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Access the Power of Thankfulness and Appreciation

December 4th, 2014

I am Thankful for... Mary Lore

In the mid-1990s, I was an executive officer for several companies in crisis and owner of my own growing business. I was working over a hundred hours a week, drained, unhealthy, and unhappy – and I felt there was no way out. After an “aha” moment, I realized that I was responsible for my world, that I created my world, and that the only way I could change my world was to change myself. I knew that my thoughts were the only things over which I had complete responsibility and accountability. So I started to look at what was going on inside my head. I decided to start managing my thoughts.

I wondered about it and woke up with the idea to start a thankfulness journal. Every night before I went to sleep, I took an inventory of my day and wrote down everything I was thankful for. Frankly, I was surprised at the length of the list because I thought everything was wrong in my world. I was also surprised to see the list expanded every day.

Then I noticed a shift in my thinking. I started seeing people and situations in a whole new light. I focused on what I wanted, not what I didn’t want and didn’t like. I turned fear into inspiration. I smiled and laughed. I felt as though a weight had been lifted. I started eating well and sleeping well. I accomplished much more, in quantity and quality, in less time. Those around me truly appreciated my transformation as I expressed how I valued and appreciated them. I received ideas on how to create even more that made me thankful. I couldn’t wait to start my day!

I also changed how I was working in organizations and to this day, I start every strategic planning session with What are we thankful for? About our customers? Our suppliers? Our employees? Our investors and sources of money? Our products and services? Functional areas? Processes? The industry?

It is similar to focusing on our strengths, except focusing on our strengths is an intellectual process. As we practice being thankful, we become inspired and it’s when we are inspired that we achieve significant results.

The Power of Thankfulness and Appreciation

Throughout my book, Managing Thought, I talk about thankfulness being one of the highest levels of consciousness.

As we practice being thankful and expressing appreciation, we invoke a power within. We become expansive, our world opens, we widen our view. Creative ideas emerge and we experience a dramatic improvement in our relationships, our creativity, and in our lives.

Studies show  that those who practice thankfulness are healthier, have a better outlook on life, and are more likely to reach important goals; that being valued, appreciated, part of a community, and having the opportunity to contribute are the key drivers to employee satisfaction, engagement, retention, and performance.

I wrote the Companion Guide: How to Access the Power of Thankfulness to provide a toolkit for the practice of thankfulness, to make it a way of life, a way of being, at home and at work. It’s an audio book so I can be with you in your car :) and a PDF so you can print out the exercises — All in one! There are hundreds of activities (with facilitation guidance) for organizations, individuals, and families.

Here’s a fun activity from the Guide to use at home or at work:

  1. Give everyone a blank 8-1/2 x 11 piece of paper and a pen. If you have a large group, you may want to give everyone two pieces of paper paper-clipped together (You may want to splurge for nice paper and Sharpies of various colors.)
  2. Have everyone write their name at the top of the paper (or both papers if they have two) and then pass it to the person on their right. (If someone refuses to participate or is absent from the gathering, write their name on top of a piece of paper for them.)
  3. Give everyone a minute or two to write at least one thing they are thankful for about the person whose name is at the top of the page. It could be something about their personality, a talent or skill they have, how they touched you or helped you in the past or present (If you have young children at the table, you may want to allow more time so an older child or grown-up can write what they want to say for them.) Ring a bell to indicate they have about 30 seconds left and ring the bell to indicate that time is up.
  4. Instruct everyone to pass their paper to their right.
  5. Continue steps 3, 4 and 5 until everyone has the piece of paper with their name on it back in front of them.
  6. Give everyone a minute or two to read what’s been written for them.
  7. Invite everyone to read aloud what’s on their sheet of paper. Ask who wants to go first, and next and so on until everyone has shared.
  8. To conclude, thank everyone for sharing and thank them for the difference they make in your life and in the lives of others.
  9. You may want to provide a folder, an envelope or a plastic sleeve for them to put their paper in or a ribbon to tie around the paper rolled into a scroll.

This activity works great around the dinner table, around a conference table at work, in a circle in a classroom, in any group to which we belong.

When we invoke the power of thankfulness we tap into an incredible power within ourselves and others. We rekindle the spark of love, re-ignite our creativity, re-invoke our state of wonder and restore our sense of purpose.

We become inspired. And it is when we are inspired that we achieve significant, meaningful, long-lasting results.

I invite you to practice thankfulness and appreciation every day.

See what happens.