By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator
I love to read all the reminders to be grateful that come out this time of year. The holidays are really a remarkable time to help us refocus on the value of celebrating the people and events in our lives.
Because the being grateful theme is so pervasive at this time of year, I thought I would do something different: I challenge each of you to improve what you are grateful for.
Let me explain. As you pause at this time of year to notice the things to be grateful for, shift from noticing to taking action by asking yourself this one important question: “What could I do to make this better?” It is one thing to be grateful, it is another thing to make the things you are grateful for better.
In my programs, I share that I come from a large Italian family, and larger families often come with a lot of rules. Rules about homework, chores, how to treat each other, pets, neighbors, sharing… the list seems endless. Though I wasn’t always keen on all the rules, my Dad had one rule that was exceptional. He told us that as we come down the stairs each morning, we must tune in and pay attention to the things around us, then ask ourselves this question, “What could I do to make this better?”
So ask yourself this question in every aspect of your life. For example:
- You say you are grateful for your relationships. What could you do on a daily basis to make them better, more authentic or more supportive?
- You say you are grateful for a country with freedoms and liberties. What could you do on daily basis to make our country better?
- You say you are grateful for the food you have. What could you do to share more of what you have to make another’s life better?
- You say you are grateful for your health. What could you do to help others have better health and well-being?
- You say you are grateful for your job and the life it provides. What could you do to make your workplace better, more inclusive and more supportive?
Making things better doesn’t mean they are bad and therefore need to change. It is just a new realization that with some intention, we can shift our gratitude to action.
So, as you sit around the table, look at the people at the table and be grateful for them. Then ask yourself, how can I make my relationships better? How can I be more generous with my resources? How can I be more supportive and helpful in my community, nation and world?
Think how many new things to be grateful for will emerge with this approach.