Site icon Leadership Freak

How to Express Gratitude When You Feel Ungrateful

Ingratitude is breathing through a narrow straw while running a marathon.


Gratitude is noticing and acknowledging benefit or advantage.

Feeling grateful isn’t part of my definition of gratitude.

We live one of two ways. We either feel our way into acting or we act our way into feeling. A feeling-based life is unpredictable and dissatisfying.

Successful leaders choose the right thing even when they don’t feel like it.

“… our worth is determined by the good deeds we do, rather than the fine emotions we feel.” Elias Magoon


Why express gratitude when you don’t feel grateful?

  1. Expressing gratitude aligns with reality. There is benefit or advantage in every situation if you are willing to learn, grow, and serve.
  2. Leaders live with an others-outlook. Expressing gratitude is good for others. (See ‘Gratitude motivates,’ below.)
  3. Feelings follow action. A commitment to ingratitude might block feelings of ingratitude, but consistent expressions of gratitude usually produce feelings of gratitude.
  4. Expressing gratitude requires a shift in focus from ‘don’t have’ to ‘do have’ and from ugly to beauty. You can’t lead from a ‘don’t have’ position.


Gratitude motivates.

Managers who remember to say “thank you” to people who work for them may find that those employees feel motivated to work harder. Researchers at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania randomly divided university fund-raisers into two groups.

One group made phone calls to solicit alumni donations in the same way they always had.

The second group — assigned to work on a different day — received a pep talk from the director of annual giving, who told the fund-raisers she was grateful for their efforts.

During the following week, the university employees who heard her message of gratitude made 50% more fund-raising calls than those who did not.

“No duty is more urgent than giving thanks.” James Allen

Today’s challenge: Show up giving thanks.

Exit mobile version