Is gratitude important for success? 13 reasons why

November 23, 2022

Holiday season is always a good time to share what you’re grateful for. Whether it is around the dinner table, friends and family gatherings, or in individual conversations, sharing gratitude and feeling appreciated always has the power to make someone’s day.

But gratitude doesn’t seem to make it to the workplace. Research found that almost 3 in 10 workers received no recognition within a year and over half of people would like to receive more recognition.

In this article, we will explore what makes gratitude important for success and fulfillment and how you can express your gratitude in a meaningful way.

Why is gratitude important for success?

Gratitude is an important ingredient for career success. Here’s why:

Shows what matters in your career

Gratitude can show you something that matters to you in someone else. For example, if you appreciate a coworker’s punctuality, it is safe to assume that punctuality matters to you. The things that matter to you define how you prefer to work, how you shape your jobs, and which work environments you’ll thrive in. With this information, you can determine what success means to you.

Strengthen work relationships

Your professional relationships are key to career success. After all, they determine which jobs you’re offered, which promotions you get, how your work gets done, and many other aspects of work. Sharing gratitude for people is a great way to strengthen a relationship.

13 research-backed benefits of gratitude

Being grateful is not just about the warm and fuzzy feelings. Gratitude also has several benefits related to both your career and wellbeing in general.

  1. More positivity. Practicing gratitude can help you increase and maintain positive emotions (Amin, 2014). Positive emotions and attitudes can help you when you’re feeling down, in the middle of a tough challenge, or need to do something difficult.
  2. Improved psychological health. Chih-Che Lin (2017) found that practicing gratitude has overall psychological health benefits, including higher self-esteem and lowered depression. What this means is that you feel well when you are grateful.
  3. Improved physical health. Turns out, gratitude also helps with your physical health (Hill, Allemand, & Roberts, 2013).
  4. Stronger connections. Research has found that expressing thanks leads to a solid foundation for new connections (Williams & Bartlett, 2014).
  5. Increased resilience. Gratitude can lead to more resilience, and ability to overcome challenges, and ability to deal with crises (Fredrickson, Tugade, Waugh & Larkin, 2003).
  6. More empathy. Gratitude leads to becoming more empathetic (DeWall, Lambert, Pond, Jr, Kashdan, & Fincham, 2011). As mentioned in the study, people are more concerned about others and help others more often when they are grateful.
  7. Lowered aggression. The same study also found that practicing gratitude lowers aggression because you’re more likely to think about others when you’re grateful (DeWall, Lambert, Pond, Jr, Kashdan, & Fincham, 2011).
  8. Better sleep. Yes, grateful people sleep better (Jackowska, Brown, Ronaldson, & Steptoe, 2016)! And better sleep leads to all sorts of wellbeing benefits.
  9. Higher self-esteem. You feel good about yourself when you’re grateful (Rash, Matsuba, & Prkachin, 2011).
  10. Reduced stress. Being grateful results in less stress (Wood, Maltby, Gillett, Linley, & Joseph, 2008). This is because when you’re grateful, you look at what is going well rather than harp on what isn’t going your way.
  11. Improved decision making. Being grateful leads to having more patience when making decisions (DeSteno, Li, Dickens, & Lerner, 2014). With more patience, you can take additional time to be thoughtful in making good decisions, rather than quick decisions.
  12. Finding meaning in work. When you’re grateful, you tend to find more meaning in your day to day work, which leads to more career fulfillment (Dik, Duffy, Allan, O’Donnell, Shim, & Steger, 2015).
  13. Increased motivation. In October 2020, a survey by found that of 2,231 workers, about 19 in 20 people who receive gratitude feel motivated in their daily work.

How gratitude can make your career more fulfilling

Not only does gratitude have a lot of physical and psychological benefits, but it can also help you in your career. Below are some ways you can use gratitude in your career.

Keep in touch with your network

Letting people in your network know that you’re grateful for them can be a great way to keep in touch. Not only will you reap the benefits of gratitude, but the person receiving your thanks will be delighted to hear from you.

Find meaning in the ordinary

Sometimes work can feel monotonous. But if you can find things to be grateful for, your mood will become more positive and you’ll have a much better day than if you wallow in the negative.

Help your coworkers feel seen and appreciated

You never know what kind of day your coworkers or colleagues are having. By expressing gratitude, your coworkers will feel appreciated, which will lift their mood, your mood, and the mood of your whole team.

Celebrate accomplishments

When you’ve accomplished your goal, it can be easy to shrug off your success and focus on the next goal right away. But if you don’t take the time to celebrate, you can feel demotivated or lackluster when striving for the next goal. Gratitude lets you take a pause and truly celebrate your accomplishments. Acknowledging your achievements helps you become more aware of what you did and builds confidence.

Appreciate failure

Failure never feels like a good thing. But failure can be a great teacher in what to avoid in the future. Gratitude can help you appreciate the learnings from failure, instead of beating yourself up over it.

Also, gratitude helps you see the good. So even if you fail, you can see the good in the situation by expressing gratitude for the experience.

Increased career satisfaction

If you find things to be grateful for in your career, you’ll feel more satisfied with your career too. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you love each day or can’t strive for more. But, it makes the present moment better.

How do you express your gratitude professionally?

So gratitude is good for your career. But what’s the best way to express your gratitude? Here are our tips and tricks:

Make your gratitude specific

As much as possible, pinpoint exactly what you’re grateful for. By being specific, the receiver can learn about the impact of their own work.

Talk to something you know they would appreciate

If a colleague went through several hoops to pull something together or had a series of challenges, talk about how grateful you are for their effort. They will feel seen and valued for their work. It will also make them more willing to do that tough work again.

Give an example

Giving an example makes your gratitude more tangible for the receiver. This is especially important when expressing gratitude for a character trait or a strength. Explaining how thankful you are for their strength by giving an example can help them become more self-aware of what they bring to the table.

Be authentic

When you’re sharing thanks, make sure it is authentic. People can sense an ulterior motive, which undermines any gratitude benefits. So share your gratitude only when it feels true.

Be vulnerable

Let the other person know just how much you appreciate them. If they helped you get through a tough situation or uplifted you, share that. When you are vulnerable with your gratitude, they will feel closer to you, which will lead to a stronger working relationship.

Share gratitude immediately

You may want to express gratitude, but end up postponing it and forgetting it. Instead, right when you feel grateful, send a note. That way, you remember to express gratitude, and they receive it in a timely manner.

If applicable, share publicly

Expressing gratitude one on one is great. But sharing your gratitude in a public way can make the other person feel even more appreciated. Public can mean several things, including at a team meeting, through your company’s internal forums, or on social media. Expressing gratitude publicly can also give that person more visibility with company leadership or the general public.  

. . .

Sharing gratitude leaves a great impression, whether you give or receive it. Thank you notes don’t need to be long or cumbersome to be impactful. Even a couple of words can make someone’s day.

At Crew, we see just how important gratitude is to a successful career. That’s why we’ve built a tool that makes it easy to send (and receive) gratitude notes to those in your network. It also stores all your gratitudes in one place so that you can always come back to them if you need a pick-me-up.

Click here to get started.