Nov. 26 was the day we gave thanks. According to my eighth-grade history teacher, Thanksgiving represents our thanking the Native Americans for helping the Pilgrims to have a bountiful meal when they were on the verge of starvation. But this holiday has grown much greater than its origins and acts as a day when we place thankfulness front and center in our minds and hearts.
While giving thanks can fill us up spiritually with good cheer, can it actually help us in the business world? Can being thankful make us more successful?
The answer is yes, and I have experienced it firsthand.
Nearly 10 years ago, my friend was running the Bell South Senior Golf tournament at Gaylord Springs in Nashville. (This is the professional tour for players over 50.) As a way to reach out to these players, I placed my golf psychology book, “Mentalrules for Golf,” in every player’s locker. I signed it with my name and contact info and a wish for good play that week. Only one player, Gary Player, called to thank me for the book.
To place this in perspective, Gary Player is a hall of famer who has won more than 100 worldwide professional golf events. He is one of only a handful of professional golfers to win all four majors. Player is a legend in the golf world and he was clearly head and shoulders above the rest of the field that week in both fame and prestige. Yet, amazingly, he was the only one to reach out to me with thanks.
That event was my wake-up call as to how important giving thanks is to your success. This showed me that Gary Player has an attitude of gratitude and this life mantra contributed to his greatness. Being thankful allowed him to handle the bad breaks on the course as well as reduce his frustration when his game went south for the day. His attitude of gratitude helped him to stay calm and cool under pressure and, as a result, he played better in competition. He was thankful for whatever the game had in store for him, and this propelled him into the stratosphere of his profession.
To enhance your success and well-being, you should develop an attitude of gratitude for all seasons. Here are a few recommendations:
1.Be grateful in your mental approach. Focus on what is going well at work and stop worrying about what you don’t have. This attitude will place a smile on your face and take away your frustration, sadness or anger.
2.Have an early morning happy hour. Instead of waking up and beginning your day by thinking of your checklist of tasks, begin your day by focusing on three blessings in your life.
3.Always give thanks to those who have touched your life. I would not be retelling the story of Gary Player, and giving him great publicity, if he didn’t live by this motto.
Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a professor of human performance at Austin Peay State University. He is the author of the Washington Post bestselling business book, “Full Throttle.” Steinberg speaks about emotional toughness to Fortune 500 companies. Visit www.drgreggsteinberg.com and see his TED talk about super-resilience at http://tinyurl.com/o2anxsz.