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Leadership Lessons: Giving, Getting and Gratitude

The following was sent to me by one of our Total Leadership Connection's facilitators, Frank Walsh. Frank is an engineer and very logical in his thinking. He also knows how to look at the power of the "system" (or how everything fits together).

Taking something as amorphous as gratitude and putting it into an active form really does make magic happen. Take it from engineer Frank, even logical thinkers win when they move from head to heart. Enjoy.

Start with gratitude.

How do you feel when you launch into your daily routine? Can you get excited about what lies ahead or are you filled with apathy or worse? The way you start your day can really set a tone for your attitude all day long so it is important to give it a little consideration. I'm not going to tell you to eat breakfast (you should) or exercise (you should), but there is one small thing I recommend that has the potential to make a big difference.

Be grateful.

Before you try to do anything 'productive' for the day, stop. Get yourself in the moment and reflect on the day before. Take your time and allow yourself to find at least three things that happened for which you are grateful. This doesn't have to be 'saved from a burning house' level gratitude. Mundane is OK and small things are just as good as big ones. Maybe a co-worker offered a kind word. Maybe you had a nice meal. Maybe your favorite television show was on. Whatever. Replay the moments in your mind. Now, WRITE IT DOWN. One sentence about each thing is enough to cement it in your mind. If you want, follow the list of things for which you are grateful with a short journal about anything positive from the day.

Do this every day for a month and I bet you won't want to stop. Don't punish yourself if you forget a day. That misses the point. Give yourself permission to 'bank' gratitude for a day or two if you need to, and don't feel guilty about it. No one is grading this assignment and no one will judge you.

By starting each day by thinking about the good things that happened the day before you can build a positive reinforcement pattern. You KNOW good things will happen today because good things happened yesterday and the day before that! Give it a try and let us know how it impacted you."