The benefits of gratitude – to the giver and receiver

by Jack Warren

Anyone who’s sat in on one of my staff development and leadership seminars can tell you that my last topic — and arguably the most important — is on GRATITUDE. Giving thanks. Being thankful. Putting yourself into a perpetual state of gratitude. You see, not only does ingratitude have a long aftertaste, but the act of thankfulness blesses those in our orbit and the spirit of thankfulness goes a long way in establishing a healthy mental approach.

Mark Brew 1_TwitterBGratitude is a 24/365 thing. It’s not confined to a day on the calendar or particular events. One should always be on the lookout for ways to express gratitude or give thanks. On this particular day, however, we are reminded to stop and reflect — giving thanks to God and to and for those who have impacted our lives for the good.

Over two years ago, I started Top Coach as a way to give back to the guys who so impacted my life from such an early age. As Billy Graham so thoughtfully expressed, “One coach will impact more young people in one year than the average person does in a lifetime.” I am one of those people. Had it not been for coaches (and others) that stepped into the void after my dad stepped out of the picture when I was ten years old, I’m not sure where my road may have taken me.

One of the questions I love to ask a coach who has had some professional experience is, “You had opportunities on the pro side. Why did you choose college (or high school)?” Almost without exception the response is, “Because of the impact I can have on young lives.” You see, if it was all about baseball, then none of that would really matter.

Ray Birmingham_Twitter2Have you stopped today to thank those who’ve had an impact on your life? Do you think often about those who selflessly give of themselves to make the lives of others better? And let’s take this one step further. When someone makes the point of thanking you for what you’ve done, how seriously do you consider their expression of gratitude? “Oh, it’s no big deal” is not a good answer. Someone who takes the time to thank you should receive a commensurate (and heart felt!) response.

I am especially thankful this year for the thousands of coaches that I interact with on a regular basis. Visiting schools on my many road trips each year is like jumping in the car as a kid to go visit with cousins, uncles, and aunts. Going to the ABCA convention is like attending a family reunion. You guys have so blessed my life. And for that — believe me — I am so very grateful.

Changing lives, one pitch at a time.

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