Today, I’m starting a three-post series on the Arrow Path Coaching blog called “Attitude Is Everything.” The idea came from a recent post I shared about getting from an “get by” job to an “ideal” job. I wanted to dig a little deeper on that idea, and here we are.
Regardless of what kind of job you may have, we all can take control of our attitude. That’s a decision we need to make long before the stresses and emotions of the day hit us (because it’s not if they’ll come, but when). One way I think you and I can do that is to work with a grateful heart.
BEING GRATEFUL HAPPENS OVER TIME
Gratefulness is something that isn’t natural for everyone, myself included. I remember as a young boy, I was so impatient and probably too demanding for my mom and dad. You name it, I wanted it -- video games, candy, the TV remote. It was bad! But as I grew up, I changed. I matured through positive friendships, my personal relationship with God, and even some hard conversations. But they made me better, and we can develop a grateful heart over time, day after day. Here are two ways we can develop a grateful heart in our work and in our lives.
TWO WAYS TO DEVELOP A GRATEFUL HEART
Way #1 - Choose To See
Be willing to get above the stresses and daily craziness of your life and see what’s going on. In his book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Dr. Travis Bradbury calls this idea “Watching Yourself Like A Hawk,” saying that just like a hawk soars above the landscape to see its surroundings, we need to do the same thing with our lives now and then.
When you think about your life, what do you see? Do you see a marriage? A dating relationship? Positive friendships? Or what about a less than ideal job, but one that keeps your family fed and your bills paid on time?
Take a moment. Choose to stop, and be willing to really see what’s going on in your life. You’ll be surprised at what you find.
Way #2 - Write It Down
The last way I think we can develop a grateful heart is to write down what we're grateful for. This is something I would do a lot with our teenage patients when I worked for an addiction treatment facility. The idea is simple -- write out a list of things you are grateful for, big and small, and don’t edit yourself. You could be grateful for food in your refrigerator, a loving spouse, a relationship with God, your church, or a reliable car. The list could be endless.
I can’t fully describe the science of it, but the act of writing helps us slow down long enough so we can think more deeply. You can’t cultivate a grateful heart when you're swimming in a sea of stress and chaos. There is wisdom to this slowing down and writing out things that you’re grateful for, even if it’s at home after your workday.
No matter what kind of job you have, you can get through the chaotic times and stressful days. But, you can only do that when you start to develop a grateful heart. Be willing to stop. Be willing to slow down. Be willing to be grateful.