Gratitude is Like Oxygen

Gratitude can be wonderfully affirming, surprisingly life-giving, noticeably motivating, and importantly respectful.

Human beings need gratitude. However, many of us need to learn to give and receive it. In these times of increased isolation and speed of work, Global Learning Partners would like to suggest that the giving and receiving of gratitude is more needed than ever before.

Making space to express gratitude can be done at many times in a virtual gathering:

    • after a tough piece of learning or work
    • at the end of a day or session in a larger learning series
    • at the end of a learning program
    • at the start of meeting to help us enter the work needed
    • along the way to affirm progress and achievements

There are also many ways to do this:

    • in the Chat box on Zoom
    • in a video posted in an online course
    • in virtual breakout rooms
    • in a private email to your team members
    • in a quick phone call
    • in a card or personal note
    • in a Skype or phone text
    • … and, there are many more ways.

Gratitude celebrates how our life has been enriched by another person’s specific actions. Psychologist Dr. Marshall Rosenberg through Nonviolent Communication offers a helpful model for sharing appreciation. This approach encourages us to consider three parts to offering gratitude:

Observations – Sharing what actions another person took that made your life or work better.

Feelings – How you feel in this moment (not when it happened).

Need – The needs of yours that were met by the action.

Here are a few examples to consider. Notice how these follow the 3-parts mentioned in Rosenberg’s approach (“This is what you did; this is what I feel; this is the need of mine that was met.”)

  1. Thank you for your creative contributions on the proposal. It really made me proud to send such an excellent example of our work to this important client. I’ve been working hard to show them what we can do, and this made it easy.
  2. I really appreciate the time you took to solve that problem. I’m so glad to be on a team that values pitching in together when things get busy. It makes me less worried about everything getting done.
  3. Thank you for helping facilitate that Zoom meeting today. I felt relieved that you were so capable at handling the technical side of breakouts and polls. I was able to concentrate on sharing the content and attend to the learners in ways that I felt were important.

One of our strongest needs as human beings is to contribute to the well-being of others. Expressing and receiving gratitude in our meetings, convenings and gatherings is important and life-giving. Make room for it, plan for it, invite it and be grateful when it is offered.

Gratitude is like oxygen. We need it each day.

How will you ensure moments of gratitude in your next gathering?


Jeanette Romkema ( is GLP Senior Partner and Vision & Strategy Leader. Rachel Nicolosi ( is GLP Partner and Communications Leader.

Here are more GLP blogs by Jeanette and Rachel.

NVC content by PuddleDancer Press. Please visit to learn more about Nonviolent Communication.