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Resilience and Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

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As leaders we need to remember to "be the change", and represent that attitude of gratitude Haley Scott DeMariawith our colleagues. Giving thanks goes a long way toward building organizational "bounce-back", employee engagement, loyalty, and community at work.

There was a time Haley Scott DeMaria wasn’t sure she’d be graduating from Notre Dame back in 1992, much less speaking to future graduates at her alma mater about the importance of living a life of gratitude. Especially when things don’t go as you planned. She would know.

She had been a swimming star at Notre Dame, when her life changed drastically. She was with her team in a van that crashed while driving in a snowstorm in 1992. Two of her friends were killed. Haley’s back was broken and she was paralyzed from the waist down. She was told she would spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair.

After a lot of surgeries and rigorous rehab, she really proved them wrong by going back to school within a month.

“There are events in our lives over which we have no control, but we can control how we react to them. Even in our darkest days, we can choose the brighter path, the one of gratitude.”

Why Gratitude in Action?:

It reminds you of the positive things in your life. It makes you happy about the people in your life, whether they’re loved ones or just a stranger you met who was kind to you in some way.

It turns bad things into good things. Having problems at work? Be grateful you have work. Be grateful you have challenges, and that life isn’t boring. Be grateful that you can learn from those challenges. Be thankful they make you a stronger person.

It reminds you of what’s important. It’s hard to complain about the little things when you give thanks that your children are alive and healthy. It’s hard to get stressed out over paying bills when you are grateful there is a roof over your head. Leo Babuta

“I truly believe that each of us has a choice every day; that each of us can wake up tomorrow and find something negative in our lives on which to focus. But that each of us can also wake up tomorrow and focus on and celebrate the blessings in our lives. This is certainly easier to do on some days more than others. But even in our darkest days, we can choose the brighter path, the one of gratitude.” Haley Scott DeMaria

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Karlin Sloan is the founder and CEO of Karlin Sloan and Company, Ms. Sloan provides organization development consulting, training and executive coaching to clients the U.S., Europe, South America and Asia. She is the author of Smarter, Faster, Better; Strategies for Effective, Enduring, and Fulfilled Leadership (Jossey-Bass, 2006) and Unfear (January 2011).
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