Well over a decade ago, when I was facilitating a leadership program in Munich, an organizational psychologist joined us as a guest speaker. She shared her research on the effects of actively noticing what we’re grateful for on a daily basis. The connection to health, wellbeing, and life satisfaction was evident based on hard data, as was the effect on performance and leadership.
That was my first exposure to a gratitude practice – something novel then, mainstream now.
Since then, I’ve made various attempts to establish a consistent gratitude practice.
While I notice some benefits, they’re short-lived and (if I’m going to be honest) the activities bore me. The process morphs into an obligation, not something that produces a sense of wellbeing and momentum. I’m left feeling incomplete and, before long, I drop the activity.
As Covid stretched on these past two years and human interaction waned, I made a greater effort to reconnect with my broader circle of friends and former colleagues. It was like picking up right where we left off. Catching up, of course, but quickly shifting to deeper experiences and talking about the people in our lives who impacted us in meaningful ways.
These conversations often concluded with suggestions like, “Carol, you really should write about that experience,” or “You have to write a book or go on a podcast – tell these stories so people can learn from them.”
These prompts got my wheels spinning. And it struck me:
My attempts at a gratitude practice left me incomplete because I wasn’t “closing the loop.”
It’s one thing to reflect and internally notice a feeling of appreciation. It would be quite another to share and relive the stories and then actually express gratitude to the person who gifted me with something of value.
And so, the “My Great-Full Life” blog series was conceived.
The play on words and spelling here is simply to say that I have a full life because of the many great people who have contributed to it along the way.
Their fingerprints sit somewhere on every growth curve I’ve traveled and each achievement I’ve attained because they were generous enough to share their wisdom and support. They guided me through challenges and failures, championed me when I most needed it, and saw in me what I sometimes couldn’t see for myself.
By acknowledging them and sharing the stories of their presence in my life, I hope to close the loop and – perhaps – establish a sustainable gratitude practice that sparks reflection, personal growth and professional development for others.
Thank you for stopping by and feel free to drop me a line with your thoughts and reactions.