Four Days That Will Build Extraordinary Gratitude in Your Life
Thanksgiving is indeed my favorite holiday. Even the title captures the spirit of giving and growing and experiencing new versions of ourselves.
There is a strange myth about giving. Unless our giving is “selfless” than it isn’t enough. Nothing could be further from the truth. One of my activities in the LA community has been going to skidrow to support men suffering from alcoholism and addiction. I’m always suggesting that if they want to get out of this hole they’ve fallen into, start by helping others. I’ve witnessed time over time, helping others chips away at the worst self-loathing and self-image. Give to others and one day, they will look into a mirror and like the person who is looking back at them.
Here are four ways to develop gratitude in the week ahead of us. Practice one of these traits for a full day.
Recommendations & Praise
We help people from all walks of life find the work and success that is unique, just like a thumbprint or a DNA coil. A significant aspect of their success is in building the kind of customized support system that will bring success to that vision. Many ask how to get recommendations to add to their business, LinkedIn profile, whatever. I always tell them the same thing:
If you want beautiful recommendations and endorsements give them. Go onto LinkedIn and find 10 people that you admire. Look for people who have been role models and mentors with you. Write beautiful endorsements for them. Be generous. Be specific. Produce enthusiasm for anyone who reads that note.
Guess what? Within hours, we will have terrific endorsements from the same people.
Talk With People in Need
In Los Angeles, a bitter brew of good weather and a corrupt real-estate system has produced one of the most daunting homelessness situations in the world. Many of our grocers are asking to donate food, which is a good thing. But, I get more out of it when I cook the food myself.
Stephanie Klasky-Gamer is the CEO of LA Family Housing, which provides affordable housing to over 4,000 families. She says that much of the homelessness we are finding in our communities is from the working poor. Many are just 1 or 2 paychecks from homelessness. Stephanie, a remarkable and visionary leader tells patrons to do more than giving money to organizations such as hers or directly to people on the street. She suggests that we talk to them. In my work, I’m always telling successful people that the number one reason we fail is isolation. Those of us who hand someone a dollar and rush away could be doing so much more by talking and listening.
Last year, my partner and I found ourselves in a fight for our lives. One of our neighbors was being beaten to death by her mentally disabled son. We spent 40 minutes fighting for our lives. His mother was so wounded that she had to be revived several times before making it to the hospital. Quite a few people said we were heroes and the title felt really awkward. One of our friends changed the context of that event by saying, “Saving someone’s life is a sacred act. What you did was sacred.”
How many people have forgotten that life is sacred?
My favorite story on the topic:
One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African-American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, delivery men rolled a giant new console color TV into his living room.
A note was attached to a huge red ribbon and bow. It read:
“Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain-drenched not only my clothes but also my spirits. Then you came along . . . Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s’ bedside just before he passed away . . . God Bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.”
Mrs. Nat King Cole
Try Totally New Behavior
Years ago, my dear and late friend Ann Cavanaugh told me how hard it can be to change our lives. Ann was someone who came from very difficult beginnings only to get herself into graduate school and become an influential psychologist.
She told me about “The Dance of Death.” This is when we walk into the kitchen during Thanksgiving and run into the relative who makes the same nasty remark she has directed towards you for years. You respond with a smartly cynical retort. Both of you leave the room until the next holiday.
Perhaps this Thursday offers an opportunity to love them to death.
And, what could be the big personal payoff?
The most valuable possibility is to stop taking anything personally. Those of us who have made taking nothing personally are some of the happiest people on earth.
Schedule 15-Minutes to Discuss Your Workplace or Career with David (Here)
(C) Copyright, 2019, Inspired Work, Inc. – (All Rights Reserved)