Cultivate a spirit of gratitude in your career

Nancy Anderson
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Thanksgiving has come and gone, but it’s never too late to be grateful. No matter where you are in your career, or how you feel about your job, cultivating a spirit of gratitude can help you feel better about your life and achieve a more positive emotional state at work.

• It takes a village to raise…you. Have you ever thought about all the dozens, hundreds, of people over the years who helped to raise you to adulthood and who helped make you who you are? Think of the doctors and nurses that helped deliver you when you were born, the pediatricians who did dozens of medical checkups over the years, the teachers and coaches who taught you to read, write and play well others. Think of all the neighbors and relatives and family friends who noticed you and cared about you and tried to share part of their wisdom with you.

• Are you a turtle on a fencepost? There’s an old saying – “When you see a turtle on a fencepost, you know he didn’t get there by himself.” Just like a turtle on a fencepost, chances are that you got where you are in your career with the assistance of others. No one’s career successes belong to that one person alone. We all benefit from the help of mentors, colleagues, supervisors and people who taught us and encouraged us and instilled values and perspective in us along the way. Think of every hiring manager who gave you a chance by hiring you for a job. Think of every co-worker who taught you something new or helped make your workday more enjoyable. Think of all the customers and clients and voices on the phone that helped shape your skills and your mindset for success.
• Gratitude matters. Being grateful is not just a nice thing to do – it can help improve your health, well-being and career. People who are grateful tend to have higher levels of self-esteem, higher levels of control over their work environments, less stress, lower rates of depression, and many other positive benefits. If you want to have a happier life and a successful career, start by reminding yourself of all that you have to be grateful for.

What are some ways that you can start cultivating gratitude in your life?
  • Write thank you letters. Research shows that writing thank you letters can raise a person’s short-term feelings of happiness by 10%.
  • Practice positive visualization. Each night before you go to sleep, spend a few minutes reflecting on the good things that happened that day and think about everything that you’re grateful for in your life. These positive thoughts will help focus your energies for greater success the next day.
  • Give to others. Show how grateful you are by being generous with others – this generosity can take many forms, whether it’s listening patiently and helping co-workers with their problems, or giving money to a charitable organization, or volunteering for a cause you believe in. All of these acts of generosity are also acts of gratitude.

Ben Gran is a freelance writer and marketing consultant based in Des Moines, Iowa. He is an award-winning blogger who loves to write about careers and the future of work.

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