Showing posts with label Gratitude. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gratitude. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Appreciation and Gratitude – Wisdom from Dan Sullivan and Joe Polish

Over the past year, my favorite podcast has become 10X Talk, hosted by Joe Polish and Dan Sullivan. These two highly successful entrepreneurs share extraordinary wisdom about life and business in their regular 30-minute conversations.

Joe has been a member of Dan’s Strategic Coach program for more than 13 years, and when you listen to the brilliant statements that come from Dan’s mouth, it’s easy to understand why. Since 1974, Dan has personally coached more than 6,000 entrepreneurs, and his insights contain immense value for anyone interested in pursuing personal excellence.

In a recent episode he described the key difference he’s discovered between people who have a tough time in life and those who seem to have an easy time: the active pursuit of GRATITUDE and APPRECIATION in their life, their experiences, and their relationships.

Those who have an easier time approach every situation with a sense of gratitude.

Those who struggle are “on the take.” They aren’t interested in giving; they’re looking to get something. As a result of this attitude, they often experience negative emotions such as envy, anger, frustration and resentment.

Dan cited two definitions of “Appreciate” from the Oxford English Dictionary, and his interpretations brought entirely new associations to my mind.

1. Create increased value. 

We often think about THINGS appreciating in value, such as real estate or stocks.

Dan extended the definition to include PEOPLE and made this connection: When you appreciate someone and express your gratitude, you actually increase their value in two ways: “First of all, you take up the value of that in your own mind, but in expressing it, you actually take the other person’s sense of value up of who they are and what they’re doing.”

2. Fully understand.

This definition has typically been used in a military setting, when scouts were sent out to fully understand or “appreciate” the battlefield and then report back.

Dan applies this to his everyday life by consciously choosing to understand the importance and value of a person he’s about to interact with.

What he does…

Before meeting with the individual – whether it’s a business or social setting – he writes down 8 things he’s grateful for about that person. He focuses on who they are and how they act, not whether they've ever done anything for him.

This exercise sets him up for the conversation with two critical elements that tie in directly with the two definitions above:
1) A higher sense of the person’s value
2) A much fuller understanding of how significant they are

During the interaction, he never talks about the actual items on his list, but that individual picks up on his attitude. Dan’s words, tone and body language cause them to feel valued.

Do ever you find yourself criticizing others who are important to you – whether aloud or in your own mind? Maybe you’re having a tough time finding anything positive to say about them. Yet you live or work with them, and you need to interact with them on a regular basis.

What if you took a few minutes before your next conversation and made a list of 8 things you appreciate about that person?

As Dan has learned, you can “inject positive energy” into any situation if you proactively apply these two definitions of appreciation to the people in your life.

I highly recommend you listen to the complete episode in order to get the full benefit of Dan’s exceptional thoughts about developing a deep sense of gratitude for others.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Happiness, Joy and Gratitude

Ever think about what it would take to make you really happy? To feel a deep sense of joy?

Some people say they need a certain amount of money.

Others focus on lifestyle, travel, a stress-free job, or free time.

Many want more time with family and friends.

This uplifting video (7:14) shows the surprising role that GRATITUDE plays in achieving real, deeply satisfying happiness.

Yet there’s a dark side to joy. Author and researcher Brene’ Brown states that the most terrifying, difficult emotion that we experience as humans is…joy.

How can this be? Would you ever think of associating “joy” with “terror”?

Watch this powerful exchange between Oprah Winfrey and Brene’ Brown to find out why Dr. Brown makes such a disconcerting statement, and yet prescribes GRATITUDE as the solution.

“There is no joy without gratitude.” – Oprah Winfrey

Friday, August 16, 2013

Feeling Gratitude for Loved Ones Who Are Gone

My father, Mike Melancon
When one of my uncles died in 2005, it was sudden and unexpected. He was walking down the hallway on his way to take a shower after work one day and collapsed on the floor. He was gone in seconds.

It was a total shock to the family and everyone who knew him.

No one had the opportunity to tell him good-bye. There were no final hugs.

In contrast, when my father died November of 2012 at age 90, we all had time to prepare. His health had been declining for months, and during his final days each of us had the opportunity to exchange final loving words with him. These are memories we’ll always treasure.

It was hard to watch him deteriorate, but it was comforting to know that there was no unfinished business.

No words of regret we wished we could take back.

Plenty of time to express our affection for him.

Dad left this world knowing that he was loved by each of us, and we in turn were assured about his love for us.

But I still tear up at the thought of not being able to see him whenever we visit Mom. What has eased my grief is filling my heart with gratitude.
Gratitude for all the years we had him. 
Gratitude for living close by and being able to spend time with him and Mom often. 
Gratitude for the tight bond my daughter formed with him and enjoyed for 28 years. I never knew either of my grandfathers. They died before I was born. 
Gratitude for the ability to tell him good-bye.
It’s not easy to arrive at this place of appreciation and gratitude. You have to walk through the pain of loss.

And if the death was sudden, as with my uncle, the process may be even harder. There could be regret or guilt associated with angry words that had been spoken or loving words that had not.

Since life is unpredictable, these questions bear reflection:
How would you want to live to make sure you don’t have regrets if a person you love was gone in a flash? 
How would you talk to each person you care about if you remembered that this could be your last conversation? 
What kinds of offenses would you overlook?  
What angry or unpleasant words would you avoid saying?  
How much more often would you say, “I love you?"

“Each moment is precious and unrecoverable.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn, American psychologist

“Gratitude is the heart’s memory.” – French Proverb

“When something does not insist on being noticed, when we aren't grabbed by the collar or struck on the skull by a presence or an event, we take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” - Cynthia Ozick, American novelist

Monday, November 19, 2012

Feel Gratitude, Express Appreciation

“Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy.”
- Jacques Maritain, French philosopher (1882-1973)

This time of year we’re encouraged to think about the people and things in our lives that we’re thankful for.

Actually, this is a good thing to do every day. Starting and ending your day with a sense of gratitude helps you keep your difficulties in perspective. Making a list of what you’re grateful for is even more powerful.

And I’d like to recommend another step: Expression of that gratitude.

I’m sure you can think of others who have helped you on your journey, who've made a difference in the way you think about yourself…and life. They've believed in you. Encouraged you. Challenged you. Helped you see strengths in yourself you didn't realize you had.

Have you taken time to let these folks know how much you appreciate them for their influence on your life?

Too often those moments pass without acknowledgement, and the other person has no idea of the positive effect his or her words or actions have had.

In my first career, I taught fourth grade. I still have notes from parents of my students, thanking me for the impact I had on their children during the year they were in my class. Now yellowed because they date back more decades than I care to reveal, these hand-written messages serve as a reminder of individual lives I've been privileged to touch.

If I had not received those notes, I would have had some blind spots about my true skills. I’m quite sure I’d have experienced more moments of self-doubt. Because on a day-to-day basis, teachers face setbacks, frustrations and disappointments that cause them to question the value of their work. They’re not sure if their efforts are noticed or appreciated.

And of course, these doubts are not limited to the world of teachers. Business owners, executives, supervisors, and parents alike have times when they question, “What difference am I making? How do I matter?”

I have to admit, I've long since forgotten the Christmas and end-of-year gifts I received from my former students and their parents. But those hand-written letters of appreciation remain dear to my heart. And after all these years, I can still replay at will the positive comments some of the parents said to me.

So here’s my challenge for you:

Who in your life does not yet know the positive impact they've had on you?

Make a list of these individuals. Figure out how to contact them if you’re no longer in touch.

Do not put this off. Or make excuses. Or think they don’t care.

Pick up the phone or write a letter and thank them. Let them know you’re grateful for the role they've played in your life.

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." - Albert Schweitzer, French philosopher (1875-1965)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving and Gratitude

This time of year, we are often reminded to count our blessings and reflect on what we’re thankful for.

It’s actually an even better idea to establish a daily practice of gratitude. When we’re caught up in the problems we face each day, it’s easy to lose sight of the good things that are right in front of us.

Taking time first thing in the morning or at the end of the day to write down the top 5 or 10 things you are thankful for is a powerful exercise. It changes the way you perceive the world and think about what happens to you.

To help you shift into that “attitude of gratitude,” here are some of my favorite quotes on the topic...
“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” – Charles Dickens, British novelist (1812-1879)  
“Gratitude is the heart’s memory.” – French Proverb 
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer, French philosopher (1875-1965) 
“Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” – Gertrude Stein, American novelist (1874-1946) 
"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough." – Oprah Winfrey, American actress (1954- ) 
“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.” – Mother Teresa, Indian humanitarian (1910-1997) 
"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust, French novelist (1871-1922)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Express Appreciation and You’ll Build Strong Relationships

I had started my morning by reading the latest issue of the Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle (GKIC) newsletter, which is packed full of business-building tips for entrepreneurs. When I turned to page 12, I couldn't believe what I saw.

Staring at me from the page was a copy of the hand-written thank-you note I’d sent to Bill Glazer and his team following the recent conference.

I sat there dumb-founded for a moment, pondering the reason and the implications…and thinking back to an even earlier conference.

I'd walked up to Bill Glazer and given him positive feedback about all the things I was enjoying at the event. His response surprised me: 

“Thank you. You are such a positive person. You’re always saying nice things to me. Can I get you to call me every day and tell me stuff like this?”

Bill Glazer is a man who’s achieved amazing success in his career and his life. He’s a millionaire many times over and has advised thousands of entrepreneurs.

You wouldn’t think he needs regular doses of positive feedback.

But he does. We ALL do.

Several months ago I received this eloquent, unforgettable comment on one of my blog posts from my Twitter friend Wayne McEvilly, a gifted concert pianist:
“Your post brought to mind a fan letter I wrote to Dame Myra Hess, the great British pianist whose work was a service to her nation and to humanity. I told her that her music brought us closer to God. She wrote back (this astounded me since my praise was a drop in the ocean of praise she had experienced from royalty and the world at large) - She said ‘You must never think that praise such as yours is not wanted, or needed.’ Those words from 1957 still ring clear in my mind, and I remind myself never to allow sincere praise to be muted by any circumstance.”
Another example of someone who had attained worldwide recognition and success, yet still yearned to hear sincere affirmations from an admirer…

So as I gazed at the GKIC newsletter, with an entire page devoted to my note, I reflected once again on the power we have to brighten the lives of others by simply expressing gratitude and appreciation.

You never know when another human being needs to be encouraged. Every person on the planet can benefit from feeling valued, so don’t hold back when you have the opportunity to give positive feedback or offer a genuine thank-you.

Adopt this wisdom from Wayne McEvilly as your daily mantra and look for ways to positively impact the life of someone else through your words:

“I remind myself never to allow sincere praise 
to be muted by any circumstance.”