Gratitude: Practicing the Grateful Attitude

By John Foley

Imagine flying an F-18 at 500mph, a hundred feet off the ground, upside down, with another jet just an arm’s length away from your canopy. When I was flying with the Blue Angels that was our reality. The key to our consistent success, and to the success of the thousands of organizations that I’ve helped reach higher levels of performance, is summed up in a simple phrase I used when I was a Blue: “Glad To Be Here.” That simple statement—which Blue Angel pilots use to close every post-flight debrief—represents an attitude of gratitude that runs through the organization and makes higher performance possible.

Numerous studies have been conducted that demonstrate the positive effects of gratitude, ranging from increased empathy and resiliency to improved physical and mental well being. Additionally, a recent study published in the Journal of Psychological Science showed that gratitude has a naturally spiraling effect that spreads its effects through a group over time. The nature of this powerful emotion is social, which makes it the perfect focus point for leaders and teams trying to increase their emotional intelligence and form bonds that elevate communication and trust.

The first step toward creating a culture of gratitude is to activate the Glad To Be Here mindset in yourself. I personally practice a ritual that has helped countless people engage with a grateful mindset every day of their lives. I call it the Glad To Be Here Wake-up. The activity’s purpose is simple at its core: wake up happy, every day. To get there, align your first thoughts in the morning on the things for which you are grateful. When this practice becomes a habit, it can change your life and the lives of those around you for the better. Here are the steps I take every morning:

Step 1: Present

The first thing I do every morning is think about what I am grateful for. I do this while still in bed. I bask in the idea of being alive, in good health and on all goodness that surrounds me in the moment.

Step 2: Past

I reflect on the last 24 hours and recall events and people I am thankful for. I do this by frames, starting with my wake-up from the day before. Again, I am reliving and basking in any goodness done or observed. It’s fun and can sometimes continue for a while, depending on the day.

Step 3: Future

Now comes the part I enjoy most: Planting seeds for the next 24 hours. I think ahead to the upcoming day in frames of the events and people. Here is where exchanging self for others comes in. I try to think of what they will need or want. I pray they receive it and ask myself if there is something I can do to help them get what they want.

These 3-steps help me practice gratitude for others by having a grateful attitude every day.

The content writers at BigSpeak Speakers Bureau are Experts on the Experts. They hold doctoral, masters, and bachelors’ degrees in business, writing, literature, and education. Their business thought pieces are published regularly in leading business publications. Working in close association with the top business, entrepreneur, and motivational speakers, BigSpeak content writers are at the forefront of industry trends and research.