Expressing Gratitude as a Personal Leadership Practice

Gratitude-mbs.jpgBeing grateful and expressing gratitude are both behavioral practices of a personal leader.

It is the spiritual awareness of meaning that gratefulness brings which  makes expressing gratitude a high level personal leadership skill to be developed.

When we express gratitude we inspire more than just ourselves – we also inspire those around us.

Over the past 15 years, I have had a daily gratitude practice in one form or another.  Even though my own practice has morphed many times over the years  (depending on what I was exploring at the time); there have been some constants:

Here are 5 ways to develop a personal leadership gratitude practice:

Make it habitual. Making expressing your thankfulness a habit in your life can reap many benefits.  The benefits could be everything from personal fulfillment – to having the capacity to help anyone you come in contact with, feel a little better about themselves or their day.

The point I  want to make here, is that when you have a measured daily practice around gratitude it acts like a “re-focuser” to bring you back to what is truly important to you.

There are many ways you can do capture the habit of gratefulness. You can keep a gratitude journal. You can write gratitude notes and put them in a jar or give them a way – or even mail them.  You can say them silently. You can whisper them in to the wind.  How you capture it is less important than the behavior of being grateful. I believe the most important part of gratitude is to take it into your internal world and be with it.

Make it meaningful. Meaningful gratitude means that it touches your heart in some way.  It’s something that matters to you.  It’s important.  It brings something with it.  For example,  there is a big difference between writing any old 15 things to be grateful for vs a list where every single thing on the list is so meaningful – that it  moves you.  When your own gratitude list becomes inspirational to you  – you’ve raised the bar to a personal leadership level. Even if you begin with just 1 thing – make it meaningful.

Make it relevant. Relevancy is a super criteria to add to your gratitude practice because it may prevent you from getting into a comfort zone with gratitude.  If you’ve written gratitude lists for a while now – if you find you are capturing the same things day after day – it may be a sign that you could do a relevancy check to see if things are still as relevant for you – or is it time to make some room on your list for something that would be more relevant to the day.

Make it  light. When you just cant wait to think about gratitude at the end of the day – it is a sign that you have made your practice enjoyable. It’s also an indication of your personal grace.

There are lots of ways to  make expressing gratitude more fun; get a little creative – and you may surprise yourself.

I know for myself personally, one way I express gratitude in a fun way when I am out at appointments is I carry little appreciation postcards – that I had out when appropriate.  By doing it in the moment – made it fun for me – vs waiting until I could get home to type a note.

When you make your gratitude light – it also helps you to release any attachment you have for acknowledgment in return.  I believe it removes the energy of  “neediness” from being grateful.

Has someone ever expressed gratitude to you , and you felt it was not sincere?  If you think about it now, I bet you can almost feel the heaviness in which it was expressed.  When you express gratitude heart-to-heart with non attachment – there is a palpable difference in the energy.

Make it people focused vs thingy-focused. When we shift our awareness from things to people, we become more and more aware of oneness.

If you haven’t already begun a gratitude practice for yourself, begin simply.  A small investment of thought at the end of each day – and over time the behaviour of gratefulness becomes a state of being.

Here is a nice post by Kevin Eikenberry about specific ways to express your gratitude that is worth reading:

Three Ways to Effectively Show Your Gratitude

Here are some additional post – where I reference gratitude as a personal leadership practice:

7 ways to self-inspire and be inspiring

7 ways to create personal leadership ease

Are you behaving like a personal leader?

Finding Your Grace – A Personal Leadership Quality

Finding Grace - Mind Body Spirit CoachingIn personal leadership, grace is a leadership trait where heart and mind come together.  It is these integrations of lovely elements that combine to create the blessing that is the virtue – grace. It is this congruence, integrated alignment and sense of inward peace that creates something truly worthy of a personal leadership quality.

Grace in personal leadership, has a lot to do with nature and being natural.  It is this divine authenticity and congruence that creates the pleasing peaceful elegance of what it is to be graceful.

In life, it may show up as the love and compassion you demonstrate for others.  It is the consideration of others that allows a graceful leader to give favour – and see the oneness of all.   The kindliness of this personal leadership trait extends out beyond your own identify – it extends its  out into the world which is why there is such a mind, body and spirit element to it.

Grace may be experienced when as a personal leadership skill – you align with your personal levels of meaning.  It may even be unspoken, as it involves quietly simplifying and then honouring fully that which is most important to you.

This way of being and behaving like a personal leader also involves living from resourceful perspectives – being a pursuer of mastery, and continual learning and practice.

Do you desire more gracefulness in your life? Most people I talk to say they do. Grace is a desirable personal leadership trait. It is  one of those things that raise ones level of personal leadership – for its kindness and humbleness tells a story of success, of ease and of naturalness.

Some of the more common barriers to living in a state of grace are:

  • It’s looking at failure as failing instead of learning while in action in the pursuits of success
  • Settling for partial success – and avoiding the extra effort of the pursuit of mastery.  The seeming effortlessness comes from doing something with mastery.
  • Sitting in frustration instead of practicing the feeling of everything that is there
  • It’s looking outward for validation instead of blooming from your own nourishment

You can bring more personal leadership grace into your life. It’s very doable. Here are some ways to get there:

  • Watch more nature. In nature grace is demonstrated over and over again.  It may be in the gait of a horse, the flutter of a butterfly, the bend of a tree limb in a strong wind, or even the movement in a stream
  • Watch things. Watch things and people you consider to be demonstrating gracefulness: a dance, someone’s walk, someone’s hands (I personally, think of hula hands when I think of graceful hands) and do some writing about what you notice
  • Honour the Pursuit. Begin to honour the pursuit of mastery in activities you undertake.  For practice that leads to mastery –  rehearses the mind-body components of that mastery – and the result is greater gracefulness
  • Love 10x more. Love and compassion towards others – amplifies one’s personal state.  When you are looking at someone through the mind and heart of love and compassion – you will listen more, and be in the present moment more – and these are both elements of grace
  • Judge 10x less. Judging takes you out of a state of grace – the judging actually creates a  separateness.  Judgment- free awareness on the other hand is  seeing things without judgment and allowing a thing to be what it is.  This allows for a greater connection.
  • Be kind to yourself. While you are judging less –  judge yourself less too
  • Embrace ease. Finding your ease in personal leadership is directly related to finding a state of grace.  As an example, ease comes when you align yourself to your own personal values –  and the result is – there can be a sense your values truly fit you – and then things do become easier as a result.  Having this personal ease – allow you to express more grace – because you are not wrapped in the struggle with something that wrong size cloak that doesn’t fit you.

As you can see.  This is a personal pursuit.  It’s your own personal embodiment of ease.