Foster an Attitude of Gratitude

On the heels of many people around the world celebrating the Easter season, we wanted to take the opportunity to circle back and revisit the power of having an attitude of gratitude and the impact it has on our lives and overall effectiveness as leaders and human beings.

Everything you do begins with your mindset. It defines how you look at the world and will drive and influence your behavior and how you show up. Your mindset, which is defined as the established set of attitudes held by someone, isn’t set in stone, even though it can feel that way sometimes. 

Changing your mindset and developing what we would call an attitude of gratitude is a process that requires you to confront your most deeply-held beliefs, values, and ideas about yourself, those around you in your personal professional circles, and the world around you.  

Every action you take and every word you speak is generated in your mind, so if your mindset is fixed, rigid, or negative, you may experience challenges in your life and some bumps throughout your leadership journey, too. 

Developing an Attitude of Gratitude

A growth mindset is all about the attitude with which a person faces challenges, how they process failures, and how they adapt and evolve as a result. In business, honing the ability to learn and grow after a setback or challenges is key to establishing a culture built on continuous learning and growth. It is also about believing that one’s skills and abilities can be improved, and as a leader, helping the people around you to develop these skills is also critically important.

You may be thinking that your purpose as a leader is to inspire people and drive your organization forward successfully. That is true, and remember you set the tone with your behavior and thinking. Your people will feed off your energy, what you say, how you say it and the behaviors you exhibit. If your role is to develop others, then logically you must set the right example for your people to follow.  

The benefit to you as a leader and human being is that you will feel happier, less stressed, and ultimately, will be more productive and successful. Those around you will feel appreciated and supported, and grateful people tend to be more supportive and helpful than those who aren’t.

The Power of Choice

Life is all about choices and choosing to be grateful is entirely up to you. Would you rather wake up and choose to be angry, frustrated, jealous or ambivalent towards others?  As we have noted in past blogs, the human brain will naturally look for the negative first unless you train it to do otherwise. Gratitude is a practice that will assist in rewiring the brain, so that we reflect on the positive first. We are not suggesting we ignore our blind spots and that there won’t be tough decisions and adversity in our lives. How we choose to react to those situations is within our control.

Before we unveil a few simple best practices, we want to be respectful and address the fact that there are people who might feel more challenged to find the good in others and in the situations they are confronted with as they navigate through their busy lives. One in five Canadians suffer from some form of mental health issue, and simply shifting your thinking might not feel possible without some additional assistance and support. 

Best Practices to Develop and Attitude of Gratitude

#1. Practice Daily Gratitude

For those of you who we have had the privilege of working with, you know that sometimes we ask our participants to complete a gratitude homework assignment where they need to pause for a few minutes each day and reflect on 3 things they are grateful for in their life.  We provide a journal as a tool to help them keep track and encourage them to look for the small things, not the big things that matter most. One of the most gratifying experiences for me as their coach and facilitator is to listen to the insights and stories that come out of this experience.  

So, now we are encouraging all of you to pause every day, whether it is first thing in the morning, throughout your day or as you lay your head down to sleep at night, pause and reflect on 3 things that you are grateful for in your life. Making it a daily best practice is a game changer as it will shift the energy that you bring, how you feel mentally, physically, and emotionally and it is contagious, too.  

#2. Show Support and Be Appreciative

Appreciation is a leadership best practice. When we appreciate what others do well, they will ultimately repeat it in the future. It is part of cultivating an attitude of gratitude and high-performance culture as it is hard to be grateful if you don’t appreciate what you have. When you take a moment to recognize and relish what’s good around you, and in others, you will see more goodness taking place.

It also supports the strength-based leadership philosophy that we advocate in our work.  When you play to your strengths, you perform better. When you look for good in others, you will find it. If you look for the negative, you will find that, too, but start with the positive first, Retrain your brain and learn how to strike the right balance between positive and constructive feedback with yourself and others.

#3. Verbally Express Your Gratitude

Canadians supposedly say “thank you” a lot, and we are known worldwide for our politeness and manners. It’s just a Canadian thing and it’s not a bad thing, so let’s leverage it to our advantage.  

The key is recognizing what you’re grateful for and being specific when you are offering that gratitude or thanks towards others as that is what will help them grow and flourish. It is part of practicing the strength-based leadership philosophy we just noted. Of course, saying “thank you” is an excellent way to start, but there are also other ways to show your appreciation by being specific about what they have done well. An example: “You facilitated that meeting with confidence, you were organized and engaged everyone in the meeting. Really well done.”

Gratitude Matters

Practicing gratitude has been linked with many benefits, such as improved mental and physical health, increased happiness, and resilience when faced with challenging times and stress.

Embracing and cultivating gratitude increases energy, enthusiasm, determination, and optimism. Gratitude plays a role in deepening relationships and connections personally and professionally.

Grateful people tend to be more dialed in and empathetic towards others which will help prevent negative emotions such as anger, stress, anxiety, or depression.

Gratitude is a Choice

Gratitude is the ideal attitude because it makes you happier, healthier, and more creative.  People who practice gratitude have greater longevity and can handle stress more effectively than those who don’t express feelings of appreciation for what they have in life.

Negativity is like a clogged drain; it prevents us from coming up with new ideas and thoughts that propel us forward. Research shows that gratitude makes you more creative, and when your mind is filled with negative thoughts, it’s challenging to be open to new ideas and creativity.

Cheers to Grateful Times Ahead!

Gratitude is a powerful emotion that can change our lives for the better and it can make us happier, healthier, and more successful. When we express gratitude, we send the message that we value others and by being grateful, we open ourselves to receive more goodness in our lives.

What are your thoughts on this topic? We would love to hear from you so feel free to reach out to me at or by calling 416-560-1806.

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