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Gratitude in Action

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Here are four practices to consider in constructing your gratitude portfolio:

Be specific–When thanking someone for a job well done, be specific about what you’re grateful for. “Great job!” is vague. Better to say (or to add), “I really appreciate how timely and thorough you were with this report. Thanks so much!”

Tell your clients–Think about each of your clients, and about their specific qualities and actions that you appreciate most and feel most grateful about. Then tell them so in your next appointment or phone call–or send them a hand-written note, just to say Thanks! Thanking them for their business–necessary. Expressing your recognition of and appreciation for what is special about them, like the MasterCard commercial says–priceless!

Do gratitude profiles of your work associates–Create a Gratitude Profile for each of your work associates. For each person, make a list (it works better if you write it out, but you can start with mental accounting) of those qualities, habits, and actions you appreciate and feel most grateful for. (Hint: you may find yourself thinking, “But they’re just doing their job!” That may be true, but consider what you gain from their performing their job, and from their doing it in the particular ways they do it.) You can share their Gratitude Profile with them, but you don’t have to. Simply creating it, knowing it’s there, and reviewing it from time to time will pay dividends in shaping how you relate to them. Try it; you’ll like it.

Preparing for that dreaded meeting–When you find yourself anticipating meeting with someone about whom you’re feeling negatively (for example, a co-worker, supervisor, or client), reflect on aspects of that person that you are grateful for: their positive qualities and aspirations, and times when they have been at their best. Keep these in mind as you prepare, and recall them when you are in the meeting. You’ll feel more engaged and alive in their presence, and they’ll “catch” and reciprocate your positive feelings. This will work especially well if you’ve created a written gratitude profile (if it’s a work associate or supervisor) or expressed your gratitude and appreciation (for your client).