A consistent space that we create at our firm is our weekly growth meeting. Here we reveal more of who we are, where we are seeing success and frustration, and how we can improve as a firm and as individuals. Now, if you thought this meeting was strictly strategic…you’re in for a treat! While strategic and corporate growth is important, this weekly growth meeting is an investment in our people.
One question that is a weekly staple during this meeting is, “What are you grateful for?”. This question does not specifically ask about gratitude confined to the day, week, or firm, although it can be. Rather, it is open-ended and aimed to ask about any and all aspects on one’s life, causing one to reflect on the recent impactful moments that they have had or witnessed.
It’s Timeless Value
A person whose life is defined by gratitude is one who chooses to look and respond to what positively moves them in life. Nobody is exempt from chaos, challenge, adversity, or the unknown. Therefore, it is our ability to reflect, recognize, and act in gratitude that sets the tone for what our lives are marked by.
It is unlikely that this is the first time you have heard about the value of gratitude. We hear about it in music, conversations, books, signs, and certain holidays! We know it positively impacts our mental and physical health, relationships, emotions, and experiences. Though you may have an awareness of it, remain intentional to how it plays a role in your life today. The key to finding gratitude is to pursue it in a way that is meaningful to you within your current season of life. For example, you may find yourself full of gratitude when journaling one season, yet in another season going for a walk is the primary way you become in tune with what you are grateful for.
Whether it is a weekly reflective question, daily time of deep breathing, or something else, practicing gratitude routinely will bring significant value to every stage in your life!
How To Practice Gratitude
As you assess how you want to incorporate the practice of gratitude in your life, consider implementing the following ideas. The first two are inward practices of gratitude, meaning others are not actively involved, while the second two are outward practices, making others the focus. Remember, it is not a particular ritual that helps mold one into a grateful person, rather the ability to be vulnerable and open that makes routine practices powerful.
- Gratitude Journal – A gratitude journal is nothing fancier than a notebook filled with your written thoughts. This is a practice that allows you to reflect freely as there is no reporting or sharing required. It is a very personal process, where your vulnerable and true expressions can be pulled from your mind and laid before you to see and remember going forward. If you want to adapt this to your lifestyle, consider how often you will write in it. Will it be a daily, weekly, or monthly exercise? Also, will you start with the same prompt each time (i.e. “What are you grateful for today”) or switch it up (i.e. “Who are you grateful for?”, “How do you express gratitude?”)?
- Visual Reminders – Some of the things that draw out our gratitude are pillars in our life. For example, a spouse, freedom, the sun, and/or friends are each things that have a place of permanency in our lives. Let’s face it, without them life would be vastly different! It can be easy to become so accustomed to their presence, that we forget to express our gratitude. Once you know what your pillars are, create visual reminders within your personal space so that you are consistent in reminding yourself and them how grateful you are. Some ideas for these visuals are sticky notes in your kitchen, a picture wall in your bedroom, or a charm bracelet.
- Verbally Communicate to Others – A simple way of putting this is, “if you see it, say it!”. Sometimes, especially if not practiced often, expressing gratitude can seem like a big deal. Do not get so caught up in the exact wording or timing of your communication. Rather, let it flow freely right after you see something in someone that you are grateful for. This practice requires you to search for the good. You can be the recipient or observer of something that is incredible. In either position, communicate it! Your verbal language is powerful in affirming, encouraging, and valuing what you see and feel.
- Physically Communicate with Others – We can be grateful for those we know deeply and those we never share a word with. To communicate that, we can use our body language, which can be just as powerful as our verbal language. If you observe someone holding the door open for another person, caring for their child, or serving, smile at them, give them a thumbs up, wave, or wink! If you are closer to someone, you may want to hug them or give them a high-five! This practice allows you to take immediate action on the emotion of gratitude.
Discover Your Gratitude Journey
There are many expressions that fall under the gratitude practices above. There are also many other ways to practice reflecting and responding to feelings of gratitude than the ones listed. Be creative and take time to discover when your feelings of gratitude come most alive!
Gratitude starts with a feeling, but it leaves us with unmatchable joy and growth when we actively reflect and express that feeling. A grateful person is not merely one who wants to be marked by gratitude, but one who takes action in recognizing and expressing it.
How do you plan to institute the practice of gratitude in this season of your life?