With the holiday season in full swing, this time of year just beckons for us all to reflect. It’s Father Time’s way of acknowledging that while we get sidetracked with earthly projects, goals, and obligations, the year does march steadily on past all those distractions. To breathe in and feel the nostalgia of yesteryear, and let the past take you purposely back for a minute, to embrace that love conquers all: That is how December can jump start your path to gratitude.
During the holidays, it is no wonder we purposely seek the theme of “gratitude” everywhere we look. The true meaning of Christmas is the pureness we feel and know. And gratefulness for that feeling of purity floods forth. It bursts within, and we take in the spirit of Christmas in any and every way possible…no one wants to be Scrooge in this life play. We all become keenly aware of how lucky we are as gratitude resonates through us all, irregardless of individual economic stature.
Those who are in the practice of mastering gratitude know the great ones are the folks who bottle this pureness of knowing and carry it with them all through the year. In the world of “life hacks”, my post here would then guide you on “how to embrace gratitude in 7 days” or “be thankful, learn how while waiting in line” or some other catchy little number with a quick deliverable in the very near future. But gratitude is the opposite of life hacks. It’s as timeless as “the little black dress”, as true as Clint Eastwood and one of my pillars that makes up my own belief system. Gratitude always works. It’s always the best call, the truest answer, and provides the alignment needed. Why don’t you go for mastery in gratitude and skip the life hack? Mastery, well, mastery takes time. Dedication. Commitment. It’s a shift of intention, and since gratitude aligns you…it allows for bigger things in your life to fall into place. And sometimes it’s the smallest of things (the commute was pleasant, your hair is looking especially good), that when aligned with gratitude you know these are even small blessings (the cop gives you a ticket instead of a court date). And life becomes about little smiles that pave the way for big smiles. And mastery is just that. What is the make up of a Kung Fu Master = short version, is learning to appreciate the path taken while a skill is practiced and learned. Gratitude can make this path incredibly more lighthearted and enjoyable. Not all of life’s lessons have to be painful or difficult, but because they can be…the appreciation of the small keeps the overwhelming and the dauntingness at bay. Once that happens, it allows the mind to have so much more room for bigger deals.
Like anything that deeply affects your life, the perspective you take permeates throughout all your arenas, including work. When engaging with your team, gratitude in pursuit of mastery is felt by all those around you. How so? Because you are a student of gratitude, your approach to life and therefore work will be different, even if it’s slight at first. But, it will be undeniable. How you interact with them will have an underlying meaning rather than superficial exchanges; your appreciation for them will shine through. Another benefit? You shut your trap. I realized through being grateful for the flowers on my walk, the hummingbirds, and the palm trees, that there is a lot out there we don’t know. Once this realization occurs, you will become more open to others' thoughts and ideas, which then makes you more approachable. All of this is necessary in a boss and leader who wants his team to feel inspired, to want to talk to him about ideas, improvements, and innovations. Because the team can sense your wholesome alignment, that first hurdle of being scared to share is able to be tabled. (Read this Google Study In Building Teams) That is the first and most crucial step in team development: the established fact that the surrounding environment is one that is supportive and open. Ideas are encouraged and developed. Thank you for taking time to read this today, I hope that you can take time at this very moment to be gracious. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a very Happy New Year to all!