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About the Author
Caela Farren, Ph. D.
, President of MasteryWorks, is a leading career development authority providing solutions to large and mid-size companies, including Sprint, Lockheed-Martin, and Capitol One. MasteryWorks provides enterprise web portals, training, consulting, and an assessment framework for employees and managers. For more than 30 years, Dr. Farren has been a tireless advocate around complex issues redefining the workplace. She envisioned the current workplace climate by more than a decade, when she published the book, “Who is Running Your Career: Creating Stable Work in Unstable Times” (Bard Press, 1997). Through MasteryWorks, she oversees solutions that create the foundation for impact-filled “career conversations” - centered on increased contribution, performance, and fit. Her strategic approach consistently delivers on employee engagement and retention goals for her clients

Contact Tom Karl, Executive Vice President for more information - tkarl@masteryworks.com or (703) 256-5712.


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The Power of Gratitude
by Caela Farren, Ph.D., MasteryWorks, Inc.


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By viewing life itself as a gift, gratitude grants new meaning to our daily challenges.
It’s Fall again and our thoughts turn toward Thanksgiving with the expectation of sitting down and giving thanks with our family and friends. At MasteryWorks, we give special thanks to our extended family of clients, the organizations and the people within them, who have made our lives so complete through their continuing commitment to career development. For all of us, Thanksgiving is a moment for reflection, - a time to stop and count our many blessings. It’s a moment to think about the unselfish gifts given to us by our parents and the way they brought us up, the gifts of education and skills freely bestowed on us by devoted teachers, great mentors and managers and the friendship and help of colleagues and our organization. It’s a time to express our gratitude.

The importance of gratitude is undeniable. It changes our perspective on life. By viewing life itself as a gift, gratitude grants new meaning to our daily challenges. The act of thanksgiving provides strength to face and overcome obstacles. It produces endorphins, which create a feeling of happiness and well being. These feelings come from the perception that we will achieve a positive personal outcome due to our actions and those of others. A conscious focus on gratitude makes life more fulfilling, meaningful and productive. Some people go to church, a synagogue or mosque to give thanks. Others volunteer for hospice, read to children in a classroom or solicit donations for favorite charities as acts of gratitude. And others simply reflect quietly on the blessings of the year. Thanksgiving gives us a chance for a brief time out – to truly give thanks.

Gratitude is Important
The attitude of gratitude is important in the workplace. Saying “thank you” for seemingly insignificant tasks, as well as substantial successes at work, will bring a conscious awareness of the unique abilities and talents of your colleagues. If you or a colleague found a way to increase sales, crack open new accounts or improve production, give thanks for those achievements. Make expressing appreciation a daily practice. The importance of expressing gratitude in your day to day work has inestimable value. Whether you feel successful or not, giving thanks for the work and the steps you have taken to achieve your goals is what really matters. Your perspective about work will change. Your attitude and focus on your work shifts to a positive state of mind as you plant the seeds of personal success through your attitude of gratitude.

Gratitude is a State of Mind
Consider gratitude an asset for a moment, such as a stock you bought or an investment in real estate you hold. Of course, assets go up and down, either increasing or decreasing in value. The same applies to gratitude and your state of mind. When you’re in a state of appreciation, your life will increase in value and when your mindset is in a state of depreciation, you will find life decreasing in value. To enjoy the benefits associated with gratitude, your appreciation must be more than a simple mechanical “thank you” as if someone is opening a door for you or a waiter is setting your dinner plate on the table. Gratitude requires sincerity of feeling, a genuine appreciation for even the smallest thing. Gratitude is meaningless unless it’s supported by real feelings of gratefulness. Those feelings contribute to making life more meaningful and work more fulfilling. People who feel their work is meaningful are the same people who are fully engaged, achieve more and are considered the highest performers.

Try this exercise. Make a daily mental or written “Grateful List.” By enumerating the blessings in your daily life, you will consciously acknowledge the good and positive things that are happening to you. You will shift your focus from a negative mindset that’s impacting your life and work and begin to see the positive side of work and life. The more you reflect, the longer your list will grow. Some of the things on my grateful work list include: colleagues who take such good care of our customers, printers who consistently give us quality, customers who value our expertise, our UPS driver who comes back when we’re late, our writers who go the extra mile, friendships with new clients and on-going partnership with a number of companies. What’s on your list? Do these people know about your appreciation? Expressing gratitude creates positive energy for you and those around you. The mood shifts and you and others feel lighter, optimistic and more powerful. Negativity disappears and a positive mindset prevails, which is a key to personal and career success.

A Platform For Greatness in the Workplace
How can you assure yourself of a strong future? Your daily inventory of gratitude goes further than creating a positive attitude at work. It creates a conscious platform for listing your achievements to acknowledge your skills and basic aptitudes, to recognize the value of your work, your managers and organization, and to credit your teachers, mentors, education and family support. By listing all the items you are grateful for at work, you are creating a platform for greatness - a rear mirror to look back at and the road ahead to build a great career. Giving thanks is recognition. Making the most out of the gifts you have been given by others will help assure you of a strong future and put you in touch with the kind of contributions you value.

We all have the ability to enrich the quality of our lives. Cultivating an attitude of gratefulness is all about living in the present moment. We appreciate what is here and now and give thanks for it. I often like to keep a list of people and things that I feel grateful for being a part of my life. I find the list is reflective and spiritually uplifting. Lists change from day to day as both work and life are not static, but change at a moment’s notice. I give thanks for the things that are here and now. While the attitude of gratitude can bring sunlight to darkness and order to chaos, it also gives us insight into what and who we are as workers and individuals. An inventory of gratitude illuminates and focuses upon the kind of people and things we most value and appreciate.

Start Now
Thanksgiving is a perfect time to initiate a circle of gratitude at work. Start a circle of genuine appreciation beginning within your team members and then stretching out to others you frequently contact. Imagine what would happen if all your co-workers expressed genuine appreciation for each other. Start now by making sincere expressions of appreciation a byword in every inter-office note, conversation and meeting. Ask others to join you to create a culture of genuine appreciation and see what happens. Remember that genuine gratitude needs to come from the heart. It's not just saying “thank you,” but how you show it that also counts. Take a moment to write personal thank you notes. Keep a stack of thank you cards and notepaper handy. Don’t be afraid to place a note on a computer keyboard. Never leave a voicemail message without a sincere thank you.

The circle of gratitude is formidable. You can energize the workplace through expressions of appreciation, bring new life and strength of purpose to your team, build lifelong relationships, empower co-workers and bring cooperation and commitment into your organization. The circle of gratitude in the workplace begins with you. You can be the linchpin that makes the difference. Reinforce and acknowledge co-workers for who they are and what they do. Let them know they're valued and appreciated and their work is important. Once the circle of gratitude travels throughout the organization, you will see a revitalized more productive workforce.

Summary
Make this Thanksgiving the beginning of a daily practice of gratitude. Observe yourself and others and thank people frequently for their contributions. What did they do? Why did that behavior bring value to you or your colleagues? How can you say “thank you” from your heart? If you embrace this practice daily, your mood and that of others will rise. Spreading sunshine into the workplace creates positive engery. You’ll see the positive power of gratitude.
Happy Thanksgiving!



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