Why Gratitude

This past fall I had a chance to hear Kim Cameron, a former Associate Dean at the Ross Schoold of Business at the University of Michigan. He talked about the power of gratitude and gave a number of examples about how gratitude can change an organization.

One of the examples he gave was about a CEO of a multi-billion dollar company that he consulted with. This CEO started writing thank you notes each week to someone in his company. He reported that it was one of the best things that he’s done to help the company grow. He also gave some other examples of different studies that were done in the area of gratitude.

I came away from his presentation intrigued. Could simple acts of gratitude really change a person, a law firm, and a business?

I decided to try a personal non-scientific experiment to see what effect gratitude could have on my life.  One of his suggestions was to write in a gratitude journal every day. So I decided to write three things in my gratitude journal every day. Since October, I’ve only missed 2 days.  In addition I got my family involved in this experiment.

Here are the effects it has had on me personally.  Over the past several months I can say that I’ve been happier than I have ever been. I go to sleep so much faster than I used to.  I’ve found my interactions with my staff and my children has improved.

One family story for you. After a few weeks of writing in our gratitude journals as a family we decided to go to the movie together.  I have 5 children so usually a 15 minute car ride ends up with some sort of bickering.  We had a great time at the movie.  Later on that night I was reflecting about how great of a time we had and realized that we didn’t have any bickering in the car. Maybe the gratitude journal was really working.

I’d love to have everyone that reads this post take the opportunity to do two things:

  • First, write in a gratitude journal every day. My goal is to have a gratitude journal on every night stand.
  • Second, take the time each week to write a quick thank you note to someone in your office.

If you will do these two things I’m sure you will have a similar experience as I have had with the power of gratitude.

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