Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! — PSALM 100:1-2
The benefits of gratitude are well-documented. This Newsweek article highlights that grateful people are healthier and sleep better. They are also more hopeful, more empathetic, more resilient, more helpful and have greater self-esteem. Just 15 minutes a day spent giving thanks can change your life.
Besides these benefits, gratitude will make you a better leader. Here’s how:
- Gratitude reminds you that it’s not about you. Whether you work for a church, nonprofit or mission-based organization, it’s not about you. If you’re focused on what you can get out of it, you’ve missed the point. On the other hand, if your personal mission is aligned with your organization’s purpose, then you realize that the work you do is about something much greater than yourself.
When you’re grateful, you’re more likely to think about the good things that are happening because of the work you do. It’s not all because of you, but you are part of something that is making a difference in the world.
- Gratitude reminds you that you can’t do it alone. None of us can do it alone. You work together with others to achieve greater things than you can do on your own. Whether a family, church or organization of any size, relationships matter. Giving thanks for those relationships will make you a better friend, spouse, sibling, child, co-worker and leader.
When you pray for other people you think more kindly of them. It’s also a good time to express your gratitude for them. Instead of thinking about what they haven’t done for you, think of how knowing them, living with them, working with them makes your life better.
- Gratitude helps you keep your priorities in order. When you are grateful you are less self-centered and are better able to discern what matters most. Gratitude can give you the resolve to focus on those things, even as you feel pressure from all aspects of your life.
This can mean spending time with a friend or family member even when work demands are relentless. It can mean helping a person in need even when you don’t feel like it. It can mean helping a colleague or staff member meet their goals even when you haven’t met yours. It sometimes means taking time for yourself so you can better serve others.
Why does all this matter? Because people will follow a leader who is clearly aligned with their mission and who appreciates the work of others. They will work for a leader who is not about himself or herself, and who genuinely looks to help others. Gratitude helps you do this.
Think and Pray
What really matters in your life? How are you grateful for this?
Heavenly Father, help me to live a life of gratitude recognizing that everything that I have in this life has been a gift from You. Thank You, Lord! Amen!
Jack Shitama is an author, teacher, speaker and coach. He is an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church and currently serves as the Executive Director at Pecometh Camp & Retreat Ministries in Centreville, MD. He is also the minister-in-residence for the Center for Clergy Excellence at Pecometh. He is the author of Anxious Church, Anxious People: How to Lead Change in an Age of Anxiety and One New Habit, One Big Goal: Change Your Life in 10 Weeks. This article first appeared on his blog http://thenonanxiousleader.com/blog