Iowa Women Lead Change: Janice Kaplan

Iowa Women Lead Change: Janice Kaplan

I was grateful to have the opportunity to attend the Iowa Women Lead Change Conference April 26th. Lots of great speakers, networking with other professionals, and interesting vendors were all part of the deal, and I wanted to take a post or two to share my take-aways with you.

The first speaker- Janice Kaplan was very engaging and informal- she shared about how one year of being consciously grateful for even small things in her life made a huge difference for her personally and professionally. She talked about how re-framing terrible, uncomfortable, or every-day situations in the lens of gratitude made it possible for us to see solutions, and move forward.

Janice KaplanA New-Yorker, with plenty of experience dealing with harsh winters, she told a story about how during her ‘year of gratitude’ she was shuffling down a particularly snowy sidewalk. There was a man shoveling- focused on his task, and he unknowingly threw a shovel-full of snow in her face! Janice, of course reacted to the unpleasant projectile- yelling at the man and continuing briskly on her way. About 15 feet along the sidewalk she was kicking herself- “I can’t do that- I can’t yell at this guy- How can I practice gratitude here?” For a moment she thought, and realized, “I’m grateful he’s shoveling, and I’m not, and tomorrow, I’ll be able to walk down the nice clean sidewalk”. Janice literally turned around, walked back and thanked the man for shoveling. She’s pretty sure he thought she was crazy, but re-framing the situation with gratitude changed HER attitude, and her experience for the rest of the day.

Showing gratitude for her family and friends has opened new doors in their relationships, and business leaders can learn to use gratitude to impact their company’s performance. Thank-yous don’t cost a dime, but they can have a huge impact on employee satisfaction, loyalty, and productivity. Utilizing gratitude in a professional setting, you can deeply change the dynamic of a team, and get the best work out of high performing teams.

She shared how she knows she’s had an amazing life- and hopes that throughout her professional life (walking the red carpet, and interviewing Daniel Craig for example) she’s been able to truly be grateful for the experiences she’s had, even though her year of gratitude came after many years of success and amazing experiences to be grateful for. Janice talked about how it’s scientifically verified that gratitude will restructure our neural pathways to increase our metal positivity, which has significant impacts on our physical and mental health. Her candor and passion for improving, not only her personal life, but sharing her strategies for increased success to help others experience similar “grateful moments” was really engaging. I heard several people commenting about their gratitude (that they changed the signage on one of the Men’s rooms to be a Women’s room for the duration of the IWLC), and the positivity of Janice’s message was felt throughout the conference, and for me- is continuing beyond the conference.

I got Janice’s book- The Gratitude Diaries  and I look forward to reading it and getting more insights to share with you.

Thanks for reading!

Laura Bryant

Post by Laura Bryant: Senior Internet Researcher