Three words seem to be bubbling up everywhere this week:  grateful, thankful, and appreciative.  Most of us want to live by these more often in our daily lives; we want them to become a natural part of our daily mantra.  Besides having a powerful and positive influence on those around you, they even have some self-benefits to you. It’s easy to talk about an attitude of gratitude.  How do you act “grateful” and “thankful”?  To paraphrase (sorta) Forrest Gump, “Grateful is as grateful does.”

How do you show gratefulness?  Here are three possibilities for you to consider and try.

First Option: Do Something Special Right Now.  Think of someone who you appreciate for who they are, not for what they do.  Call them and say just that.  When’s the last time you wrote (on paper no less) a note and mailed it to someone to thank them for just being there for you.  Engage in appreciate behavior right now.

Second Option: Do something BIG.  By BIG, this means BIG for you.  If you’ve never worked in a soup kitchen, maybe this is the time to volunteer. Have you ever worked with Habitat for Humanity?  For more than a day?

Find yourself a one-time cause and support them.  Watch your local news and you’ll find several opportunities.  Give now.

Third Option: Do small steps multiple times.  The best example of this for me is Douglas Conant, former CEO of Campbell Soup Company.  He wrote notes.  He wrote lots of notes.  Every day, he wrote some notes. In one interview, he describes it this way, “As Campbell CEO, I sent 10 to 20 handwritten notes out a day. For example, I might have said, “I saw you did good work here. You got this line up and running on time.” Or maybe I said, “You helped us get into this test market ahead of schedule.” I avoided gratuitous compliments and focused on the business priorities; I had a part-time assistant who collected reports about what was going on in the company. Over my 10-year tenure, I wrote 30,000 notes. It got to the point where I felt something was missing if I didn’t have a chance to do it; I blocked out half an hour a day just to write the notes. “

Aristotle describes excellence as a habit, built out of what we repeatedly do. How will you build your habit of gratitude?

How Do Other Leaders Show Their Attitude of Gratitude?

Dana and I appreciate you.  We love sharing our sandbox with all of you and are thankful for the joy and energy you bring.

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