As self-help author Melody Beattie wrote, "Gratitude turns what we have into enough — and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." In today's uncertain world, an attitude of gratitude is the best way to create a vision for a brighter future.
I would like to suggest six exercises that will empower you to demonstrate and reap the rewards of gratitude in the midst of the chaos and uncertainty.
Exercise 1 -- Start with WHY!
Simon Sinek, motivational speaker, author, and marketing consultant, has made the foundation of his work the examination of "WHY" -- the exploration of who you are and what inspires you to act. Gratitude for your profession will elevate as you answer the following three questions:
- What is my cause in the business of insurance and risk management?
- What gives me meaning to my work?
- What inspires me to act?
Today's consumer desperately wants you to:
- Recognize their pain
- Demonstrate empathy
- Appreciate the impact that the uncertainty has had on their family, industry, and business
- Identify their current stage(s) in dealing with today's risks and uncertainties
- Reach out to them. Actively listen. Design a plan that gives them comfort and confidence with their issues.
- Deliver process-oriented solutions to manage their risks
Starting with WHY is the first step in gaining an attitude of gratitude!
Exercise 2 -- Growth Mindset
A mindset is a set of assumptions, methods, beliefs, and attitudes that you hold. It is so powerful that it orients the way you think, act, feel, and handle situations. There are both internal and external forces that shape your mindset. The chaos and uncertainty in the world and economy are examples of external forces. Internal forces include your skill set, attitude, and beliefs.
The following growth mindset exercise may be of value. To what degree do you agree with the following statements?
- There is a solution for every problem.
- My glass is always half-full, rather than half-empty.
- I possess the ability to comprehend emotions in myself and others.
If you agree with the above statements, you demonstrate a growth mindset...a necessity to move through the uncertainty.
Exercise 3 – Resilience
Resilience is that amazing skill that enables you to recover quickly from difficulties. While research indicates that the coping skills of people vary drastically after a crisis, resilient individuals are able to manage their feelings, keep perspectives in check, and maintain control as they tackle problems.
The following affirmations will help reframe your mindset toward resilience so you can practice cultivating presence and competence in any situation:
- In a crisis or chaotic situation, I calm myself and focus on the task at hand.
- I am durable. I hold up well during tough times.
- I adapt quickly to new developments. I bounce back well from adversity.
Exercise 4 – Empathy
Possibly, there is no more essential quality that evidences gratitude than empathy. So, what is empathy and why is it so important? It is best defined as the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings and thoughts of another person. Henry Ford once said, "If there is any great secret of success in life, it lies in the ability to put yourself in another person's place and see things from his or her point of view.”
If you agree with the following statements, you score high on the empathy scale.
- In my work life, community, and personal life, I demonstrate compassion for others less fortunate.
- I possess a high level of emotional intelligence.
- I always see things from the other person's point of view.
Gratitude and empathy go hand-in-hand. If you performed well on the empathy exercise, you are consciously making choices that positively impact others as well as you.
Exercise 5 -- Relational GPS
One of my favorite books is Business Relationships that Last by Ed Wallace. In his book, he teaches us about a simple, yet powerful concept --Relational GPS. Getting where you want to go in life is contingent upon your ability to develop and nurture relationships with clients, colleagues, prospects, centers of influence, and community. GPS stands for G – Goals, P – Passions, and S - Struggles.
Can you respond affirmatively to the following questions? If so, you have mastered Relational GPS.
- In the midst of chaos and uncertainty, I have a grasp of the goals of those whom I serve.
- I share personal and professional causes for which my community cares so much about.
- I make it a point to comprehend the struggles that are preventing others from reaching their goals and passions in the midst of chaos and uncertainty.
Exercise 6 – Employee & Client Appreciation
Maintaining your agency’s culture can be difficult while many are working remotely. The same goes for fostering deep relationships with your clients. Perhaps you can create an opportunity to express your gratitude face-to-face by sharing a meal in the lunchroom with a colleague or scheduling a visit to a client’s office.
Ask yourself the following reflective questions and think of creative solutions if you answered negatively:
- How can I be a "good neighbor" to my colleagues and people in my community?
- How can I do a better job of communicating with my teammates?
- Have I expressed how grateful I am to my clients? Do they know how often I feel thankful they have chosen me to serve as their advisor?
Showing gratitude doesn’t cost much money or time, either. A simple handwritten note or email asking, “How are you?” can really go a long way in showing you care.
Consider the best ways to shift your mindset away from focusing on what you lack, and toward cultivating an appreciation for what you already have. Being grateful is about the future, not the past. An attitude of gratitude means sharing blessings in your life with others, consciously choosing to open your eyes to the good around you.