The Power of Gratitude

April 2009

In my work with clients, I often encourage them to keep a gratitude journal.  This is not just a random assignment.  I’ve seen dozens of ways this has helped clients to gain perspective on their work and lives, which in turn has lead to new insights and renewed energy to tackle problems.  Being alert to all that we have to be grateful for creates a shift in our focus and awareness.  The alchemy of gratitude has the power to change everything, from our attitude to our circumstances to our way of being.  It also opens us up to new opportunities which we otherwise might miss.

Here is what author Melody Beattie says about gratitude: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”  Today, many of us are grappling with shrinking resources and the question “What is enough?”  Gratitude allows us to open up to the realization that what we have is enough (and often, in fact, more than enough).  That understanding alone can quiet our racing minds and slow our frantic pace.  We arrive at a place where we can make better decisions and not operate from fear.  When we can embrace a problem as a gift, and be grateful for the choices we have, the chance to grow in wisdom, the satisfaction of persevering in the face of adversity….what a blessing. 

As Ms. Beattie observes, the power of gratitude can shift how we view our past.  Being able to see yesterday’s trials, mistakes, or failures through the lens of gratitude unlocks the lessons in our past.  It also frees us from being shackled to outdated perceptions and limiting beliefs.  Perhaps most powerful is how gratitude can shift our view of this moment.  I know that, right now, I am just where I am supposed to be.  Even in the middle of a difficult conversation, or a challenging coaching call, when I remind myself of the gratitude I have for just the opportunity to interact with someone at a meaningful level, to be in a relationship with that person, I find myself more at ease…more at peace. 

My hope for you is that you will embrace each opportunity, challenge, and situation with gratitude.  Notice how that shifts your thinking and, in turn, your feelings, actions and results.  I’d love to hear what you discover.  If I can support you along the way, please ask.

Sharon Keys Seal

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