Everyone likes favors, especially when they are done for us. Building a “favor column” by giving to others is a powerful tool in business relationships. One of the most powerful favors you can do for yourself is expressing authentic gratitude. Yes, that sounds counter-intuitive especially during this season of Thanksgiving. Isn’t saying thanks a gift to the other person? Think again. Authentic gratitude is a deep benefit to everyone involved.
Our brains on gratitude
When we say thanks, we program our brain to see positive change, according to experts who study gratitude and its effect on our ability to survive and thrive. “When we intentionally and steadily cultivate a practice of gratitude for the people and processes that sustain our life, we expand our perception of our experience back out of a narrow, contracted, survival mode… to a more expansive, more optimistic perspective, where we can again discern options and possibilities,” said Linda Graham, author of Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being. “Resilience is a reliably measurable outcome of cultivating positive emotions such as gratitude.”
Making it easy
The pursuit of gratitude has triggered a market of accessories, such as apps like Gratitude365 and Gratitude Journal (“Write down 5 things you’re grateful for each day and change your life forever”). These make it easy to incorporate gratitude into your daily life. Thanksgiving provides a spark for other online resources such as:
- Infographics like Tommy Newberry’s My Thanksgiving Binge gratitude drill.
- Even more gratitude challenges on Facebook, an easy way to build and inspire the gratitude habit.
- These creative ways to cultivate gratitude at work.
- Another 22 gratitude exercises to consider.
Making it authentic
When life hits warp speed, your best gratitude move might be a simple text “ty.” What I call Authentic Gratitude takes a little more effort, and it hinges on one word: because. When you follow an expression of gratitude with because, you are forced to go deeper to connect your values to the object of your gratitude.
- I’m thankful for my family because they support me no matter where I am in my journey and I know they will always have my back.
- I’m thankful for audiences across the country who listen and help me understand what inspires them so I can better equip them to become game changers wherever they are. Because of them, I am inspired to keep growing and pushing myself.
- I’m thankful for you because you read my blog and give me feedback on what my work means to you.
Specificity and vulnerability make an expression of gratitude more meaningful to the person who communicates it, and to the person who receives it. That’s authentic gratitude.
Your Game Changer Takeaway
When you focus on authentic gratitude, you connect with what is most precious to you and how that is revealed in the world around you. The word “because” is a powerful link to specific values that drive you and connect to others. Authentic gratitude is powerful way to reinforce your why. For all these reasons, the practice of authentic gratitude is just as beneficial to you as it is to the receiver. Maybe more.
The Molly Fletcher Company inspires leaders, teams and organizations to kick-start growth. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working as a sports agent. Her company’s Game Changer Negotiation Training workshops teach business people the framework for successful negotiating, so that you can close more deals while building stronger relationships. Sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter and subscribe to the Game Changers with Molly Fletcher podcast on iTunes.