What are You Most Grateful For?

What are You Most Grateful For?

“Count your blessings” is a term that has been said so often that it is now a cliché.  There have been times in the past, when I have been down in the dumps about something, and a well-meaning friend has said something to that effect, to my not-so-willing ears.  In fact, just yesterday, after expressing concern and empathy in response to a friend who was talking about a series of worries he had, I said something like, “You know you also have a lot to be grateful for, right?”

The love/hate relationship with gratitude is an interesting one.  On one hand, when we’re feeling good, you would think it would be easy to appreciate what is going right in our lives.  And, to some extent it is, although due to a phenomenon known as adaptation, that gratitude doesn’t always last.  For example, in a classic study, it was found that although initially lottery winners experienced a great deal of pleasure in response to their windfalls (who wouldn’t?), a few months later they adjusted to their new normal, and returned to their baseline level of happiness.  I can relate to this one – when I was working for a firm and received bonuses, I was positively giddy – grinning from ear to ear (in the privacy of my closed office, of course), singing exuberantly at the top of my lungs in the car on the way home, and dancing wildly in my living room.  But a week later, it was almost as if nothing had happened.

It’s even more dicey when we feel that things are not going right in our lives.  That same job that could, at times, cause me a great deal of pleasure, eventually led to me feeling burnt out.  And, when I was talking about these feelings to a friend and he started pointing out some of the positives in my life, I simply did not want to hear it.  At least for that day, I wanted to wallow in self-pity, cry, and feel hopeless.

There are a lot of reasons why it can be difficult to entertain positive thinking while we’re going through a tough spot,  psychological research suggests that it is one of the most important things we can do to make ourselves feel better.

Having a spirit of gratitude is associated with greater happiness. 

In fact, in a study of depressed patients, they were asked to systematically keeping track of the things for which they were grateful.  The results of this exercise were as effective as antidepressants in decreasing their symptoms!

And in reality, there is always something to be grateful for. 

For example, even when I was feeling burned out from too much travel or lots of work demands, I was thankful for the fact that I had a steady income and clients willing to hire me.  I was grateful that although I was fatigued, I was healthy.  I was grateful that I have supportive people to whom I could talk about how I was feeling.  And, I was grateful to know about the importance of gratitude for making me feel better!

I encourage you to count your blessings even when (ESPECIALLY when) you don’t particularly feel like it.  Get yourself a journal and every day, think of three things for which you are grateful.  They could be big (“My dad’s cancer was healed”) or relatively small (“Someone gave me a coupon for a free smoothie”).  Make sure to write them down – that heightens the effect.  And, if you’re so inclined, write down why you think those events happened (“My Dad’s cancer was healed because he’s a warrior” or “My Dad’s cancer was healed because God is good.”)  You might even want to share your thoughts with a friend or significant other, to further enhance the effects.

So, cultivate an attitude of gratitude.  You’ll be happier for it!

 

What are you most grateful for? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Video: Seven Great Books for Professional Development

“Do you have any book suggestions?” 

 

Clients ask me this question all the time. It’s understandable – there are piles of self-help books purportedly designed to help you and your career, but how do you wade through them all to separate the good from the not-so-good?

In this video I give you some of my favorite book suggestions for professional development. They are great for leaders, leaders-to-be, entrepreneurs, and anyone who wants to advance in their career. Check it out, and tell me what you think!

 

 

 

 

Here are links to the books I mentioned:
  1. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – Marshall Goldsmith
  2. Give and Take – Adam Grant
  3. The Charisma Myth – Olivia Fox-Cabane
  4. Search Inside Yourself Chade-Meng Tan
  5. For Your Improvement – Michael Lombardo & Robert Eichinger
  6. The Alchemist – Paulo Coehlo
  7. The Consummate Leader: a Holistic Guide to Inspiring Growth in Others…and in Yourself – Patricia Thompson

 

5 Beliefs Limiting Your Success

5 Beliefs Limiting Your Success

Sometimes we can be our own worst enemies when it comes to success.

In this guest blog for the fabulous website WorkAwesome.com, I discuss beliefs that I have seen hold people back from achieving their professional goals. Read on, and see if you recognize yourself in any of them:

 


 

Earlier this year, I was introduced to a talented executive I’ll call Edward, who was brimming with potential. He was a results-oriented and driven self-starter who had aspirations to advance in his career. He was bright, attractive, and able to come up with innovative, yet practical ideas with ease.

However, while he had a lot of strengths, it quickly became evident that he overplayed some of them into weaknesses.  For example, he was so focused on winning that I began to feel as though every interchange we had was he was a competition in which he was trying to show me how intelligent he was. The more I talked to him, the more I realized that unless he was open to some serious coaching, his attitudes would make it difficult for him to realize his vast potential.

In my role as a corporate psychologist, I work with a host of talented professionals like Edward who are eager to make the most of themselves in order to grow their businesses and advance in their careers. And, while there are many people I work with for whom the sky is the limit, there are probably a greater number of others for whom the sky should be the limit.  However, because they shoot themselves in the foot with certain self-limiting attitudes, they prevent themselves from reaching their potentials.

See if you recognize yourself in any of these attitudes:

1. It’s a Dog-Eat-Dog World

People with this attitude believe that the work world is filled with cut-throat behavior and people who will stab them in the back at the drop of a hat.

Because of that perception, they believe they need to get ahead by taking advantage of others before they fall victim to others’ negative behaviors. Manipulating others, getting involved in office politics and getting ahead at others’ expense are just some of their many strategies.

Unfortunately, what these people don’t realize is that behaving as a “Taker,” as Wharton professor and author Adam Grant puts it, catches up with them. People will no longer trust them and actually start hoping they will fail.

In reality, the research shows that people who approach work with a more giving attitude are the ones that can eventually come out on top. Taking a more collaborative and unselfish approach to work is key to getting ahead.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

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