Much has been written about the benefits of expressing gratitude. Recently I have been reflecting on the value of receiving gratitude.
After writing this blog for several months, I was on the verge of quitting. I could see no impact. Then feedback began to trickle in. Some former students claimed that entries helped them renew their faith in what they originally learned. Soon another type of message began to arrive. One of our readers shared a personal story which provides an excellent illustration.
He was progressing up his organization when he had a heart attack that left him without a heartbeat for 30 minutes. This led to a profound clarification of values and the realization that he did not want to move to the next politically saturated position. Instead he began to work on a creative idea, a contribution that had implications for the entire industry. The progress of that project was exhilarating.
Then his new boss arrived. Conflict grew, and a short time later, based on principle, he felt he should resign. For months he desired to “punish the organization.” Then drawing on what he learned from obtaining a “second life” and pursuing a higher purpose, he changed his focus back to contribution. As he did he realized that his experience in the old organization had taught him the power of higher purpose and his anger turned to gratitude.
While he continues to search for a new source of income, something we all find frightening, he proceeds with an unusual orientation. He is pursuing a cause about which he cares deeply and could save millions of lives. Because he does, he claims that his life is “fun” and he wakes up with enthusiasm. He says he is living an “authentic, paradigm busting life.”
This is an inspiring report. Yet he also expresses one more point. Moving forward on such a journey also includes discouragement. He tells me he is sharing his story because the blog posts have been with him throughout his journey and he needed me to know that at least one person has been effected.
Since the time I considered quitting, I have received a number of messages like this one. The feedback fills me with positive emotions and I find the ability to press on. This fact instructs me to look for the people around me who are trying to make a difference and give them the positive feedback that this person gave me.
- What do I learn from the man’s central story?
- What do I learn about the power of appreciation?
- Who is enriching my life and how could I meaningfully thank them?
- How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?