This week, I have been intentionally reflecting on the importance of gratitude in leadership. And I keep coming back to a very important question—how do I cultivate a willingness to be grateful?
The truth is, the best version of you is a grateful you. But it is more natural to be entitled and selfish than grateful and humble.
As leaders, we need to take the process of cultivating gratitude seriously.
Here are six habits of gratitude that I believe will help us:
- Put people first
I have observed something about myself over the years. When I am reluctant to be grateful, it is because I have a tendency to focus too much on myself.
It’s hard to let go of anything if your view is continually filtered through your personal wants and needs. Putting others first has a way of shifting priorities and putting things back into proper perspective.
- Appreciate timing
Life is a journey, not a destination. Appreciate where you are.
In Ecclesiastes, Solomon wrote that there is “a time for every purpose under heaven.” If you are able to live with this perspective, it will help you be patient in the journey. The greatest rewards that life offers come on the way to the destination, not after you have arrived.
- Develop the habit of giving
Nothing loosens a person’s grip like giving things away. It purifies motives and lightens the heart.
Maya Angelou said it well: “I’ve found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”
- Learn to enjoy things without ownership
I’m beginning to learn that if I can delay my first instinct to buy or own something, I can often find other ways to enjoy and appreciate a thing without having the cost, responsibility and upkeep that go along with ownership.
The more things you can enjoy without having to control or own them, the lighter hold things will have on you.
- Express gratitude for your blessings
If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that we don’t deserve any of the things God has given us. Consider this reminder from the book of James, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17).
When you recognize that what you have is a gift to begin with, it’s easier to give it up or give it away.
- Maintain an eternal perspective
Maintaining an attitude of gratitude and a giving heart does not mean a painless journey. That’s why it’s important to try to see things from God’s perspective.
In those moments when you are reluctant to endure the pain of giving something up and making a transition, seek gratitude in your struggles. Try to see the bigger picture through a grateful lens.
I reflect on these gratitude habits often, so that I don’t slip too far away from a willingness to be grateful. Here’s a question for your own reflection today: Which of these gratitude habits do I need to work on the most?
I want to encourage you to cultivate gratitude. Each of us has a choice today: will I be a river or a reservoir?
Choose this attitude with me today: What I receive I must pass on. I cannot allow the knowledge that I have to remain imprisoned in my brain. I feel the need to pay back what was given to me.
And here’s the funny thing—Gratitude is doubled when it’s shared. That’s Maxwell Math!
John Maxwell Leadership Podcast