Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Here's a Radical Idea: Be Grateful at Work

In my house, we have the Thanksgiving tradition of revealing what we're thankful for (we agree that family is a given and you have to name something else).

Depending on the age of the person, common mentions include "good health," "all-day football" and "the pecan pie in the kitchen."

Personally, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it's about being, well, thankful. (No, it's not actually about plotting your strategy for Black Friday sales.) I think it's important to stop for a moment and realize that despite all the hand-wringing and vile rhetoric we sometimes experience, we all have something in our lives for which to be grateful.

The same it true at work. We spend a lot of time griping and stressing about customers, colleagues and the boss. But is it really so horrible? Every bit of it?

Or, do you have a colleague who always greets you with a smile and a cheerful "Good morning!" Did a customer tell you a funny joke? Did the boss let you leave early to attend a child's soccer game even though it's a busy season?

Those may seem like small things, but they're really not. Neither is the paycheck you receive from your employer. Without that paycheck, what would your life be like?

I'm not trying to be Pollyanna, but I do think we can change our mindset a bit about work and use Thanksgiving as a way to jumpstart a new way of thinking.

Recently, Stacey Engle, executive vice president at Fierce Conversations, sent me a list of ideas to practice more gratitude. So, as you ready yourself (and your stomach) for Thanksgiving, think about trying to:

  • Start a gratitude journal: Not all gratitude needs to be expressed outwardly, and recognizing personally what you are grateful for can be very powerful. You may want a journal that encompasses all aspects of your life, or one just for the office. Perhaps every Monday morning you take 10 minutes to write down what work-related people and things you are grateful for. Over time, you can look back and reflect in a meaningful way.
  • Write thank-you notes.  When we are used to email and texting, writing a note can be magical. There is something powerful about taking the time to thank someone with a physical note, whether it's your boss, the intern or even the security guard in your building.
  • Incorporate gratitude into you conversations. During one-on-one meetings, make a habit of highlighting something you appreciate about the person. These conversations can have a lasting impact, and will serve to strengthen the relationship. 
What are some ways to show more gratitude at work?

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