Thanksgiving: More Gratitude

I work for a large service company.  A few months ago, the CEO of my enterprise posed this question to my team:

“How can we inspire and express more gratitude in our organization–both from our customers and from our team?

An incredible, and important question.  Of course, receiving someone else’s thanks always makes us feel nice.  But the act of gratitude itself is good for our physical and emotional well-being.  It nourishes us, puts things in perspective, and keeps us calm in the midst of difficulty.  I know that I am guilty of feeling and expressing far less gratitude that I should, even though it makes me happier and generally improves my life.

Our initiative has moved on to other topics: the was one of 13 questions posed by the CEO to us on that day.  But, after thinking about question at some length, here’s what I came up with–ideas for myself to have more gratitude in my life.  The ideas I have for my organization are all applications of these individual principles.

  • Start now:  As with most positive changes, if I want to have more gratitude for myself, and for the people around me, I need to start with myself.  Say thank you, write notes, express gratitude.
  • Make easy channels.  For me, though it sounds simple, it’s important to have a space with note cards I appreciate, stamps, and envelopes, all where I have time to write and reflect.
  • Tell better stories.  It can be simple to say thanks.  But – when I write a note, it’s helpful for me to take the time to tell a better story.  Zoom in to the details of the action.  Zoom out to give it context.  Share the small details of what has happened after, or mention my hopes for the future that are still yet to come.
  • Sign posts and space.  I sometimes get so caught up in the rhythm of life that I forget to step back, reflect, and be grateful.  For me, two things help.  First, having physical reminders (like signposts) to pause and say thanks.  For me, that is quotes on the walls of my home gym and office, and a rotating reminder on my desktop background.  Second, occasions are a wonderful time to pause and be grateful.  These could be holidays, or anniversaries and half-anniversaries of events.  I find it so positive to pause on these occasions and spend time being grateful.
  • Share more.  This seems simple, but when possible, write a note to the person you are thankful for, then mention your feelings to another person close to that individual–magnifying the impact.  This works particularly well at work:  thank the person and mentioning your praise to their coworker or manager as well.  As an introvert, I struggle with this–but, it’s something I should do more.

That is a few things I’m working on to be more grateful.  Hopefully these ideas can help you as well.  Have  great day!

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