Choose Gratitude

January 15, 2020 Lynne Levy

3-minute read


The ability to choose gratitude at work has changed my life.

Two years ago, I was eight rounds of chemo and 28 days of radiation into my stage three cancer treatment. I spent years dealing with toxic work cultures and micro-managers, responding to all this negativity with stress.

What I did not realize then is I have a choice. I cannot control the behavior of others, but I can choose how I respond. We spend at least 40 hours at work each week. If we are stressed and negative at work, it comes home with us. It impacts our families, our quality of life, and our health.

We can choose to treat others as valuable human beings at work. We can choose to be happy and lead with positivity.

Happiness and gratitude are not situational. Many say, “I will be happy when … .” For me, I said I would be happy when I received the next promotion, when senior leadership acknowledged my contributions, when my children were grown, etc. The reality is, small moments generate more happiness than large ones. By choosing happiness and positivity, we can all start to love what we do, come into work excited, and connect with the greater purpose of the organization.

What does this look like in practice? Here are a few examples:

  • Respond to someone who is stressed with empathy.
  • Recognize and appreciate those around you.
  • Assume positive intent from your colleagues.
  • When you disagree with a peer or leader, show a sense of curiosity instead of negativity or defensiveness.
  • Be present and savor the small moments at work.
  • Choose to bring your authentic, best self to work.
  • ​Make everyone feel included by building a sense belonging and community.
  • Decide each day how you are going to go into work. Are you going to go in with a sense of anticipation and happiness? Or a feeling of anger and dread? Remember, you get to choose.

I wish I could go back in time and make different choices in how I reacted to negativity. Would this have affected cancer growth? Probably not. But it would have given me many more years of happiness at work.

The good news is I am fired up for 2020. I am happy, healthy, present, and savoring each moment at work and in life. I choose happiness. I choose to respond to negativity with empathy and curiosity. I have developed a different way of navigating work and life, one where I savor and am grateful for the small moments.

I challenge you to pause for a moment today. Find something you appreciate at work. Choose to be grateful and positive.


Gratitude – the Ultimate Performance-Enhancing Substance

The Gratitude Movement Is Taking Over

The Importance of Gratitude in Creating Human Workplaces

About the Author

Lynne Levy

Lynne Levy is a Workhuman evangelist who lives and breathes helping organizations build cultures that bring out the best in the employees. Her mantra is “do what you love, love what you do.”

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