Penning a blog post about gratitude on Thanksgiving Eve is far from original, however it’s a topic that most of us can benefit from exploring each and every day. Especially in relation to that so-called Daily Grind, a part of our life oft void of gratitude for anything other than a paycheck. Or, a Facebook “like.”
Whether you’re running your own business or coughing up 8-plus hours a day for someone else’s, your work effort—and ethic—is occasionally met with the same enthusiasm as, well, chopped liver. And let’s face it, not many people like chopped liver, even if it’s made with foie gras and Madeira.
So while you’re running through hoops to meet that deadline, pump up those social media numbers, close that deal, snag that press hit, talk a co-worker off the ledge, fix the printer or anything else that is or isn’t in your job description, it probably (and accurately) feels like everyone else around you is tabulating all the things you didn’t do (or didn’t do well). It’s also a safe bet that you’re just as guilty as the next guy, er gal, in pointing the finger.
The cause and effect comes down to this: If your workday is filled with more complaints than kudos, it might indicate that YOU aren’t saying “thank you” enough.
Positive and negative vibes are infectious. When we feel snubbed by a coworker or superior, or a client/customer for whom we’ve gone the extra mile, we carry that frustration and resentment into every subsequent encounter. This chain reaction inhibits our ability to praise those around us and minimizes valuable business-bonding opportunities.
This isn’t rocket science. People do business with you not only because they trust your skills and integrity; they feel good about the way you treat them. Even if these feelings are not always reciprocal, it’s your job to lead by example. Especially if you want to stand out among your industry peers.
But the end goal of workplace gratitude isn’t just business-related. Finding the good in little things such as a smooth commute, comfortable desk or chair, reliable Internet, the cookies your coworker brought in, the Keurig coffee station or the unexpected, pleasant elevator chat with someone who works in your building that you hadn’t met before… All of these seemingly mundane details involuntarily serve as the foundation for the kind of day you’re going to have. When all of the above goes wrong, it’s not just you who takes the hit; it’s everyone you engage with later in the day.
Having an ability to “shake it off” is the first, and often most challenging, step toward thankfulness. We may be able to put a man on the moon, but conquering the minutia is still something most of us have yet to attain. It also helps to give those around you a break. My hunch is that if you asked, they’d concede to experiencing the same annoyances as you are. They just might be doing that in cushier circumstances.
There are a lot of ways to show gratitude in the digital age. For starters, you can initiate a social media “wave,” tagging companies, individual employees, clients, customers, coworkers, vendors, etc., in 140 character tributes.
You can also create a Pinterest board, featuring “pins” that spotlight various aspects of your clients’ offerings that you admire (think quotes, product shots, screen grabs of web or Facebook pages, a video link, photos from an event you attended…), or post visual snippets on Instagram accompanied by a few complimentary words. You’ll likely find others chiming in, which will enhance your visibility as well as the companies and individuals that you’re shouting out about.
An invitation for a cocktail, coffee, a handwritten note or phone call will take your appreciation to another level, but in the end, it’s sincerity, not fancy wrapping that matters. Even a simple email or (gasp) text can make a difference in somebody’s day. The fact that you took the time to say anything at all is what your thankee will remember.
What goes around comes around. If you’re seeking on-the-job appreciation, follow The Golden Rule. And, keep a rose-colored pair of glasses nearby.