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9 Ways for Leaders to Amplify Their Gratitude

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When it comes to creating success, many fall into the trap of not seeing people. Qualities such as kindness, humor or physical appearance are often the first to be identified, yet the most magnetic trait is gratitude.

In business, we are drawn to people who acknowledge our contributions. When leaders value gratitude, employees show their appreciation more readily. People who hold leadership positions lead from gratitude resulting in a trickle down effect within the company.

Gratitude builds relationships. Employee recognition and appreciation creates a company culture that strengthens relationships. On the other hand, we know the opposite to be true when leaders don’t recognize their staff going above and beyond their responsibilities, engagement plummets.

Gratitude is a selfless act. Action taken unconditionally shows people they are appreciated, and it becomes infectious. It’s a sign of wisdom and maturity and an ingrained hallmark of humility.

Neuroscience highlights that parts of the brain are affected by appreciation and gratefulness. The hypothalamus which controls basic bodily functions such as eating, sleeping and dopamine are significantly affected from feelings of gratitude.

Gratitude stems from acknowledging that where we have arrived didn’t happen solely on our own. Gratitude celebrates the good in the world and finds meaning in experiences. When leaders see their teams through the lens of gratitude, they will always see the untapped potential and inspire people to achieve the impossible.

Let’s explore 9 practices that leaders can implement to amplify their gratefulness:

1. Cultivate a habit of gratitude

Becoming more grateful requires a shift in perspective. Capture a daily list of five things you are grateful for in a journal. A daily reminder sets our day with a happiness boost as you connect with a grateful heart. Developing this daily discipline teaches you to look for what is working in your life and creates a space for you to focus forward.

2. Personalize your appreciation when you are engaged with people

If you want to make a difference in a person’s life, identify specifically how you can add value when you extend gratitude. Some people prefer a one on one thank you whereas others enjoy the public recognition. Cater to your audience and understand what matters to them.

3. Take an authentic approach to expressing gratitude

There is nothing worse than a tokenistic show of appreciation. Have you ever seen the team leader providing lip service?  When we authentically show gratitude, the people around you experience benefits of feeling more optimistic, increased levels of enthusiasm and become more alert to recognize opportunities. When we embrace gratitude as a given rather than an exception, culture shifts. People are more willing to spread positive feelings with others and ripples are created.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

4. Counting our blessings

Gratitude fuels potential and transforms perspective. When you are grateful for what you have, the immediate response is a deep sense of appreciation. Our standards are upgraded and our energy prioritized into contribution – how can l add more value? When we are truly thankful, there is little room for below the line thinking. This means not immersing yourself in blame, complaints or excuses because when you have a deep sense of appreciation for what you have, you don’t look further for greener pastures.

5. Invest in a gratitude night

Martin Seligman in his book Authentic Happiness described an exercise in which he asked his students to select one important person from their past who made a positive difference in their lives and whom they have never properly thanked. Each student brought their guest to the class, expressed their gratitude publicly and created a memorable experience. This was a night they remembered for the rest of their lives.

6. Health and well-being benefits

Leading scientific expert on gratitude, Robert Emmons highlighted through research that people who demonstrate consistent gratitude experience stronger immune systems, longer and better sleep and higher levels of optimism. Gratitude creates social benefits by allowing us to experience how we have been supported by others and by recognizing the positive traits within ourselves in order so we can appreciate others.

7. Love languages of your team

Success is always created by a team, never in isolation. When we recognize our colleagues and how they have contributed, gratitude is a powerful driver in driving culture. The Five Love Languages of Love, by Dr. Gary Chapman identified how everyone communicates love and expresses gratitude towards others.

The 5 ways are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Physical Touch and Tangible Gifts. When we apply this to our teams, it is a great opportunity for team members to explore how the five love languages are communicated. Additionally, another way is to apply the love languages to how you lead your team.  

“I am amazed by how many individuals mess up every new day with yesterday.” Gary Chapman

8. Everyone has a deep-seated need to feel valued and appreciated

Gratitude is easy and takes little money. It’s heartfelt thought and action such as showing appreciation as a leader by creating a gratitude board where staff can write notes of thanks to their colleagues or create an online message board. Whether it is a handwritten thank you note, a genuine heart felt phone call, or a public display of recognition, recognizing contribution creates a culture of valuing people.

9. Leading by example

Gratitude starts with you. You cannot be a leader without capable people to lead. When your gratitude is genuine and heartfelt, you will attract interactions that are open, gracious and thankful. An emotionally intelligent leader uses gratitude to inspire others.

Today, people have a desire for more meaning at work as part of an organizational shift toward a truly human workplace. Employees deserve to be treated as human beings thus leading companies are being rewarded with workplace cultures driven by purpose, appreciation and respect. Southwest Airlines is one of the role model companies priming itself on a gratitude inspired culture. Even more than that, their message is clear, people come first.

How do you express your gratitude for others? Let us know by commenting below!

Angela Kambouris used to work with high risk kids in the streets of Melbourne, now she has her own consultancy business and writes for large publications. As a leadership coach and business leader having spent over 20 years in the field of vulnerability and trauma, she has built a high-level career as an executive and transitioned into a business owner. She has spoken on stages and worked with thousands of people in self-development, leadership, mindset, human behavior and business. Love to travel, experience difference cultures and mastermind with leaders and expert authorities in personal development and business all over the world. Connect with her through her website http://angelakambouris.com/ or through her Facebook.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Chip Hanna

    Feb 15, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    Love the article.

    • Angela

      Feb 15, 2018 at 8:56 pm

      Thank you Chip. Appreciate the feedback 😁

  2. Melinda

    Sep 3, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Focusing on what is great in your life is awesome for crowding out the bad and letting you double down on your strengths … great post!

    • Angela kambouris

      Sep 4, 2017 at 9:39 am

      Definitely amplify your strengths and always people first. Thanks for the feedback 😊

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Life

3 Simple Tips to Strengthen Your Emotional Intelligence for Better Relationships

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Relationships are challenging. They make you examine yourself from all angles, and that can be triggering. For example, have you ever had a friend or significant other say something that sparked an argument instantly—only to find out you misheard what they said in the first place? (more…)

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If You Want to Avoid Failure Once and for All, Ask Yourself These 4 Questions

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You just invested in yourself and in your business. You are taking massive action but the results are just not clicking yet. While everyone is making 10X, 20X, and even 100X ROI on their initial investment, you have made $0 return. Failure is starting to overcast your bright shining positive attitude and you are feeling the pain and shame of it. (more…)

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3 Simple Hacks That Can Recharge Your Willpower and Help You Perform Better at Work

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How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.

You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.

Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?

The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:

  • I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
  • I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
  • I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal. 

It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.

Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.

Can you train or recharge your willpower?

A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.

The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.

Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:

1. Focused breathing

Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.

You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.

2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal

According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.

You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.

3. Taking cold showers

Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.

High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.

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3 Inspiring Lessons We Can Learn From Jim Carrey About the Law of Attraction

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You’ve more than likely heard of Jim Carrey before. Over the years, he has starred in many popular films including The Truman Show, The Mask, and Bruce Almighty (just to name a few.)

But his personality goes a lot deeper than just his comedic persona and movie star charisma. In fact, Jim Carrey is probably one of the most philosophical individuals on the planet

Although he isn’t in the spotlight as much anymore, throughout the years, he has credited his success and fortunes by applying the Law of attraction into his life. What’s even more inspiring is that Jim Carrey, like you and I, came from humble beginnings. No silver spoon or easy ticket. In fact, his family was very poor throughout his childhood. So what made him so successful in attracting such an extravagant and self-fulfilling life?

Here are 3 lessons you can learn from Jim Carrey when it comes to manifesting your dreams into a reality:

1. You Have To Take Action

You can’t just visualize then go eat a sandwich”, Jim Carrey says. It goes without saying that the law of attraction does require action. You cannot simply rely on visualizing and expect to see results, especially when it comes to manifesting desires that other people would like to achieve also. E.g. Careers, scholarships, competitions, anything that involves another individual.

Visualization and positive thinking are crucial when it comes to using the law of attraction, but you have to meet the universe halfway with the steps you take as well. We are physical beings that require physical steps to get physical results. The real key is to make daily plans/goals in order to get you closer towards achieving your desires. So after that sandwich, make sure start taking action toward your dreams!

This could be working on your hobbies or passion, applying for that dream job or studying to get better grades. As long as you are moving toward your goals then there’s no reason why it can’t happen. So get out there and kick some butt.

2. Double Down On What You Love

My father could have been a great comedian but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant and when I was 12 years old he was let go from that safe job, and our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father. Not the least of which was that: You can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

If this story of Jim Carrey’s father doesn’t pull on your heartstrings and inspire you at the same time, nothing else will! This is such an undeniable life lesson that everyone needs to learn. A lesson to take risks, push comfort zones and go all-in on what you love doing. So if your dreams, hobbies or goals seem far fetched to the majority, then you are already beating the other 99%.

Be that 1% that’s willing to dream big and rise above the norm. Unfortunately, in today’s society, our ancestral instincts still rule our everyday life. Fear is one of them and controls the majority of our population. It’s scary to push comfort zones and try something new, the thought of failure is often paralyzing to many. But my question to you is, will you look back one day and regret the chances you didn’t take?

3. Keep Your Eye On The Prize

As far as I can tell, it’s just about letting the universe know what you want and working toward it, while letting go of how it comes to pass.” Holding onto every little detail when it comes to manifesting, can conjure up more harm than good. The reason is that the universe will deliver in ways you might not expect.

If you are too busy wondering when your desires will manifest, comparing yourself to others, or ignoring every sign that doesn’t look like your detailed plan you’ve written down, then you may be missing out on opportunities that are right in front of you! Your visualizations don’t have to be perfect, in fact, it’s better to just let go altogether and focus on the result itself rather than dwelling on every little detail. This doesn’t mean to simply forget about what you want but instead having the confidence it will happen in time. 

An example of this is when Jim Carrey wrote himself a check for 30 million dollars. The only detail he knew was that he would earn it through his acting career, and he did indeed achieve this goal! So make sure to tell the universe what you want, but try not to hold onto every little detail!

Jim Carrey is just another person like you and me, with his own personal ups and downs in his road to success. He is someone to look up to when applying the law of attraction in your life too. It doesn’t matter if your goals or desires are different because the core foundation will always stay the same. You can and will do this if you think, feel and act as if it will happen!

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