When you’re deep in the throes of a job search from your military career to a civilian one, it can be hard to remember to look outside of your situation and reflect on all you have to be grateful for. You’re concerned with landing a paycheck.
But the power of gratitude is immense, and rewarding. As someone whose personal brand is based on gratitude (and generosity), I am passionate about seeing the good in others, helping where I can, and encouraging gratitude in the world. To me, it is how I will leave the world better than I found it.
Here are just a few reasons to show gratitude, regardless of where you are in your career.
- It makes you better, physically. Studies on optimism, a trait directly linked to gratitude, show an association between positive thinking and lower blood pressure levels. We could all use this!
- When you express gratitude, it encourages the other person to be generous, too. “Paying it forward” is a cascade of gratitude that continues because others are inspired by the generosity of one and wish to replicate the goodness.
- It feels good to express appreciation. When you show gratitude, you lifts your own spirits as you pause to reflect on something positive and express that feeling.
- Gratitude can be a small thing. A simple and genuine “thank you” when someone helps you open your umbrella, or reviews your resume, or introduces you to a networking contact can brighten that person’s day and leave a positive impression.
- You should always acknowledge help. Surprisingly, some people are so distracted they don’t express gratitude. Have you ever opened the door for someone and they don’t say “thanks”? Don’t be that guy. Be the person who always acknowledges that someone helped them.
- Gratitude focuses on the positive of the experience and what you learned. In a job interview, when given a compliment say “thank you.” When someone in an elevator compliments your smile, say “thank you.” When given an opportunity to compete for a promotion, say “thank you.”
- Expressing gratitude strengthens your (physical and emotional) immune system and gives you more tolerance and resilience when facing tough times.
- Focusing on what you have to be grateful for reminds you of what’s important and what you have (abundance) rather than what you’re missing (scarcity).
- Gratitude influences those around you to work harder. One study showed employees who hear messages of gratitude from managers feel motivated to work harder. Praise and appreciation are powerful!
- It’s the right thing to do. As children we were taught to say “thank you” when someone helps us or does something nice for us. Life gets busy and we can forget. Find a subtle way to remind yourself to express gratitude every day.
In the words of John F. Kennedy, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” Expressing gratitude is not just uttering the words, but showing that you mean it. Send a handwritten note, do something nice for someone else, celebrate their success, and by all means, say “thank you.”