Central Wisconsin Business Magazine
December 2005 (Volume 1, Number 8)
What's Gratitude Got To Do, Got To Do With It?
Or as Tina Turner might sing, “What’s love but a second hand emotion? Or a sweet old fashioned notion?” One might wonder if the expression of gratitude and love really belong in the workplace. Well, they most certainly do! Gratitude is appreciation for benefits received. It makes the workplace more meaningful. And where workers find meaning, they generally find motivation to achieve that sense of meaningfulness. Hence, employees gain commitment.
And it’s no secret that companies are struggling to secure employee commitment these days. In fact, a USA Today cover story notes that a nationwide survey on the mood of workers reveals lingering insecurity and unhealed wounds from the downsizing and restructuring that continues to batter Corporate America. Workers are feeling more anxious than ever.
When people are asked what keeps them committed to doing a good job at work often the answers include: acknowledgement, self-satisfaction, accountability, recognition, money, and a regard for colleagues and those they serve.
But the answer that eclipses all others is the feeling of being appreciated and valued. Intuitively you sense this is a profound motivator and influences a person’s enjoyment of work. The follow-up question, “What makes you feel appreciated?” typically yields the reply, “When someone says thank you.”
Although it may seem like a minor detail, a lack of thanks in the coordination of actions leaves many conversations open. Without an expression of gratitude, you wonder if your work was satisfactory and if it met the expectation. Moreover, the absence of gratitude generates an identity of being ungrateful.
Research is beginning to indicate that feeling gratitude makes us better people – both personally and professionally. Consider what recent academic studies have shown:
People who describe themselves as feeling grateful . . . tend to have
higher vitality and more optimism, suffer less stress, and experience
fewer episodes of clinical depression than the population as a whole.
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow ."
~ Melody Beattie
In any challenge, there’s a critical point when you choose to begin walking the path of gratitude and stop focusing on what’s not working or not happening. In my early conversations with coaching clients, they typically express what they’re not happy about in their life and it’s obvious that they’re focusing energy on the negative. Through our coaching exercises they make a shift to pay more attention to the meaningful coincidences – “the good stuff” and to keep track of it. It’s amazing what happens when people make a conscious choice to focus their energy to being grateful.
I personally began what I refer to as, “Gratitudaling”, a few years back. Basically, I record random acts of gratitude in a notebook throughout the day. The more I look for, the more I find!
To enhance your perception of gratitude:
* Make a conscious choice to be aware of things that touch your heart.
* Pay attention to whatever gives you energy and amazes you.
* Seek out the meaningful coincidences in life.
* Capture the moments in writing.
* Be inspired by gratitude and share your gifts with others.
In America , we dedicate one day in November to giving thanks. Why stop there? How do you express your gratitude each day to the people who surround you at work and at home – your customers and colleagues, friends and family, and even complete strangers? Take the time to communicate two simple words that can speak volumes and make people feel appreciated. And above all be sincere.
Have fun making gratitude a part of your everyday life and watch the greatness unfold!