Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Blessed day all ~

Hoping this day finds you full of grace, peace and gratitude for all that you have in your life - possessions, people, health, faith and love. I want to share some information that a dear friend, Roz Usheroff, passed along as it is poignant this time of year as we celebrate and give thanks.

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” – 13th century German philosopher Meister Eckhart.

Gratitude is not a new concept for any of us. To this day, leadership books echo Eckhart’s advice. I invite you to consider gratitude from three perspectives: a way to increase joy in good times; a way to lessen pain in bad times; and a way to build your brand by giving voice to the gratitude you naturally feel in your heart. Because as novelist GB Stern said, “Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.”

Be grateful in good times.

Thankfulness is a great equalizer. In good times, it leads us to acknowledge that our success does not belong to us alone. See your success and good fortune in the context of the support, love and encouragement you have received over the years. Gratitude does not take away anything from you. Instead, I believe, it increases the joy you can gain from your success.

It is easy to see who understands the role of others in their success when listening to acceptance speeches at an awards dinner or watching the Academy Awards.

Compare James Cameron’s declaration he was, “king of the world,” when he received the Oscar for the movie ”Titanic,” with Jamie Foxx’seloquent and moving speech of gratitude when he won an Oscar for his performance as Ray Charles in “Ray”, which ended with a tearful tribute to his grandmother. Both speeches are on YouTube and are worth the study in contrast.

Those who are genuine in their gratitude toward family, friends and mentors move us when they speak. And in that moment, a connection is created.

Be grateful in difficult times.

Gratitude helps us maintain perspective when we are faced with adversity. In the face of losing a job, a promotion or a contract, we can still be grateful for the family, friends and loved ones who are part of our lives. In the face of personal loss due to illness, death or another tragedy, we can be grateful for those around us or a job that gives us structure and meaning during a difficult time.

Just as you have a professional network, you must also be part of a resiliency circle of close family and friends who are there for each other when things are good or not so good. Once on the other side of personal or professional tragedy, be sure to go back and thank those who stood by you on your darkest days.

Giving voice to gratitude.

There are many ways to give voice to your gratitude. Before doing so, think about the person you are thanking. Is he a private person? Would she appreciate public praise? Would a nice lunch together be appreciated or awkward for them? Observe how they thank others, as that is likely how they would prefer to be thanked.

Think about some of the nicest, most meaningful “thank you's” you have received in your life. What made them memorable?

Without prescribing any one way to say thank you, here are some ideas to consider:

• Make it personal. Hand-written notes - No matter how virtual the world becomes, there is something deeply personal about a note penned in one’s own handwriting on personal stationary.
• Choose your words. Don't just dash off the first thing that comes to your head. Take some time to craft your words – whether spoken or written – in a way that will hold meaning for the recipient.
• Pick up the phone. Ah, the telephone -- that semi-useless instrument on your desk beside your computer. It can be easier to impart sincerity and emotion with your voice than with a keyboard.
• Get creative. There are many online tools that can help you create personalized mementos from photos of a shared event or create some other symbolic way to memorialize a victory or milestone.
• Give a small gift. It is important that any thank-you gifts be appropriate and larger in meaning than in actual dollar value. You don't want your recipient to mistake a token of your thanks with payment for services rendered. For example, a Starbucks card for a devoted coffee drinker along with a personal note might be a winning combination.
• Give the gift of time. Two friends of mine stopped exchanging gifts a few years ago and started spending a day together on their birthdays. It has evolved into a tradition they both cherish.

There are as many ways to say thank you as there are reasons to say it. This holiday season, let family, friends and colleagues know how much you care. Live your life with gratitude; not with regrets because today is what truly counts.

With blessings and gratitude,

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