Gratitude: “is not only the greatest one but also the mother of all the other remaining virtues” – Cicero
The experience of gratitude encourages us to appreciate what is good in our lives and compels us to pay this goodness forward.
People with more grateful dispositions report being happier and more satisfied with their lives.
Gratitude also functions as a social glue that nurtures the formation of new friendships, enriches our existing relationships, and underlies the very foundation of human society.
In the early 2000’s, research began to establish the science of gratitude. Emmons & McCullough determined that gratitude had two cognitive recognitions:
1) That I have obtained a positive outcome.
2) That the positive outcome has an external source.
That leads us to an understanding that all that we have and all that we are came from something outside of ourselves and something greater than ourselves. That takes our focus outside of ourselves.
Gratitude is Being Aware.
In order to experience gratitude, we must become aware of what we are thankful for and why it is important. We must stop, be present, and experience all that is around us in our lives to begin to know how much each of us has to be thankful for.
We live at an inhuman pace with a continuous stream of media and messages coming our way through devices that we are distracted by and addicted to. Distraction is the enemy of fulfillment and performance.
What would it be like to slow down, open our eyes and our imagination fully, and reset our view of the world around us?
What would it be like to look for the beauty that is all around us every day?
When you live curiously, it is amazing what you discover that is right in front of you. Those “mini discoveries” make every day a little more enjoyable. Those experiences are cumulative and are the building blocks of a creative mind.
Gratitude is productive.
One of the most successful young entrepreneurs that I know writes personal notes every day to say thank you or recognize someone’s efforts or accomplishments that he is thankful for.
What impact does that have on the recipients?
More than most might think.
Years ago, I became aware of the value of excellent clinical results by the extraordinary specialists that we get to partner with. When I received the post-treatment letter from a specialist on our first case together, I made sure to recognize and thank him for the superb results that he had accomplished. That one expression began a very close, enjoyable, and productive working relationship and friendship. It all started with being thankful for the opportunity to partner with someone who works so hard to get great results.
Most practice owners are very focused on increasing the number of new patients entering the practice. That is very important.
However, focusing on our existing clients/patients/colleagues, improving and deepening those relationships will almost always produce a greater return on our time, energy, and efforts at growth. Our existing patients know us, trust us, and are already comfortable with us.
Letting all of them know how thankful we are for their support is one of the most powerful expressions that we can make. There are an unlimited number of ways to do that. Tell them often. Tell them in a way that will be meaningful to them.
Personally, I am so thankful every day that I get to show up, see my patients, work with my coaching clients, help them solve problems, be productive, and continue to remain financially stable with a future that I get to create.
It is a blessing to be alive and live with the opportunities that we have right in front of us every day. I look forward to 2021 and beyond!
Dr. Mac McDonald
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Dr. Joel Small and Dr. Edwin McDonald, the founders of Line of Sight Coaching, are dental practitioners, authors, speakers and Business Leadership Coaches who work with healthcare professionals to help them build more successful practices so they can live the balanced life they seek.