As I go from practice to practice with advisors assisting them in setting goals for the next year, I think about how beginning with gratitude can give us each an edge. It may seem counter-intuitive, but science has proven it. I also think about how much more fulfilling life is when we begin with gratitude. So, if you are looking forward to achieving more in the new year, let’s begin together by counting our blessings.

I will share several reasons why this can make a big difference for you. Plus, I’ll share strategies to go about practicing gratitude as part of your plan for success.

Gratitude is being profoundly thankful for all we have already. It is putting ourselves in a place of contentment. It turns out that this can provide us with the patience and coping skills that enhance our ability to strive for major life goals.

If gratitude grounds us in present well-being and goals direct us toward a desired future, how do these concepts reconcile themselves into a more productive path into the future? 

Much of time is invested in pursuit of goals. Gratitude is not synonymous with complacency. To be satisfied with what we have does not mean we will not strive for new goals. The concepts are not at odds with each other. It is not only possible but essential to want to obtain something more for our lives and those we care for while being thankful for all that we have today.


Beginning each day with gratitude is one of the most productive things you can do. 


1. Gratitude improves your sense of well-being

You are coming from a centered place of humble confidence. You hold less stress, breathe easier and rest easier.


2. Gratitude makes you more attractive


Your smile, your well-being, and your humble heart permeate your presence and invite people in by opening the door to more and better relationships.


3. Gratitude reduces aggression and improves empathy

When you come from a posture of gratitude, you are less likely to be impatient, tear into someone because of a mistake or undermine your work. You relate better and give people the benefit of the doubt.



Here’s how all this ties into your personal and business goals.

Even with the best of intentions, a hard-hitting, hard-driving approach to goal achievement can sabotage our success. Doing a heart check and asking ourselves why we want to achieve these goals and realizing a take-all-prisoners approach may be contrary to what we genuinely aspire to achieve. We tend to soften our tactics when we begin with gratitude. That gentler approach may attract more support for our desired outcome.

Here are two extremely different stories I have come across that sharply influenced me on the idea of gratitude as it relates to the workplace.

I was working with a CEO on their next year’s business plan. He mentioned an issue with a disgruntled and clearly ungrateful employee. Despite numerous conversations and attempts to provide resources to the individual, the person was unmoved -- the string of what they wanted just continued to grow. I asked the CEO how long this had been going on and if there might be a life situation that correlated. The answer was that this person had been part of the organization for three years. His dissatisfaction became apparent in the first few weeks they were on board. It did not seem to be a situation based by a personal mode of operation. He was doing his job, but never with a smile. No one liked working with him, and he impeded the whole concept of improving their client experience. When asked to come to the table with goals for the next year, this person presented what pertained only to their “wants”:  a bigger office, a better chair, a new computer, and a list so long it would make Santa Claus blush.

Let’s go back to the statement that practicing gratitude is one of the most productive things you can do and how it applies here. There is nothing wrong with wanting. Having a vision of a different future is necessary. It gives purpose. It is your reach to the future. However, without gratitude for where you are today, for how far you have come and how much you have been given, you may find yourself stuck and with little help.

This person had thwarted progress toward their own goals. This CEO no longer wanted to help. He no longer wanted to enable the misery this person was inflicting on their team. It was not in the asking; it was coming from a place of ungratefulness.

As a sharp contrast to that story, I visited a team that was celebrating the promotion of an administrative assistant to operations manager. This woman had completed her college degree and had shown her value to the team over the three years since she joined. I was curious to learn her story. It turns out she and her husband had been clients of the firm. They had done some very basic financial planning and found it to be helpful. When her husband was killed in a car accident, she was in shock. She came into the office and made a claim for the life policy that had been set up as part of their plan. It was enough to fully fund college education for the three young children left behind. It was suggested she do a new financial plan. The team in the office helped her figure out how to request social security benefits. She was beyond grateful, and when they offered her a job, she immediately accepted. She knew, having been a stay-at-home mom, she would need to update her education, so she enrolled in online classes.

In the few years since her husband’s tragic accident, she had pulled herself up by the bootstraps, thanking those who helped her and working diligently to serve her family and build a new life for herself. Everyone on their team was grateful to her as well. The clients and team loved her and were celebrating her promotion with tearful tributes.

A positive attitude produces a grateful heart. In turn, this creates an aura and environment conducive to achievement. When you believe that others want the best for you and will help you reach your vision, you will find it lessens the load you carry. 

If you are convinced that this is the place to begin your goal setting for the new year, here are a few ways you can grow in gratitude:


  1. Start a gratitude journal
  2. Write (and send) letters of gratitude
  3. Share with family and friends gathered at the Thanksgiving table something for which you are grateful
  4. Send an email to tell us the top five things for which you are thankful



We at Jambalaya Group are truly filled with gratitude for the opportunity to serve such amazing people who seek to provide excellent counsel and advice for their clients’ financial future. Thank you for allowing us to be part of your practices and your lives.

The Season of Gratitude AND Goal Setting

preparing your mind and heart for what lies ahead

Jambalaya Group © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Bernie DeLaRosa, ​CFP®, ChFC® CRPC®, CLU®, APMA®, CASL®, BFA™
Managing Business Consultant


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