This Thursday is the day we give 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 our business world? Can being thankful make us more successful?
The answer is yes, and I have experienced this firsthand.
Almost 10 years ago, my friend was running the Bell South Senior Golf tournament at Gaylord Springs in Nashville. (This is the professional tour for those players over age 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 called to thank me for the book — Gary Player.
To place this in perspective, Gary Player is a hall of famer who has won more than 100 world-wide professional golf events. He is one of only a handful of professional golfers to win all four majors. Gary Player is a legend in the golf world and he was clearly head and shoulders above the rest of the field in fame and prestige. Yet 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 develop an attitude of gratitude for all seasons, here are a few recommendations:
1. Be grateful in your mental approach. Focus on what you have going 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.
2. Have an early morning happy hour. Instead of starting your day with all your worries and checklists, begin your day thinking about 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 PR, if he did live by this motto.
Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a professor of human performance at Austin Peay State University. He is author of the Washington Post bestselling business book "Full Throttle" and speaks to businesses about improving attitude and performance. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and learn more at www.drgreggsteinberg.com