Telling the Story and Coaching the Practice of Gratitude

In the business and art of coaching, I am often
amazed by the tendency that I see in people to
naturally focus on what that have not yet done or
finished and the bad things that have happened,
while completely ignoring their amazing achievements
and the blessings in their lives! What delights me
each time is that when these clients are listened
to and their achievements are acknowledged,
they just shine and gratitude comes naturally!

How often we experience negative situations, or
feel overwhelmed by political or natural
disasters; most of which we have no control over
yet they have such a profound negative effect on
our lives. Yet the slightest shift to acknowledge
our own gifts and the gifts of others, the
smallest change that celebrates the presence of
now, the choice to bring gratitude into our lives
as a deliberate practice, can make all the
difference.

A few years ago, my partner went away for the
weekend on a boy’s adventure. It was something
like a cross between extreme camping, survivor and
scout camp! He was dismayed to discover that they
would not be eating very much during their 2 day
mission, that it got pretty cold at night and one
of the other ‘boys’ snored so loudly that he woke
every one up several times each night, including
himself! But he came back delighted with lots of
stories he could tell and quite a few that he
could not!

He also brought back a wonderful practice that he
promptly introduced into our household. During
our evening meal, each night, we ask each person
at the table “who would like to say thank you?”
Having practiced this every night since his trip,
I can tell you it usually works something like this.

Someone always says thank you for the food on the
table, and the sunshine or rain. Someone usually
says thank you for our good friends and our lovely
family (and what we did with them today). Someone
usually says they don’t have a thank you and is
reminded that even in the worst of days there is
always something to be thankful for. Our littlest
boy usually says, thank you for Mummy and thank
you for Daddy and then gets all shy and stops
talking! And sometimes, someone at the table
thanks someone else at the table for an act of
kindness that they did that day.

Last Saturday night, my mother, brother, one of my
sisters and I celebrated my Mum’s birthday. Along
with a few other members of our family we
celebrated over a month late. It had taken that
long to find the date that we could all manage.
It turned out that it was on the day that my
father would have celebrated his 80th birthday
(13+ years after he passed away). We had a
wonderful meal and lively chat but we forgot to
say our ‘thankyous’. So I thought I would say it
now.

Thank you for the wonderful food on the
table. Thank you for the mild evening and cool
breeze. Thank you for my amazing family, each one
that found the time to meet together. Thank you
that I have the best memories of my dad and even
though we lost him too soon, I know that I am
truly blessed.

In these troubled times of horrific oil spills,
environmental crises, economic uncertainty and
political & humanitarian disasters, it is even
more important than ever to remember that we are
truly blessed and there is always something to say
thank you for!

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2 comments on “Telling the Story and Coaching the Practice of Gratitude

  1. I’ve enjoyed reading your website and your blog and learning about your passion; story telling. This blog entry touched my heart. Teaching your children (which lends to teaching ourselves as we are supported to practice what we teach) the art of thank you’s….and realizing that even if we didn’t get them “done” at the meal time, we can do them whenever…well, I just wanted to say thank you.
    your newest reader!

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