Gratefulness isn’t about Rose-Colored Glasses – the Real Practice of Gratitude

Gratitude expands leadership. Ingratitude corrodes everything it touches.

Ingratitude is too dangerous to ignore.

The alternatives to gratitude include:

  1. Self-absorption.
  2. Disappointment.
  3. Entitlement.
  4. Anger.
  5. Accusation.
  6. Bitterness.
  7. Anxiety.


Gratitude is a way of remembering the past.

Gratefulness isn’t about rose-colored glasses. Think about darkness in the past to enhance gratitude in the present.

You’ve sweat and bled, but you’re still here. Leadership had it’s disappointments, but you persevered. Congratulations!


  1. Obstacles you rose above.
  2. Challenges you stepped into.
  3. Pains you worked through.
  4. Growth you experienced because you struggled, failed, and kept going.
  5. People who stood with you when blackhearts and cowards turned away.

Bonus: Even the blackhearts in your past might inadvertently contribute to your future. What if the people you resent actually make you better?

“Remembering failures, sorrows, and other painful experiences is more beneficial to gratitude than recalling only successes.” (Gratitude Works)


Gratitude is a way of noticing the present.

  1. Needs are opportunity to add value to others. Serving is opportunity, not obligation.
  2. Who is providing benefit to you?
  3. Others join you in the battle. You aren’t alone.
  4. People listen to you. You speak and people consider. They might not agree, but they’re paying attention.
  5. What small pleasures are you experiencing? The smell of coffee? The touch of a loved one? An office with a door?

Practical suggestions:

#1. Say it. Don’t simply think it.

Unexpressed gratitude is, in practical terms, ungratefulness.

#2. Gratitude moves in two directions.

Gratitude enriches those who receive it and those who extend it.

#3. Enjoy imperfect progress. You’re an ingrate if you wait for perfection to say thank you.

Many of the best things in leadership sprout in the soil of gratitude.

What makes us ungrateful? 

What dark thing in your past actually enhances your gratitude in the present?

Bonus material:

Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity (Emmons)

7 Gratitude Questionaires and Scales that Scientists Use (Positive Psychology)

The Grateful Disposition (Research)