The start of the year is a useful time to reflect on the previous year and be grateful. And yet, over the last couple of years in particular, I often see comments after each year – “isn’t it great to kiss 2018 goodbye?”. There might be a few bad experiences and all of a sudden we write off the whole year as being terrible. That negativity bias definitely has a way of infiltrating our lives!
It’s been shown the act of gratitude can have a significant positive effect on our resilience and also our leadership (not to mention our health, happiness and wellbeing). It can also be trained and increased with practice!
How do we use gratitude practices to increase our sense of wellbeing, resilience and leadership?3>
1. Make it a ritual to look for the small wins, the tiny micro moments of joy.
Often we will do the opposite and maybe gripe at the end of the day to our partners about the times people annoyed you. Instead, make it a habit to point out to yourself and your loved ones, when things worked out.
LEADERSHIP HABIT: Start or finish a meeting with words of gratitude that you and the team can share with each other.
2. Look for micro moments of connection and make it count.
Increase your wellbeing by making it a game to get a smile out of the people you meet in everyday life. It might be doing something kind for a family member, listening to a colleague, opening the door for a stranger. Look for acts of kindness that you can practice every day and it will increase your own happiness.
LEADERSHIP HABIT: Focus on connecting with teammates. Perhaps it’s remembering a birthday, an unexpected public thank you or a saying good morning when you enter the office.
3. Create a family ritual of gratitude – get your family involved.
Perhaps it’s sharing something that you’re grateful for at the dinner table or before bed time or if you have kids in the car on the way home from school. If it’s a ritual, it will encourage people to think about and look for something to be grateful for during the day.
LEADERSHIP HABIT: Leadership starts at home. Character, integrity and authenticity is not only to be practiced in the office but also at home. In fact, it’s when we are not ‘on’ that it can be the most challenging to practice this but good to reinforce for ourselves.
4. Write it down.
This time of the year, you can use the season to choose one, three or five people who you want to thank this year and let them know what you are grateful for. Of course, you can practice this throughout the year with a thank you card. Or if you really want to level up on this, consider writing a letter to someone in your life that has had a profound effect on your career, family or life.
LEADERSHIP HABIT: Set some time aside weekly or monthly to practice writing words of gratitude to those around you – bonus points for handwritten notes!
5. Take a moment to appreciate the miraculousness of life.
The Greeks would say ‘memento mori’ which means ‘remember that you will die’ and so appreciate the preciousness of life, don’t sweat the small stuff and make every day that you are alive count!
LEADERSHIP HABIT: Let’s bring humanity back into the workplace. Share the personal triumphs within your team as well as the professional ones.
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