Hearing Maya Angelou talk about an Attitude of Gratitude on NPR a few years ago, just a few days before Thanksgiving in the U.S., inspired me to write about this important concept (value, really) and how it can relate to so many aspects of our lives, including our careers.
Chances are you've heard someone refer to having an Attitude of Gratitude before. So, what is it and what does it have to do with you? Everyone probably defines it a bit differently. I think of it as recognizing and being grateful for all the good things in your life, as well as the ability to appreciate how where you've been and what you've experienced add value to and prepare you for the next steps in your journey. You may naturally be able to adopt this attitude, or can welcome it by actively practicing it. Look back on today. What are you grateful for? Maybe it is the beautiful sunrise that greeted you and helped you start the day with a smile, or the knowledge that your ability to truly listen brought comfort to a friend.
Now think of your current or most recent job, and the one before that (keep going). How has each enriched your working life or prepared you for your next opportunity? Find at least one thing in each job that you are thankful about. Think of the skills you've learned or honed, professional relationships you've developed, or specific accomplishments you have achieved while in these jobs. If you are struggling with this exercise and can't think of anything, it’s okay. Go ahead and try it with the one that is not going to make the “dream job” list (for whatever reason — your boss, responsibilities, or work environment). Come up with one job-related thing you can feel grateful for. Perhaps you found a trusted mentor while working in this job, developed a new skill that you can now build upon, gained enough experience to be competitive for the jobs you want, or learned what organizational culture does not fit you well (and therefore, what might). Take it one step further and really look at the part each of these may play in helping you reach your dreams. Without them would you be as well prepared as you are?
So even if we are not delighted with our current work situation, it is possible to learn to seek and acknowledge the opportunities that have resulted from it. Then we can set about moving forward and working hard to refine and achieve our goals, with a grateful heart and mind for all the good we've experienced along the way. Let's try it! Let me know how it goes.
Happy Thanksgiving and may you find a thousand reasons to feel deep gratitude.
Shahrzad is a holistic career counselor, trainer, speaker, and author of Nourish Your Career. If you'd like to work with her to nourish your career and life, contact her at shahrzad[at]careerconsultmd.com or visit www.careerconsultmd.com
Note: This post was originally published on my Career Consulting Services blog. Since I now primarily use the Nourish Your Career site and community to post/share, I'm reposting it here.