There is a woman who often teaches materials based on positive organizational scholarship. She was diagnosed with cancer two years ago. She determined to be proactive in going through the process and to do it in the framework of gratitude. She told me one amazing story after another. The stories were filled with the realities of physical and psychological agony. There were also filled with gratitude, positivity and resilience. In each story some unexpected, positive outcome emerged.
A short time later I received an email from one of the women on the staff of the business school. She was exposed to the research on positive organizations and it inspired her to take initiatives she never imagined that she could take. In addition to doing her job, she volunteers to help other university employees by doing workshops and giving talks about the application of positive organizational concepts. They more workshops she does, the more the demand grows. She has now touched thousands of lives and delights in it. She wrote about what she plans to do in an upcoming session:
So, my plan is to talk about gratitude and the impact of keeping a gratitude journal, making a gratitude visit, sharing research such as the Nun Study, and my passion for being grateful. But I also plan to talk about the fact that in my personal experience, it is not always possible to be grateful every moment. Life happens. In my life, my Mom suffers from Alzheimer’s and has had it for five years. So far, it has been a slow progression, but it is still happening and it is not easy! My husband has been unemployed for two years and has low self-esteem. In addition, he has been told he needs open heart surgery and he is in total denial. None of these things is a piece of cake, but I am able to cope because of my faith and my belief that if we focus on all that we have to be grateful for in our lives, it will give us the strength to get through the rough times. What do I have to be grateful for? I am able to share this research with everyone and hopefully plant a seed or help them in their daily lives. I have a good job and a great boss. I have three children who graduated from college even though I barely had a dime to help them. I have five grandchildren. I am given the opportunity to sing in church. My Mom is still alive. My husband makes me laugh all the time…The list is endless!!!
These are stories of two women living in the real world. Choosing to live in gratitude does not drive away the problems of life. It does alter how we see life. It gives rise to the desire to make meaningful contributions. It allows us to live in love when it is natural to live in self-pity.
What do I believe about gratitude?
Have I ever consciously chosen to increase my level of gratitude?
How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?