The Simple Shift that Supercharges the Power of Gratitude

“The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” William James

Criticism cuts. Gratitude heals and empowers.

Bonsai. Hand.

Criticism cuts. Gratitude heals and empowers.


The simplest form of gratitude is grateful-for.

You’re grateful for:

  1. A fine meal with friends.
  2. The successful completion of a major project.
  3. The reliability of the morning star in the Eastern sky.
  4. An opportunity to advance your career.


When you say, “I’m thankful,” you refer to yourself. Speak directly to the person instead. Use their name.

The transformative form of gratitude is direct address.

4 examples of grateful-to:

  1. Thank you, Mary. The graphics you added to your report made it more impactful to the team.
  2. Thank you, Joe. Your enthusiasm while we hustled to meet our deadline encourages me.
  3. Bob, thank you for the way you adopted our new processes. Flexibility serves you well and helps us get where we want to go.
  4. Sue, thank you for always following through. Your reliability lowers stress on our team. I know I can count on you.

Supercharge gratitude:

#1. Direct address supercharges gratitude.

The above examples of transformative gratitude are spoken directly to the person. “Thank you, Mary.”

4 tips when being grateful-to:

  1. Use the person’s name at the beginning of the sentence.
  2. Notice quality work. Mary added graphics.
  3. Notice the impact of work. Graphics made Mary’s report more impactful.
  4. Notice character qualities. Sue’s reliability lowers stress on the team.

#2. Direct address humbles you.

Gratitude that begins with “I’m” hints of superiority. You may not notice the difference until you begin using direct address.

Somehow saying, “I’m thankful,” protects my dignity. (I speak for myself.)

“I’m thankful,” flows easier for me than, “Mary, thank you.”  

Humility multiplies the impact of gratitude.

Today’s challenge: speak directly to people when expressing gratitude.

How might leaders multiply the impact of their gratitude practice?