Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Gratitude Advantage

by Janet M. Shlaes, Ph.D.

What are you grateful for? As the year comes to an end, it’s customary to review the past year and set goals for the coming year. Yearend reviews often take the form of listing accomplishments, goals not quite reached, personal/professional celebrations and perceived failures, etc. What lacks in traditional annual reviews is the incorporation of a gratitude assessment for the people, places, opportunities, challenges, growth experienced and the various lessons learned.  I propose that the addition of a gratitude assessment to your yearend review will significantly expand your perceptual filters, your results and the entire manner in which you move through the world. Let me explain……

As a psychologist working in the counseling, educational and organizational development realms, I often have the privilege of guiding individuals and teams through values-based exercises. This process is a powerful one for all. Until last week, it had been several years since I was personally guided through a values-based activity. My experience was quite powerful on many levels.  The essence of the guided values evaluation was to choose the top ten values/qualities that you would like to bring into your life in the next year. Each participant received a list of values and could add relevant values that weren’t on the list.

As I went through the list and created my ten top values hierarchy, something quite powerful shifted for me. I realized that in spite of (or, perhaps because of) the various challenges faced in the prior year, almost every single value/quality on the list of choices was already present in some form in both my personal and professional lives. This extraordinary recognition sent me on a journey contemplating the potential impact of having lived out the prior year with this awareness. How different might my experience have been moving through the ups and downs of the prior year had I been connected with the presence of already existing treasured values? How might my experience of gratitude have shifted my inner dialogue, perceptual filters and external experience? Ironically, when your intention is to notice things to be grateful for, you wind up significantly expanding your recognition of and appreciation for what is already present in your life. What will you choose to be grateful for today?


For additional commentaries to ponder, I invite you to browse the following links:

Courage Revisited

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