Seeking an Attitude of Gratitude

There are always two ways to frame our outlook on life. Two options for how we choose to view and react to our present circumstances. We can dwell on the disappointments, the sadness, the frustrating. Or we can choose to focus on the encouraging, the uplifting, the good in the midst of the bad.  Of course, flipping our negative perspective into a positive one doesn’t change the realities of a crummy situation, but it does change how we go through it.

The holidays have a way of bringing out the best and sometimes the worst in us, so over the next few days, I’d like to challenge you to:

  • Choose to be grateful for access to good food and the money to buy it as you stand in those long grocery lines.
  • Choose to be grateful for safe, reliable transportation as you encounter the bumper-to-bumper traffic that accompanies a busy shopping season.
  • Choose to be grateful for warm homes, warm clothes, and warm workplaces in the midst of winter’s coming cold.
  • Choose to be grateful for your in-laws. If it weren’t for them, you wouldn’t have your spouse!

This season, challenge yourself not to regard “thanksgiving” as simply an event or a meal (or a whole lot of work!), but as an action that you will commit to doing more of in every season. It won’t erase your challenges, but it will improve your outlook and, most importantly, it will encourage others along the way.

Have you ever been the recipient of fake appreciation? We probably all have at one time or another. Fake appreciation is discouraging, and most times it’s worse than no appreciation at all. Sometimes the leaders’ intentions are good, but their efforts fall short. Here are a few all-too-common examples:

Two Scoops of Motivation

If your only strategic response to a big win or to boost morale is to have all the top execs serve ice cream to rank-and-file employees, you’ve missed the mark. Many find it patronizing and belittling; it’s too trite following a big win, and too shallow for boosting morale in challenging times. Your employees are not toddlers; ice cream will not enhance their long-term job satisfaction (neither will burgers, hot dogs, pizza or having your car washed by the CFO). This type of motivation will last about as long as a hot fudge sundae on a 100 degree day. (more…)