PRESIDENT'S CORNER: We Are the World: Gratitude is an Attitude

Dorothy Botsoe | November 19, 2017

Well, we are closing in on the end of 2017. It’s been a great year getting to know everyone and connecting and reconnecting.

November kicks off the official holiday season with high expectations for a cozy and festive time of year. Thanksgiving is that special day full of good food and good memories for most of us. However, for many this time of year is tinged with sadness, anxiety, or even depression. We have those voices in our head saying things like: “Did I make enough sales?” “I missed my goal”…The market is slow,” and “Loans are getting even more difficult to secure… how am I going to get this sale through?” That’s enough to make us sad and depressed for sure. However, what about those who just feel lost or overwhelmed or down at this time of year? Research (and common sense) suggests that one aspect of the Thanksgiving season can actually lift the spirits, and it’s built right into the holiday—expressing gratitude. So I want to spend some time on making “gratitude our attitude.”

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word “gratia,” which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize the source of that goodness lies at least partially inside as well as outside of them. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals—whether to other people, nature, or for many of us a higher power.

Gratitude has been known to help people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity and build strong relationships. This is especially true in our business. I know for me, I am so grateful for each sale and take nothing for granted. We all know this industry can eat you alive if you let it.

People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. They can apply it to the past (retrieving positive memories and being thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings), the present (not taking good fortune for granted as it comes), and the future (maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude). Regardless of the inherent or current level of someone’s gratitude, it’s a quality that we can successfully cultivate. We all need it.

Managers, leaders, employers who remember to say “thank you” to people who work for them may find that those employees feel more motivated to work harder. I know my sales team works at their best when they know I appreciate all their efforts and I try to make it known with saying “thank you” or taking them to lunch as a surprise after a hard week. Gratitude is an attitude.

Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier, or thinking they can’t feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps us refocus on what we have instead of what we lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice.

Are you practicing gratitude? Stop and ask yourself that as we begin to embrace this holiday season. Thanksgiving is not just about the turkey, it’s about the hands that prepared it and the people around the table connecting because of it.

Here are some ways as Realtors that we can get better at cultivating gratitude on a regular basis, not just at Thanksgiving:

• Write a thank-you note—You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter or e-mail expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person’s impact on your life, your business, that last sale. And say it in person when you get the chance to see them as well. Make a habit of sending at least one gratitude e-mail/letter a month.

• Thank someone mentally—No time to write, text or call? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you, and mentally thank that person. So many people come into our lives and we don’t always get a chance to connect, but a good thought about them changes your attitude for the better.

• Keep a gratitude journal—Make it a habit to write down or share with a loved one thoughts about the gifts and good things that you’ve received each day. This is something we can kick off now and take into 2018, but start now during this season of thanksgiving. People who keep a gratitude journal have been known to have a reduced dietary fat intake—as much as 25% lower. Stress hormones like cortisol are 23% lower in grateful people. Studies show that having a daily gratitude practice could actually reduce the effects of aging to the brain.

• Count your blessings—Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings, the good things that are happening to you professionally and personally—reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for. Sometimes it helps to pick a number, such as three to five things, that you will identify each week. As you write, be specific and think about the feelings you had when something good happened to you.

• Pray—People who are religious can use prayer to cultivate gratitude. For some this is a way to stay connected to their beliefs and stay centered. We all can use ways to cultivate goodness in our lives.

• Meditate—Mindfulness meditation, which I talked about in our stress management article as few months back, involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Although people often focus on a word or phrase (such as “peace”), it is also possible to focus on what you’re grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, a great parking spot, etc.).

So, be thankful. It’s a healthy way to change your sadness into gladness. Our gratitude is an attitude that during this Thanksgiving season can change a frown into a smile and irritation into admiration of those around you. Let’s make this November with our family and friends one to remember and it starts with gratitude.

As always, I would love to hear from you. Please give me a call or e-mail and let’s stay connected. #wearetheworld, #thankful. Reach me at 914-450-0600 or by e-mail at Smile, your sales depend on it! Happy Thanksgiving!

Dorothy Botsoe
Dorothy Botsoe is 2017 President of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc.