Impact of a Gratitude Mindset in Career Transitions

Often when I am consulting with someone on their career transition our conversation touches on the inner work of a transition -those activities that affect our progress but have more to do with mindset and perspective than marketing documents and job-search strategies. One of the inner keys to making a transition with greater ease, well-being and confidence, and less anxiety and self-doubt is to practice a gratitude mindset.

While it is tempting to measure career transition success by a single metric examining whether or not we have secured our new, desired opportunity today, that thinking actually tunes us into a mindset of “not enough,” or even “failure.”

If a person’s next professional step is securing a new, desirable position or establishing themselves in an entrepreneurial endeavor and their process takes 100 days, for 99 of those days they will not have their new opportunity and on only 1 of those days they will have the new position or started their business.

Since manifesting the vision we have for our professional lives is a process, I suggest shifting your mindset to accentuate the positive, focusing on all the things that work in your favor along the way. Gratitude steers us into the positive energy of already having and receiving. One way to practice a gratitude mindset -being present to the people, places, and things that go in your favor and appreciating them -is to keep a daily journal where you list 3 things for which you are grateful. To energize their effects even more, express your gratitude out loud, call, send a letter, or text someone. The person receiving your message will also benefit from a positive neurochemical boost. Some examples are:

  • I am grateful for the former colleague that emailed me today to check in and see if there is any way they can be helpful to me.
  • I am grateful for the recruiter who reached out to me on LinkedIn. While the opportunity wasn’t a close enough match, it gave me a chance to practice talking about my experience, strengths, and career interests.
  • I am grateful for the way my spouse was patient and kind with me while I was having a tough day.
  • I am grateful for the idea I had to call ____.
  • I am grateful for my consultant’s support and expertise that made my resume much better than what I had done on my own.
  • I am grateful for ___ taking my call and agreeing to have a networking meeting with me.
  • I am grateful that the sun was shining, and I enjoyed a walk/workout that helped clear my mind.
  • I am grateful that I had a good laugh with a friend and focused on things other than my career for a while.
  • I am grateful for the nourishing meal I had for dinner.
  • I am grateful that my family and I are safe and healthy.
  • I am grateful for the people who demonstrated their love and confidence in me today.
  • I am grateful for the play time I had with my dog.
  • I am grateful for the beautiful flowers that are blooming!

A gratitude mindset keeps you focused on all aspects of your career transition journey as each comes into place and supports you as you work to achieve the end goal you are manifesting for yourself. A gratitude mindset transforms the journey into a treasure hunt rather than an exercise in combating fear, anxiety, and self-doubt.

Multiple studies show the tangible effects of practicing a gratitude mindset on our physical and mental health -results that are comparable to, or exceed, pharmaceuticals. People who practice gratitude are happier, sleep better, tend to do more physical exercise, have more motivation, experience more meaning and joy in life, have better quality relationships (across all relationships), and are more resilient to trauma. Science shows us that practicing gratitude is a very potent way to direct our mental and physical health in positive directions and that the effects are long lasting. The neurochemicals and neurotransmitters affected generate positive results on par with high intensity interval training! 

Additionally, the process of neuroplasticity -how our brains and nervous systems change and adapt in response to what we experience -amplifies our gratitude mindset. The more we are grateful the more attuned our brains become to notice things for which we can be grateful.

I encourage everyone to be their own science experiment. Try a gratitude practice -even three or so times a week for a few weeks and see what changes you, and the people around you, notice.

You can borrow from the wisdom and experience of two of the many well-known people who acknowledge that they practice a gratitude mindset, Oprah Winfrey (one of the wealthiest and most beloved people in the media) and Jack Canfield (self-esteem author, success coach, and co-author of the Chicken Soup for The Soul books).

Oprah says, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Canfield comments, “Gratitude is the single most important ingredient to living a successful and fulfilled life.”

A gratitude mindset helps us be more enjoyable and attractive people to be around. Focusing on noticing and appreciating the good in people and circumstances is not only a bonus for us and anyone that we interview or network with, but nice for those loved ones who are sharing our career-transition journey with us.

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