Tis the Season to be Thankful: Benefits of Showing Gratitude as a Leader

benefits of showing gratitude, thank you

It’s a no brainer! Showing gratitude makes relationships thrive and makes trust possible. It is a powerful act that encourages, clarifies, motivates, includes, and unifies.

When we are thankful, people feel valued and they feel part of something bigger than themselves.

But showing gratitude is good for you too.

Being thankful puts you in the right mindset to lead effectively. Gratitude and humility are interconnected. They reinforce each other. We alone are not responsible for who we are and what we do as we can be greatly influenced by those around us. That is the essence of leadership. We are never truly self-sufficient.

Being thankful essentially helps us to protect from ourselves. It is amazing how much gratitude plays into avoiding poor behavior and wrong thinking. Gratitude sets a boundary on our thoughts by making us mindful of others. It helps us to avoid going where we should not go because we are both more self-aware and more aware of our environment.

Gratitude requires that we slow down and reflect. It is the basis of emotional intelligence. It puts other people first. While empathy has been found to be essential to leadership, empathy is not empathy if it is silent. It must be expressed outwardly.

Studies have shown that being thankful is an antidote to depression. It has the power to heal and move us forward.

It improves relationships and is a remedy to envy and greed. It eliminates a leader’s tendency towards entitlement. Grateful people find more meaning in life and feel more connected to others.

In these changing and uncertain times, gratitude is a leader’s ally. Being thankful allows a leader to appreciate where they are and the resources they have at their disposal to face whatever life throws at them. A habit of gratitude gives us perspective. It doesn’t ignore the negative but instead, it moves us towards a solution and helps us to remain focused and persevere.

Gratitude can’t just be something we do is has to be who we are as a leader. More than a behavior or even a mindset, it must come from the heart. It must be our guiding principle.

Leadership begins and ends with gratitude.

How to Achieve A Work Life Balance

work life balance

Are you on the wheel?

Do you find yourself too busy all the time? Running as fast as you can to keep up with all of your responsibilities and commitments? Do you feel frustrated, stressed, or tired?

Many people feel they’re running on a hamster wheel spinning around and around and can’t seem to get off. This seems all too common these days with people trying to achieve the elusive work life balance that everyone talks about.

The secret is to get off the hamster wheel!

Well, you may think, “That sounds easier said than done!”

5 Ways to Achieve Work Life Balance

1. Start the day right: Develop a routine every morning where you take a few minutes to connect with yourself. For those of you who are spiritual people remember your connection with God, spirit, Christ, your higher power or whatever name you use for something greater than yourself. Get yourself into a peaceful and focused space before you start the day. You can pray, meditate, visualize, read, write, whatever it may be.

2. Feed your soul all day: Find a way to feed your soul for a few minutes each day. It can be going outside for a minute, playing some music, or positive affirmation.

3. Review your options: Busy people have 6 choices to make to help them achieve a work life balance.

    1. To reduce the amount of activities they have.
    2. To delegate or get support with their activities.
    3. To reduce the tendency to be a perfectionist and people pleaser.
    4. To set boundaries so that there’s a limit to how much you will do. In other words, say “no”.
    5. To accept that it’s busy right now, but make new choices so it will be not be as busy in the future.
    6. To let go of extra tasks, responsibilities and your own expectations that aren’t necessary right now. What is your choice now? How you enjoy life more and be the busy bee less? How can you reclaim your spirit and have more peace and calm in your life right now?

4. Remember to have fun and laugh: Fun and laughter will get out you off the wheel and bring a greater happiness to your life. Many people put fun low on the priority list after handling their responsibilities. What if you knew if you had fun you would be more productive, and bring a better perspective and outlook to every situation and task in your life? You could have more energy and be more resourceful in dealing with the demands of everyday life.

5. Remember what’s worked before: What have you done before when you were too busy? What were the lessons you learned from the busy times? What could you do differently this time?

Work on applying these 5 tips to help you get closer to your own work life balance!

Quiz: Are You A Leader?

are you a leader

Rarely, do people think of themselves as a leader but we all lead in some way or fashion within our five circles of influence. Those five circles being self, family, team, organization, and community. Leadership most often equates to influence. And many of us are in a position to be influential.

So, the question isn’t  “Are we leaders?”  instead the question should be, “What kind or type of leader am I?”

Use the following 20 questions developed by
Leadership expert Oswald Sanders to help you determine whether or not you’re an effective leader.

  1. How do you identify and deal with bad habits? To lead others, you must master your own habits.
  2. How well do you maintain self-control when things go wrong? The leader who loses control under adversity forfeits respect and influence. A leader must be calm in crisis and resilient in disappointment.
  3. To what degree do you think independently? A leader must use the best ideas of others to make decisions. A leader cannot wait for others to make up his or her mind.
  4. How well can you handle criticism? When have you profited from it? The humble person can learn from petty criticism, even malicious criticism.
  5. Can you turn disappointment into creative new opportunity? What three actions could you take facing any disappointment?
  6. Do you readily gain the cooperation of others and win their respect and confidence? Genuine leadership doesn’t have to manipulate or pressure others.
  7. Can you exert discipline without making a power play? Are your corrections or rebukes clear without being destructive? True leadership is an internal quality of the spirit and needs no show of external force.
  8. In what situations have you been a peacemaker? A leader must be able to reconcile with opponents and make peace where arguments have created hostility.
  9. Do people trust you with difficult and delicate matters? Your answer should include examples.
  10. Can you induce people to do happily some legitimate thing that they would not normally wish to do? Leaders know how to make others feel valued.
  11. Can you accept opposition to your viewpoint or decision without taking offense? Leaders always face opposition.
  12. Can you make and keep friends? Your circle of loyal friends is an index of your leadership potential.
  13. Do you depend on the praise of others to keep you going? Can you hold steady in the face of disapproval and even temporary loss of confidence?
  14. Are you at ease in the presence of strangers? Do you get nervous in the office of your superior? A leader knows how to exercise and accept authority.
  15. Are people who report to you generally at ease? A leader should be sympathetic and friendly.
  16. Are you interested in people? All types? All races? No prejudice?
  17. Are you tactful? Can you anticipate how your words will affect a person? Genuine leaders think before speaking.
  18. Is your will strong and steady? Leaders cannot vacillate, cannot drift with the wind. Leaders know their’s a difference between conviction and stubbornness.
  19. Can you forgive? Or do you nurse resentments and harbor ill-feelings toward those who have injured you?
  20. Are you reasonable optimistic? Pessimism and leadership do not mix. Leaders are positively visionary.


Which areas do you need to work on to become a better leader?

Determining Your Core Values: Part 2 of 3

determining your core values part 2 of 3

Your values form the foundation of your life. They dictate the choices you make and determine the direction your life takes. They influence your decisions related to your relationships, career, and social activities.

What were the values you were raised with? What values are you presently living in accordance with? Are they the same or different? Do they bring you happiness? These are essential questions that you must ask if you are to find meaning, happiness, success, and connection in your life. Yet, finding the answers to these questions is a challenge and then changing your values in a way that will lead to fulfillment is an even greater challenge.

Understanding Your Values

Looking openly and honestly at the way you were raised is a step in identifying the values instilled in you growing up. What did your parents value and what did they impress upon you—achievement, wealth, education, religion, status, independence, appearance? Think back to your childhood and ask yourself several questions. What values were emphasized in the way your parents lived their lives? What values were stressed in your family? What values were reflected in the way you were rewarded or punished? For example, were you rewarded for being highly ranked in your high school class and for winning in sports, or were you rewarded for giving your best effort and for helping others?

Your next step in understanding involves looking at your present life and the values your life reflects. What do you do for a living?  Are you a corporate employee?   Business owner?  Teacher?  Salesperson?  Caterer?  Social worker?  A common question people ask others is: What do you do for a living? I have seen people get defensive in response to this question. They say, “Who cares what I do?  What I do is not who I am.”  I would suggest otherwise, at least to some degree. Assuming people have choices in the career paths they take, what they choose reflects who they are and what they value. For example, though a bit of a generalization, it is probably safe to say that someone who becomes an investment banker has different core values than someone who becomes an elementary school teacher. Someone who becomes a construction worker values different things than a nurse. Underlying values vary and create common interests, lively dinner conversation and in the end, tension in relationships – at home, at work and in friendships.

  • Where do you live? Apartment?  In the suburbs?  In the country?  What led you there?
  • What activities do you engage in most? Cultural, physical, religious, political, social? What values are reflected in those activities?
  • What do you talk about mostly? politics, religion, the economy, other people—and what does that tell you about your values?
  • What do you spend your money on? a home, cars, travel, clothing, education, art, charity? Because money is a limited resource for most people, they will use their money in ways that they value most. Over and above what people say and other indicators in their life, where they spend their money says the most about what and whom they value.

How did you learn to define success? Some families define success as winning, wealth, job status, physical appearance, or popularity—the more money and power you have and the more attractive and popular you are, the more successful you would be. Growing up with these definitions, success was largely unattainable for most people. As an adult it is imperative to review your core values.

Look at the chart below. Fill it out for yourself, your parents, your employer and others. You will see where areas of relational conflict are, and where there are differences in what you and others value.

In the process of discovery and understanding, please remember that personal coaching and counseling is often helpful. Call, text or email me to set up an appointment. I am also available for online appointments at your convenience.

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When we feel most alive and authentic, it is because we are living in alignment with our values.

  • Love (compassion, unity, helping others)
  • Success (achievement, accomplishment, power)
  • Independence (freedom, autonomy, working alone)
  • Security  (safety, loyalty, order, consistency)
  • Flexibility (change, adaptability, optimism)
  • Power (confidence, wealth, reputation)
  • Faith (trust, spirituality, conviction)
  • Compassion  (kindness, empathy, generosity)
  • Well-Being (health, energy, joy)
  • Peace (presence, contentment, calm)
  • Significance (contribution, influence, recognition, power)
  • Balance (flexibility, harmony, resilience)
  • Growth (wisdom, progress, learning, action)
  • Creativity (inspiration, imagination, originality)
  • Resilience (perseverance, hope, strength)
  • Responsibility (choice, consistency, justice)
  • Integrity (authenticity, truth, fairness)
  • Simplicity (calm, silence, peace, free time)
  • Adventure (bravery, courage, action)
  • Family (tradition, connection, relationships)
  • Helping Society
  • Team Work
  • Other

Exploring Values

Your values are the beliefs that define what is most important to you. They act as a guide for your decisions. Oftentimes, they are greatly influenced by important people in our life, and our society.

Fill in the blanks for each topic below:

My mother’s values:                                                      My father’s values:

1.                                                                                         1.

2.                                                                                        2.

3.                                                                                        3.

4.                                                                                        4.

An Important person to my values:                           Society’s values:

1.                                                                                         1.

2.                                                                                        2.

3.                                                                                        3.

4.                                                                                        4.

The values I would like to live by:                              The values I actually live by:

1.                                                                                         1.

2.                                                                                        2.

3.                                                                                        3.

4.                                                                                        4.

Determining Your Core Values – Part 1 of 3

what are your values

How Would You Define Your Values?

Before you can answer the question about what you value, you need to know, in general, what values are.

Values are the things that we believe are important; our fundamental beliefs about life. They determine our priorities and contribute to what we do and what we don’t do.

Have you ever wanted to change something about your life, but somehow felt like you were unable to? Maybe you’ve wanted to quit smoking, or start saving part of your earnings, or get out of debt, or get into a relationship, but felt stuck every time you attempted it?

Let’s look at your values. Values influence you and drive decisions that you make in your daily life. They may be values that you hold because they were your parents’ or peers’ values, or because of what you were taught or decisions you made long ago.

The path to intentional change always begins with awareness. There’s no need to berate yourself for choices you have made in the past. Just be aware of them, and learn from them.

When we feel most alive and authentic, it is because we are living in alignment with our values.

  • Love                        (passion, playfulness, connection, self-expression, compassion, unity)
  • Success                  (achievement, pride, self-worth, contribution)
  • Independence     (self expression, freedom, openness, autonomy)
  • Connection           (intimacy, belonging, honesty)
  • Security                  (trust, loyalty, confidence)
  • Flexibility           (adventure, courage, excitement, adaptability)
  • Empowerment     (confidence, self-esteem, fulfillment, self-worth)
  • Passion                   (excitement, fulfillment, aliveness)
  • Faith                        (trust, comfort, ease)
  • Compassion          (kindness, empathy, generosity)
  • Well-Being            (health, vitality, energy)
  • Peace                       (presence, contentment, balance)
  • Significance          (contribution, charity, influence, gratitude, recognition)
  • Balance                  (flexibility, wholeness, harmony)
  • Growth                   (wisdom, progress, expansion)
  • Joy                           (delight, humor, happiness)
  • Creativity           (inspiration, curiosity, power, innovation)
  • Resilience             (perseverance, hope, strength)
  • Responsibility (contribution, choice, empowerment, providing)
  • Integrity                (authenticity, balance, truth) 

In an effort to determine your personal values, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Where do you spend your money?
  2. How do you spend your time?
  3. How do you spend your energy?

This is Step #1 of a three step blog.

In this step, identify your values. Choose your top 5. Write them down on an index card. Consider every day how they influence the decisions you make. The complete list of values follows below.

If you could choose something to hold as your highest value, what would it be?   I choose faith. At times, even though I wanted faith to be my highest value, the truth is that it took a back seat to success. Once I saw how that operated in my life, and the impact it had on me, I was in a position to choose differently. We always have a choice when we are aware and authentic.

In step #2 we will go further into the study of values, as it affects relationships.

If you could benefit from coaching or counseling, please email cheryl@heldtogether.net or contact me here.

I sincerely appreciate you forwarding this to your friends as well.

Values List











Being the best






































Financial independence



















































Risk Taking