When Investors Business Daily interviewed me during Thanksgiving week in 2004 about LodeStar Universal executive coaching, they were curious about one particular executive coaching “secret.” Once a controversial and edgy idea, the practice was none other than my take on the “gratitude journal.” Five years later, it’s again Thanksgiving; and I still recommend the practice. More than ever, but it is especially transformative when you have dug yourself into a rut where negative thinking is gaining ground.
If you’ve never done it, here are three simple steps I suggest to get started:
1. Buy a small spiral notebook. 2. Once a day, for four weeks, write down five items that you can be grateful for, every, single day. 3. The catch? You have to genuinely think and then feel thankful. You don’t have to stick to business. Be thankful for the jet of hot water on your back in the shower, your favorite team’s winning score, the sound of rustling fall leaves as you walk across the lawn.
The trick is to feel thankful for 10-15 seconds for each item, as long as it takes to write the words on the page. This adds up to about a minute a day. A minute a day is all it takes to ignite changes in your life and sphere of influence. It’s one way to create little miracles, because you are turning pessimism into possibilities. Thoughts of what you can’t do or achieve begin to dissolve. After several weeks, a transformation begins to occur where you see solutions you never considered before.
Tip: Don’t forget to be especially thankful for things that have upset or angered you. Typically, highly emotional, troubling situations are a treasure trove of opportunity.
As for me, this Thanksgiving what am I thankful for? One of the many things I’m thankful for is this: My once “edgy” idea about gratitude is almost commonplace now, and that is deeply satisfying.