Being Grateful is Good for the Soul by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

index2

We all experience struggles on a regular basis. Life gets hard, and it can be easy to focus on our difficulties. However, even when life is giving us trials, we have many things to be thankful for. Focusing on all the good things in our life can actually help us get through our struggles, too.

Being grateful is a mindset. Each day we choose our focus. We can see the best or the worst in every person we encounter. We cindex2an dwell on difficulties or celebrate the wins of the day.

As you go through each day, it’s important to choose to be grateful. As you think about all that you have, you’ll be less likely to complain about what you lack, or about the struggles you’re having. Things can always get worse, and our attitude often shapes the direction of our life.

As you choose gratitude in your life, your perspective changes and your behavior changes, as well. You will be more pleasant, and find less to complain about. This attitude will permeate everything you do, and make you more attractive to others. You’ll likely find that after adopting a more grateful attitude, good things begin to come your way because people want to be around you. They will want to support your business and to feel the energy you give.

As you can imagine, these good things happening will make you even more grateful, and so you’ve begun a beautiful circle of getting even more because you are grateful for that which you have.

An “attitude of gratitude” may not come naturally at first. To begin, make a list of all the things in your life for which you’re grateful. It may take a little while to complete the list, and seeing it on paper is likely to humble you a little. Review this list every day, adding things as you remember them until you have the big things memorized. Continue, however, to periodically review the list to add little things as they happen.

Over time, you will truly train your mind to focus on the good things in life, and the bad things will seem like much less of a burden. This new focus will change your behavior and attitude in so many wonderful ways.  With the holiday season just around the corner is a good time to practice.

Pause………..and Celebrate!!! by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

celebrate-athena

The holidays can be a busy time of year. There are so many “extra” duties on our plates that it can be a bit overwhelming. As you’re ticking things off your “to do” list, don’t forget the reason we are buying all those presents, cooking for all those dinners and attending all those parties. December is a time when we celebrate, but we are often so focused on preparing for those celebrations that we fail to actually celebrate. celebrate-athena

So, this year, make it a point to celebrate in ways you haven’t in the past. By celebrating, I don’t just mean opening packages and eating big meals with your family. I mean taking the time to reflect on the successes of the past year and give yourself and those who worked with you a pat on the back.

Of course, not everything you’ve attempted has been successful this year; at least not in the way you were measuring its success. However, each endeavor has brought growth and lessons, even when it failed by traditional standards. Those lessons should be celebrated right along with the projects that were giant successes by any measurement.

Celebrating Can Mean Many Things

Celebrating your successes might not mean a celebration in the most traditional sense- not every celebration is equipped with a party and a gift. But, every celebration is important, even if that celebration is just taking a moment to list all the great things you accomplished and all the lessons you learned as the year progressed.

Celebrating your life is more than having a party or other tangible event. It’s about learning to recognize good things as they come along. It’s about never taking your own hard work or your good fortune for granted. It’s about not forgetting to enjoy those things you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

So, check all those items off your “to do” list, if you must. But leave time to linger over dinner, have a second glass of wine, and play with the new toys that will enter your home this December. As the saying goes, “Don’t be so busy making a living, that you forget to make a life”.

Creating a Spirit of Gratitude by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

gratitude-athena

The holiday season is often a time of reflection and when we pause to count our blessings. While it is traditional and important to give pause to be grateful at this time of year, it is even more important to create an overriding spirit of gratitude throughout the year. gratitude-athena

During the course of our normal lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the details of life and fail to notice the little moments and the little blessings that make us realize how much we have to be grateful for. Here are some ways to increase your spirit of gratitude throughout the year.

  1. Take focus off the “stuff”. It’s easy to focus our lives around having the latest gadgets, the newest cars or eating at the trendiest new restaurant. Even when we have plenty of money to do these things, the gratification they bring fades very quickly. When we base our sense of appreciation on having these things, we fall into a dangerous trap, because we feel very deprived without them. So, this year, begin focusing on experiences with the people you love, rather than things that cost money. Until you’ve made a conscious choice to take the focus off the “stuff” you can’t appreciate the value of two hours spent talking or watching a movie on the couch with someone you love.
  1. Serve. An easy way to remind ourselves of how much we have to be grateful for is to serve in our communities. We gain a new perspective on our own blessings and we learn to appreciate how others live. In addition, serving in our communities gives us a purpose and pride that we can’t get anywhere else.
  1. Tell others what you appreciate about them. The act of putting our appreciation into words can bring that appreciation into focus for us. When we begin to reflect on what to say to let others know we love them, we experience that love in full force, reminding ourselves of the people who make our lives special.

Practicing these three principles throughout the year can help ensure that you have a full time spirit of gratitude. Regularly taking the time to appreciate what you have and to express that appreciation to others is guaranteed to make your life richer and happier.

 

 

A Time of Celebration by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

happyholidays

happyholidaysDecember brings a time of reflection and celebration for many people. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, or have no religious traditions during this time of year, it’s likely that you take some time from away from work to spend time with family and friends. It can seem difficult to take time away from business, especially when your work is thriving, but the traditions and the time away can be very important to your overall emotional well being.

Family traditions are important, regardless of the type of traditions you practice. These help you to remember your roots and reconnect to your past. It’s also a great way to pass these traditions from your past and pass them on to the generations of the future. As you practice traditions you’ll held for years, it causes you to reflect on those parts of your life that are most important. It is easier to put into perspective that pieces of your life that make you happiest when you take a little time away to celebrate the holidays.

December’s time off also offers a chance to recharge. You’ll be silly with your children, have a leisurely dinner with your spouse, sleep in a little and reminisce with your cousins. This pace gives both your mind and your body what it needs to head into the New Year at full speed. Rest and relaxation is a great way to fuel your creative spirit. You’ll likely find that you head back to work with new ideas and new fervor for your business.

So, however you and yours celebrate this time of year – make the most of it. Slow down physically and mentally and appreciate the loved ones around you. After all, aren’t these people the reason you work so hard throughout the rest of the year?

Maintaining an Attitude of Gratitude by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

gratitude5

In recent weeks, we’ve talked a lot about staying resilient when facing obstacles. This is a critical trait for anyone who wants to pursue greatness in any area of life. This week, however, I will focus on an important part of resilience that comes into play when times are gratitude5good. That trait is gratefulness.

You may not immediately tie resilience and gratitude together. However, the two are definitely linked, as gratitude helps you to keep a humble attitude rather than becoming over confident when things are going well.

You might be wondering why confidence causes problems. After all, if you’ve worked hard to achieve your goals, you should be allowed to celebrate, shouldn’t you?

Of course celebration of achievement is important. However, remembering the hard work that got you there and being willing to do that work again is what keeps you there.

Gratitude and resilience during the good times involves, to an extent, never letting your guard down too much. When you’ve worked hard to realize your goals, it is critical not to allow it all to slip through your fingers because you take it for granted or get lazy.

There are some simple ways to maintain that attitude of gratitude now matter how well your business, or other pursuit, is going. Here are some suggestions.

• Keep mementos of the hard times. Maybe you’ll hold on to the first dollar you ever made, or you’ll keep the cheap suit you wore to every sales presentation in the early days. Choose something that is meaningful to you, but don’t forget to keep items that remind you of your roots prominently on display.

• Stay connected. As a business owner, it can be tempting to turn the day-to-day operations over to someone else once it is feasible to do so. Of course, it’s ok to take it easy a little as things become stable, but don’t forget how to run your own business.

• Pass it on. One of the best uses of the experience you’ve gained is passing it down to someone else. As you become successful, find the time to mentor someone else who is working hard to build the same sort of legacy. Not only will you be a help to them, but you’ll remember your own struggles and rewards.

Gratitude helps you maintain perspective on the world around you. Using it to keep you focused and connected during the good times is just as important as being resilient when times are hard.

Why gratitude makes you a better manager?

gratitude or geniune praise and appreciation

Why gratitude makes you a better manager?

By Wendy Woods

gratitude or geniune praise and appreciationMakes you more empathetic.  People with a strong disposition toward gratitude have the capacity to be empathic and to take the perspective of others (McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002). Empathy is one of the skills required for Emotional Intelligence which accounts for 80% of success at work.

Leads to greater optimism and positive emotions within your team.  Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions and optimism (Emmons & McCullough, 2003) which is easily transferred to others by mood contagion (Roland Neumann,2000)

Leads to greater employee loyalty. In 2001 Michael McCullough found that interactions that involved an expression of gratitude encouraged the other person to behave in a loyal manner.  In a recent survey carried out by Susan M. Heathfield, fifty-five percent of the respondents said that praise and attention from their supervisor would make them feel as if the company cared about them and their well-being.

Quick & simple ways to express gratitude to your employees:

Say thank you every opportunity you get.  It seems like such an obvious expression of gratitude but it’s often forgotten or overlooked. Employees tell me time and again that all they want from their boss, and colleagues, is a simple thank you. Make sure everyone hears those words from you often.

Praise their contributions. Everyone appreciates genuine praise regardless of their position and level of success. Make sure your employees know you are grateful for their contributions; don’t keep them wondering.

Let employees know that their work contributes to the organization’s overall success. The need to feel connected to a larger cause is very important to most employees.  Believing that “the mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important” is a primary motivator, according to the authors of 12: The Elements of Great Managing by James Harter and Rodd Wagner.

“Gratitude is the best attitude.”  ~ Author Unknown