Messages of gratitude have filled my life recently and their impact on me has been such that I wanted to share them so you might also find a tidbit of gladness!
I just finished reading the book “Pollyanna” by Eleanor H. Porter with my daughter. You may have read it as a child or seen the movies it spawned. Pollyanna is an orphan that brings happiness to everyone she touches. Her father taught her “The Glad Game” which she shares with everyone. The gist of the game is that when you find something that makes you feel down or sad, you find a way to turn it into something to be glad about. According to Pollyanna, the harder it is to find something to be glad about, the more fun the game is.
My daughter has taken to this concept and, in turn, so have I. When something is making her mad or sad, I ask “What’s there to be glad about?” and funny enough, there’s always something! Just having this tool has helped us turn around many a seemingly bad situation.
That was the first message of gratitude I encountered in the month of November.
The second point was highlighted at church last week, the readings focused on the Beatitudes (Matthew 3:5-12 of the Bible). You may recognize them – the verse begins “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” The priest focused on how every person, regardless of religion, has a duty to act in the ways outlined in the Beatitudes and his sole call to action was to take one of these and try very hard to use it actively throughout the week. Sounds easy, right? But in our busy lives where we are constantly interacting with people through various media, ensuring we act with kindness and compassion and not defensively or as an instigator can make all the difference between a successful and unsuccessful conversation or negotiation. Being a “peacemaker” can be more difficult than it sounds.
The final message was the quote, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about,” I saw on LinkedIn. Next to this, were other articles that demonstrated how quick we are to judge others. Rather than trying to understand or simply be kind, we start with negativity. It’s hard to understand why that is, but not so hard to remember this quote and take action accordingly.
I noted that each of these messages was found in vastly different parts of my life and via different media. This fact reminds me that these concepts apply to every interaction and every situation; and in our daily busy-ness, it can be a challenge to keep these ideas front and center. But the question, “What’s there to be glad about?” can move you a long way from frustration, anger, and sadness to a focus on kindness, understanding, and a realization that it’s not as bad as you think.
Being a “Pollyanna” is more than having a positive attitude – it’s giving the gift of gratitude to others as well. It will help you as a business leader to be more genuine in your interactions, as a business manager to focus your team on what’s important, and as a person to engage with everyone you meet with heart, empathy, and authenticity. In the words of Maya Angelou, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!