Recently a friend of mine had a series of calamities happen – family injuries, technology collapsing during important times, power outages, the need to boil household water because of some problem at the treatment plant, pet illnesses, and the list goes on and on. What makes it harder is that all this came within days of each other. It was hard to be grateful – or cheerful – even for the strongest person!

Beyond cheerfulness, though, part of her brand is being grateful. She tries to find the bright side of every situation and can find something to be thankful for. She was grateful she happened to be in town each time her family needed help. Grateful she was prepared with lots of bottled water. Grateful she has close siblings to help with her family. Grateful she is able to make her own schedule so when technology fails, she can take care of it.

The important part is: Being grateful is a choice. A state of mind.

And a part of your brand – good or bad.

It’s not about lying to yourself or trying to find a silver lining during a tragedy. It’s about being present in the moment and being appreciative of the people and things in your life. It’s about genuinely looking around and being thankful for your blessings.

Sometimes choosing gratefulness as part of your personal brand takes practice. And patience. And persistence. (Remember that part about it being a choice?)

Here are tips for integrating gratefulness into your personal brand:

  1. Look for opportunities to see a different perspective. My friend could easily get bogged down in the “stuff” amidst the calamities. Instead, she chooses to stop, breathe and listen to her body. She’s grateful she’s healthy. She’s thankful she has the resources to help others. She’s glad she has great relationships that mean the world to her.
  2. Surround yourself with other grateful people. Misery loves company, is how the saying goes. And for some people, that’s certainly true. The same is true for positivity, thankfulness and gratitude. You will attract what you seek.
  3. Reframe negative “at least” thinking. When my friend’s mom fell and broke her hip, someone told her mom, “At least you have your family! Poor Sandra, when she hurt herself, she was a widow!” What?? That’s not helping someone find gratitude; that’s minimizing someone’s pain. Take “at least” out of your vocabulary. Instead, her friend could have said, “I’m so glad you have family surrounding you to help.”
  4. Be that person. Be the person someone looks to as an example of gratefulness. That doesn’t mean fake smiling or never acknowledging hard times. It means being the kind of person that reaches out and says, I’m so thankful you trust me enough to share your stories and life with me. Let’s be grateful together.

Gratefulness as part of your personal brand takes practice. It means looking for the good stuff and embracing it. How? Take a walk and look up from your phone. Talk with a friend (see #2). Exercise your body and your mind. Write a list of all the things you are grateful for. Your first step is slowing down so you can appreciate what you have, what’s to come and where you’ve been.