Hands down…Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year! I am a huge fan of all of the accouterments of this season and a fanatic admirer of those who lead their families, teams, organizations, and communities from a heart of encouragement, empowerment, and gratitude.
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” Marcus Tullius Cicero
The Gratitude Attitude
In his best selling book, Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment, Martin Seligman describes a particularly profound assignment that he has his students carry out called a “Gratitude Visit.” Seligman regularly cherishes the mounds of feedback he receives from this very simple, yet life impacting experiment with his learners; many who express the experience as a life-altering event. Seligman explains the following instructions to his students that I believe are quite transferrable to you and I today. Bonus – This task is free and transferrable across all sectors:
- Select one important person from your past who has made a major positive difference in your life and to whom you have never fully expressed your thanks. (Do not confound this selection with newfound romantic love, or with the possibility of a future gain.)
- Write a testimonial just long enough to cover one laminated page. Take your time composing this.
- Invite that person to your home, or travel to that person’s home. It is important you do this face to face, not just in writing or on the phone.
- Do not tell the person the purpose of the visit in advance; a simple “I just want to see you” will suffice.
- Bring a laminated version of your tribute with you as a gift. Read your testimonial aloud slowly, with expression, and with eye contact. Then let the other person react unhurriedly.
- Reminisce together about the concrete events that make this person so important to you.
The offering of gratitude comes easily for the secure leader grounded in wisdom and maturity. Healthy organizational culture infused with gratitude widely manifest behaviors of civility, compassion, respect, and courtesy. Gratitude based cultures are not weighed down by the toxicity of complaint and manipulation, but rather empowerment and opportunity.
At GiANT Worldwide, we are so very grateful and blessed to work with some of the finest; most humble, and sharp leaders across the globe. Our esteemed clients are also genuine friends who have profoundly influenced us to raise our game of Becoming, Building and Leading.
So, if you were looking for a leadership lesson, realize you have been. Remarkably observed is the fact that the great leaders we serve show their gratitude freely and genuinely. If you wanted a motivational spark, know that your modeling of liberated leadership is making a difference and spurring others to become leaders worth following.
To the valiant taking on the “Gratitude Visit Challenge,” we would be gratefully encouraged to hear from you.
Stay thoughtful in your thankfulness. Continue to be gracious in your giving. Abound in your plentiful praise of others.
Best wishes to all and a Blessed Thanksgiving to our GiANT Worldwide family and friends!