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How to Be a More Powerful Leader Today

woman leaning on office wall with her  arms crossed

A leader said this simple, 5-minute practice helped him get past a “rough spot” in his career.

Often, it is the simple things that get you back on track as a leader.

This will also help you accomplish more, hit more goals, and improve your life at home.

Practice gratitude.

The most powerful leaders know this.

Using gratitude focuses your subconscious on what is working – at work and at home.

Why is this important?

Because neuroscience tells us that most of the time our brain naturally focuses on the negative.

“I don’t want to miss this deadline.”

“My team isn’t working effectively on this project.”

“Why are my leaders…”

Gratitude focuses the “RAS,” Reticular Activating System – on what is working.

The “RAS” is a gumdrop sized piece of your brain that scans for evidence of your beliefs.

A belief is something you say repeatedly to yourself (or out loud to your team, for example).

Think, “I don’t want my team to fall short of the goal,” and the RAS focuses on “falling short.”

It hears the “main message,” – your team falling short.

How to get back on track?

Focus your brain – your subconscious – to look for success with gratitude:

“Thanks for the project coming in on time, within budget,” = focusing on success.

“I am grateful for my team that gets better every day,” = seeing their strengths.

“I appreciate that my team is doing their best today,” = noticing “their best.”

Most of the time you are “solving problems,” which focuses you on what you “don’t want.”

Problems indicate you have things “going wrong.”

Whereas the more you say, “This is working,” the more your subconscious sees “this works.”

This is a fact; it is how your brain works.

Your brain looks for evidence of what you believe – what you keep saying to yourself.

So, try working with your brain.

When you focus on gratitude you cannot focus on the negative.

Why? Because your brain is simple; it can only focus on one idea at a time.

Make it a good idea.

Start your day with gratitude, then use gratitude all day long.

“Thank you for this day. I am grateful to be alive.

Thank you for my team, family, friends, and the people I spend time with today.

I appreciate them all.

I am grateful we all work and live happily together; we achieve remarkable things.”

“Thank you also for those who challenge me today.

They are “teaching me.”

They teach me to be more patient, kind, calm and caring.

This helps me become a better leader, who sees more possibilities for success.”

Not a bad way to start your day, right?

Keep positive, grateful thoughts running in your mind all day.

Then focus on what you want today and be grateful in advance for it.

“Thank you especially for the successful meetings and all the challenges that happen today.

I know each change or “upset” can bring something even better to me. I will expect the best.”

When you use gratitude to expect the best, you program your brain to look for solutions.

Start now.

Say, “I am so grateful for…,” “Thank you for…” and keep adding to your gratitude list.

Write it down, say it out loud and talk to your team and family about how grateful you are.

Tell them you appreciate them (appreciation = engagement at work, connection at home).

Be specific – “I appreciate how quickly you responded to my request.”

(At work) “I appreciate how you are coming to me with solutions to that challenge.”

“I appreciate how positive you are – your attitude is helping the team succeed.”

Be specific - “I appreciate how you support me by __________ (being patient, kind, loving…)”

(At home) “I appreciate how you ___________ (handle a situation, care for the family).”

“I am grateful to have your _______ (friendship, love, help, support…)”

Switch your focus (to gratitude), shift your energy (to positive), change everything (life works).

This is how you use one simple step – gratitude - to be a more powerful leader today.


Paula’s leadership training transforms your company’s culture into a place that engages and retains top talent, saving millions. Her clients include Coca-Cola, Lowe’s, Microsoft, KPMG and Collins Aerospace. She can be reached at

Paula Guilfoyle

Paula Guilfoyle

Training Leaders to be Resilient ​

Call now: 704-906-8045, email: or visit her website


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