This week, most of us in the U.S. will celebrate Thanksgiving — a time when family and friends gather to reflect on what they are grateful for and enjoy good food and good company.
All year long, however, gratitude can be a part of your personal brand. Showing appreciation, celebrating the successes of others, lending a helping hand and paying it forward are key aspects of building relationships, deepening (and earning credibility for) your values and sharing with people around you.
In helping 30+ professionals build and promote their authentic personal brands, I have yet to encounter one executive, leader, professional or student who does not want to express the value of showing appreciation. In every case, the ability to demonstrate gratitude is somewhere in the reputation mix that each of my clients has desired to be known for.
For some professionals, they want to be regarded as helpful, collaborative, appreciative or approachable. For others, there is a very strong desire to be known as someone who values the essence of every day, every minute, every second they are here on Earth — their goal is to share so much gratitude that they “lift” the negative energy around them and can make the world a better place.
For some of my clients, gratitude shows up as philanthropy or generosity. For others, it is mentoring and nurturing those around them. For yet others, it is leadership through challenge, in the corporate world or on the battle field.
However we express our gratitude, the act of appreciation and recognition are not lost on those around us. The people who work for us, the people we serve and the people we encounter in random situations can feel gratitude in palpable, real ways. It might brighten their day, inspire them to help someone else, or renew their faith in mankind. Or, it might just make them smile for a moment.
In his book, “Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier,” UC Davis professor Robert Emmons notes several benefits of being grateful, including:
– 25% happier
– Reduce blood pressure by up to 10%
– Live up to 7 years longer with frequent positive emotions
Some ways you might show gratitude — this time of year and others — include:
– a handwritten note to someone who has made a difference in your life
– a phone call “just to say thank you” to someone who has helped you
– a charitable donation in a client’s name, to demonstrate your commitment to paying it forward
– a random act of kindness to a stranger who might need to feel valued
– a gift of your time/expertise/talent to someone struggling to make sense of things
I could go on. My list of gratitudes is endless. I am grateful for my faith, my family and friends, my health, and my ability to serve others through the work I do with military veterans, women’s groups, and children with Down Syndrome. I am thankful that I have enough energy, talent, and ability to (in a small way) make a difference in the lives of other people.
What are you grateful for?