How to foster an attitude of gratitude

From the pages of In Business magazine.

I’ve recently started to notice a topic trending more and more in business publications. It isn’t marketing, operations, budgeting, or any of the numerous other standard business issues. The topic I am talking about is happiness. I think the rise of this topic can be partially attributed to the increasing number of millennials in the workforce. This newer generation of workers is more focused on work-life balance than previous generations. Not only are 20-somethings and 30-somethings looking for a job to pay the bills, they are looking for a career that gives them freedom to pursue things they are passionate about and helps them fulfill their life’s “purpose.”

The start of one’s career can be a difficult and stressful time, with many big changes and decisions in the works. From careers to relationships and family life, it is easy to get overwhelmed with day-to-day decisions and “to-do’s” and lose your feeling of happiness. Since I believe being happy is a key factor in not only being productive and successful at work but also living a full life, I want to share one simple way you can increase your happiness in only two minutes a day!

One emotion that is commonly linked to happiness is gratitude. Being thankful and showing your gratitude for others is something that seems simple but is often overlooked. I recently read John Kralik’s A Simple Act of Gratitude. It was a really fast read with a great message, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an uplifting book. Kralik, an attorney, tells a true story about a time in his life when he was facing many difficulties and struggles in both his business and personal life. After he noticed that writing a simple thank-you note improved his mood, he made it a goal to write one thank-you note a day for a year. The changes he experienced in his life and overall outlook were remarkable. 

I would like to extend a similar challenge to you. Maybe writing 365 thank-you notes in a year seems a bit overwhelming, but how about one a week? Not only are handwritten thank-you notes a great way to help you focus on the positive in your life, they are also a great way to differentiate yourself. In a world where we send and receive thousands of emails each year, how fun is it to actually get a piece of handwritten mail, especially a thank-you note? The two minutes it takes you to write and send the card will leave a lasting impression on the recipient.



In the action items below, I give you a few ideas to jump-start your attitude of gratitude! Find something that works for you, and whatever it is, take two minutes a day to be thankful. I guarantee if you make gratitude a priority in one way or another in your daily life, you will see positive results. Just like any habit that can lead to positive change, being successful in this endeavor requires consistency. The more you train your brain to see the positive in every situation, the happier and more successful you will become! 

Here are your Fast Track Action Items for May:

  • Buy a pack of thank-you notes, or better yet, pick out 10 to 20 unique cards to keep in your top desk drawer or somewhere else they’ll be easily accessible.
  • Handwrite at least one thank-you note per week. One per day is even better! 
  • Keep a gratitude journal. Each morning or night, write at least one thing you are thankful for that day. You will start to notice that even when things are going wrong, there are plenty of things to be grateful for. Starting your morning with something positive can change your whole outlook on the day!
  • Thank someone in person for something he or she has helped you with. If you are sincere, even a quick dialogue can make a large impact.

Email me at to let me know what you are thankful for this month and how adding gratitude to your daily routine has affected your business or life. 

Jenna Weber is the president of CONNECT Madison, a young professionals group offering development, community engagement, and relationship-building opportunities to local business leaders.

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