are you thankful for? There will be more than you realize. Health, relationships, business success? Perhaps use a few minutes in the shower in the morning, the first few minutes of your meditation, or even the first few minutes of each staff meeting to identify specific people and situations to be thankful for. Try to say thanks to at least one person each day, meaningfully, mindfully. Even better, write a note – by hand. Make it a self-sustaining habit, a routine.
I have much to be thankful for. For my parents teaching me the joy of learning, which eventually led me to discover Lean and Zen. For my wife for teaching me how to be more compassionate, which has completely changed my perspective on life. For business partners and associates that have put up with some of my wild ideas. For financial independence that has enabled me to visit over sixty countries and not have to worry about my day-to-day existence.
The periods of reflection on gratitude at the beginning and end of each day create calm bookends to what can be chaos. As problem solvers we are naturally dispositioned to focus on the negative, taking for granted the positive – to the extent that we often become oblivious and unaware of just how much positive there is in our lives.
Creating an intentional focus on gratitude realigns that perspective back to reality. Then expressing that gratitude in daily life by realizing the waste of complaining, complimenting and helping others, or just smiling, reinforces the power of being thankful.
Intentionally discovering gratitude, every day, has changed my perspective on life more than any other personal or professional leadership habit. I’ve discovered I have a lot to be thankful for.