Gratitude Leads to Success And Pleasure (and that’s no turkey)

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Thanksgiving is around the corner and I’m musing about gratitude.

Gratitude is a feeling in response to an act or gift. Be that act a warm ray of sunlight warming your back on a cold morning, the embrace of your beloved or getting your first big career break. Gratitude is a transcendent moment of grace, in which you know you have benefit from something.

But that is one half of gratitude the other half is expressing a deep sense of thankfulness. Offering sincere thanks doesn’t happen independently or automatically. You have to use your noggin to purposefully express your appreciation in concrete terms.

Which has more impact for you?

“Thanks, Amy!”

“Thanks, Amy for helping me practice my talk. I was able to weed out the extra words which improve it.”

Gratitude Leads to Success And Pleasure

Being actively grateful leads to being more open to experiences, ideas, being extroverted and agreeable. It opens the door to your ability to use other strengths and skills, like curiosity or perspective.

Research shows that grateful people:

  • Enjoy their work more than others
  • Are more likely to achieve goals
  • Focus less on materials goods and more on what matters most to them
  • Are more likely to feel connected to people and life
  • Enjoy life-  they are happy
  • Have better moods, exercise habits, and sleep well

If you never learned the lesson of thankfulness, begin now. Sum up your mercies; see what provision God has made for your happiness, what opportunities for your usefulness, and what advantages for your success. – Ida S. Taylor

But Don’t Be Too Grateful

People say you can be too grateful.  You can.

Overuse of gratitude is ingratiation. Yuck. Profusely saying thanks can make people uncomfortable and less likely to extend their help to you again. Paying to attention to the words you use you say thanks, when you say it and how you do, given the situation.

And not being grateful enough can be just as counterproductive.

At the extreme it’s a complete inward focus and “I don’t need anyone” attitude. You can overlook moment express thanks to your sibling, spouse or colleague. You can lose perspective of an event, a success, a relationship, etc.  Or you may not have the whole picture of what it takes to keep a business going and the pressures that result. Isolation and misunderstandings can be the end result.

For gratitude to work for you – and everyone else – you need to strike the right cord with your words and delivery. And you need find the sweet spot between too much and too little.

3 Ways to Be Grateful Without Groveling.

  1. Pick one small, important thing that you have taken for granted.  For the next 5 days pay attention to it and see what you discover.
  2. Pay attention to when and how often you genuinely say thank you. Speak honestly, simply or not at all.
  3. Jot down 3-5 good things that happened each day and WHY they matter to you.

Thank you, for reading this email. It matters to me that you take time to spend with me.

Do you have a story about gratitude? If you have a minute I’d love to hear about it

6 Traits of Amazing Mentors (and why you need one)

This year I joined a mastermind group and am fortunate to have found an amazing one. We serve as a lovingly honest advisory board for one and other. This group of folks cares more about being kind (willing to point out “the good”, “the bad” and the “what the heck?”) than being nice (for the sake of avoiding creative conflict and therefore growth).

Being in the group is like standing in the middle of a circle of mentors; at times a little intense and uncomfortable but worth the scrutiny. We challenge each other to. . .

  • Ferret out the very best ideas out of all the ones we dream up.
  • To see failures as a temporary, if a wee painful, experience from which we can still extract something useful (won’t do that again, but will do this).
  • To give credit where it’s due.
  • To walk in time to our own drums and welcome others to join the journey through our businesses.
  • And to sometimes to just keep moving forward.

I ask you, who could not use a person (or group of people) like that in life?

Mentors Help Us Be Our Best Selves

Good mentors understand the difference between inspiring guidance and the ability to coerce others to “do-what-I-say”. They set an example by using their best traits to direct their efforts and their tribes. They set a pace and will nudge you forward, if you let them.

And the very best mentors share 6 traits I see reflected in my mastermind group.

6 Traits of Amazing Mentors

Passionate and Clear Point of View. A distinct voice and viewpoint that they passionately embrace without coming off crazed. They know why they do what they do and it shows.  

Mindful Listening. A world-class ability to listen deeply, they hear what you don’t say, as much as what you do say. They notice your feelings and thoughts and catch the nuances – even when you are on the phone. They don’t judge and help you make sense of what’s going on in your head, heart and gut.    

Honesty. They carry a suitcase of integrity at all times. What they say is true. How they act aligns with what they say are their values. They say what needs to be said, especially when it is hard, to spur deep learning and effective action.  

Zest. They expect the best and confidently work for that to be the case. They enthusiastically embody a “you can do it, it can be even better” attitude that spreads to those around them. It’s not a put on- it is part of who they are.  

Warm Regard for Others. They genuinely care about what they do and the people in their lives, including their teams. They consistently find small ways to let this show without being sappy. They hold people accountable in the spirit of compassion and what they see as the potential being missed.    

Modesty without Undervaluing. Self-assured without being a blowhard or devaluing what they have to offer they confidently step back and find ways to help others shine.

So are you are an amazing mentor? Have you seen these same traits in your best mentors? If you have a minute, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, or on twitter.