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How Gratitude Affects Businesses and Communities


Gratitude is contagious; it's exponential; it affects us in ways that we don’t quite understand. But, we’re learning more and more that gratitude has long-lasting effects on our health and happiness.

Now, what does this have to do with business and community? I would say–a lot. I think our mindset affects how we experience life, affects how we interact with our friends or colleagues, our neighbors. It affects whether we read that text and know what they meant or read in something they didn't mean.

There’s been a lot of gratitude in the content that I’ve been receiving lately. One of the sources has been Quint Studer's podcast, the Busy Leader's Handbook podcast where he interviewed a real estate developer of more than 20 years. He went through a tough time when the great recession hit that completely decimated the company. They went from lots and lots of employees to three employees, lost nearly all their assets, and started rebuilding. Over the last nearly 20 years they've rebuilt that into a great company.

What that personal struggle did for him was not only provide a professional pivot but also a personal pivot. One of the big takeaways was his realization that he had been myopically focused on success as he defined it and the effect that that on his health and well being. What he found as part of his personal pivot was a focus on gratitude and mindfulness was even a benefit to his business endeavors.

It just affects us in ways we can’t understand. So, that was really encouraging to hear from someone who’s been uber focused on success and money and building and developing. When that was taken away the rebuilding process was one of going inward.

There's a quote I saw recently and I just wanted to pass it on (and I forget who to attribute it to) it was simply that "it’s not only about the income but it’s also about the outcome." So, gratitude.

Jay Shetty, in his book, Think Like a Monk, talks about gratitude quite a bit and how we can cultivate a practice of gratitude. Now, we’re probably not going to go off and live in a monastery or an ashram or somewhere and detach from the world. I don’t think we need to do that to develop a practice of just being more grateful and being more mindful of the things we're grateful for.

And, it’s a funny thing because once you start voicing what you're grateful for, it's a different effect and just having a kind of having it somewhere in the back of your mind. When you say thank, you when you write it down in a journal, it affects you differently.

Laurie Santos teaches a class on happiness that Yale University and she cites some studies that having a mindful gratefulness practice–daily writing down things we're grateful for and daily acknowledging things were grateful for throughout the day–has an impact on happiness that's not just that day, but can last up to months in our overall happiness.

So, there’s something to gratitude that affects us. That’s what I’ve been hearing; that’s what I’ve been learning; and I wanted to pass that on to you. I hope that you are able to incorporate some gratefulness techniques into your day and that it helps you in both your business endeavors and your personal endeavors. As we seek to build a more vibrant community, I hope that gratitude is part of that mix.

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