Ah, Thanksgiving. A time for family, (way too much) food, and taking the time to reflect on the things we appreciate most in our lives.
I’m guessing more likely than not, at some point you’ve sat at the Thanksgiving dinner table, going around in a circle as you recount all the things you are grateful for… sound familiar?
And don’t get me wrong, I think that’s a fantastic thing to do. But what about the other 364 days of the year?
It’s all too easy to think about gratitude as just a fuzzy, feel-good concept. But gratitude isn’t only a feeling, and it shouldn’t be reserved for just one day of the year. Gratitude is also an outlook, an action, and a habit we all can cultivate. And the benefits of gratitude are measurable.
In fact, research has shown that gratitude can improve general well-being, increase resilience, strengthen social relationships, and reduce stress and depression.
Practicing gratitude also triggers a whole other set of productive and profitable behaviors in the workplace. I talk with hundreds of PT owners a year about how to improve their businesses, increase their profits, and work smarter, rather than harder. And there’s one single piece of guidance I give more than any other: invite more gratitude into your daily life.
As PT owners and business leaders, when we lead with gratitude, we spark motivation, energy, drive, commitment and success not only in ourselves, but in our teams.
So how do you begin to practice gratitude?
Look for opportunities to be grateful.
Launching a gratitude practice takes nothing more than your attentiveness to the positive moments unfolding throughout your day. Work at being alert to all the effort, dedication, and accomplishment that are happening right now in your practice.
- Focus on positives. Look for something good and positive every day. Express thanks, appreciation, and gratitude for the positive experiences, tasks accomplished, or excellent customer service you receive.
- Acknowledge people for whom you are grateful. Saying “I appreciate you” to the next person with whom you interact is sure to light up a smile. Sharing a “thank you” when someone holds open a door or hands you what you’ve asked for counts too.
Make gratitude a habit.
Start a practice of jotting down on a daily basis the things you’re grateful for. Just like practicing a musical instrument or a sport, practicing gratitude means we can get better at both recognizing opportunities to express gratitude and then outwardly expressing gratitude and appreciation.
- Even on your toughest day, commit to finding at least a couple of grateful moments. Daily actions and expressions of gratitude benefit everyone and combat negativity.
- Reinforce your gratitude by finding new ways to express it: a text, an email, a hand-written note, a public display such as praise during a meeting or sending flowers with a thank-you.
Share your appreciation.
This is where gratitude starts to pay off exponentially. Share your gratitude with your team. Do so simply, genuinely, and regularly—and watch as their energy, dedication, and commitment to your mission soar.
- During a staff meeting, consider incorporating a gratitude moment in which anyone can share something for which they are happy or grateful. By sharing gratitude, you’ll all discover pleasant surprises about the really good things happening each week.
- You can also create a culture of gratitude by expressing appreciation for your patients; by thanking your vendors for their good work and timely delivery; by actively expressing gratitude for referrals, and through all of the ideas you and your team generate for expressing gratitude.
Celebrate the results!
I know that it sounds simple, expressing gratitude. However, your daily gratitude will bring results – results that very well may be beyond what you can imagine today. When new gifts (results) appear, celebrate and be grateful.
Share the gratitude habit with others.
Encourage others to express gratitude in their lives. Share the gratitude tool as an idea and see what actions others take.
- Inspire others by sharing your stories of how you’ve overcome the negativity of the world by focusing your thoughts and expressions on gratitude.
- Ask clients about positive experiences. In our practice, rather than asking people “how are you feeling?” or “what’s been going on?” we ask “What’s one positive experience you’ve had since the last time you were here?” This question gets people thinking differently. Often we find that clients are sharing progress they’ve made between visits! Building on the positives helps them during the current session and in-between treatments.
So I encourage you to go forth, enjoy this wonderful time spent with family and friends, and make a commitment to practicing gratitude EVERY day. Your personal health and your business will thank you.
By Jamey Schrier
PT, Founder & CEO, Practice Freedom U
November 27, 2019
4 minute read