In This Time of Thanks-giving

Last week, as part of our Corporate Member Voices of Wisdom™ Webinar Series, Dr. Robert Denker shared his wisdom on Gratitude as a Leadership Skill. As anticipated, Bob did not disappoint. The learning was extraordinary.

Bob talked about the importance of expressing gratitude as a transformational leader. He noted several research studies on the benefits of expressing gratitude including “The Nun’s Study,” which followed 700 nuns who agreed to write in a diary over an extended period of time. When the diaries were reviewed, those nuns who expressed words of gratitude and positive emotion had lived well into their 80s, while those who did not had a much shorter life span. He also shared the Wharton School Fundraising Study. The fundraisers were broken into two groups. One group followed the standard fundraising call protocol without any additional expression of gratefulness for their work. Prior to making their calls, the second group was encouraged and thanked profusely by the Director of Annual Giving. She let this group know that their efforts made a difference and that she was grateful for them. Group two made 50% more calls than Group 1.

Bob also shared that the research shows that women are more likely to express gratitude than men. The research is based on current studies, focusing on high level leaders who primarily represent the baby boomer generation. Bob went on to say that younger male leaders may score higher on studies in the future.

Bob shared with us the Habit Master app, something that he uses daily, to remind him to express three things for which he is grateful. Not a person to regularly journal about that for which he is grateful, Bob finds this to be an excellent personal tool to practice the skill of gratitude.

In this season of Thanksgiving, I reflect on how very much there is for which I have to be grateful. Many of you know that last Monday I went back to the oncologist, following a three month wait to see if my LDH, a serum in the blood that measures inflammation had gone down. It had been elevated at my last appointment in August. This is not something they like to see with lymphoma. I blogged about this experience in my Caring Bridge site (https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/maureenobrien). The great news is, my LDH has come down and all of my other numbers were well within the normal range. I. AM. STILL. CANCER. FREE. Incredibly grateful!

My hope for you is that you take time this week to reflect on all of the things for which you have to be grateful. There is so much goodness in our lives. Oftentimes, that goodness is overlooked and silenced by the things in our world that are wrong. Certainly, we have major issues of concern. At the same time, I wonder what might be possible if we focused on the goodness, if we actually looked and were grateful for all of the abundance of our lives, and we expressed real gratitude for all of those gifts.

Perhaps that will be my commitment to you between now and the end of the year. I will create a focused practice of thankfulness. Everyday, EVERYDAY … I will actively seek to express gratitude for five things in my life. Those things can include circumstances, experiences, and most especially people for whom I am grateful. Will you join me in this practice? Let’s see what goodness we can create in the world by focusing on gratitude.

It seems appropriate that I start this practice in this very moment. I am so very grateful for YOU! Thank you for your encouragement. Thank you for your place in my life. Thank you for insisting that I live into my fullest potential. I. AM. GRATEFUL.

Happy Thanksgiving!