Have an attitude of gratitude.
An “attitude of gratitude” means having the habit of showing your thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life – including your business. This is a powerful tool for any small business owner or leader. Why? Your attitude can transform your life and business, or… a lack of gratitude can bring everything down.
“Researchers define appreciation as the act of acknowledging the goodness in life—in other words, seeing the positives in events, experiences, or other people (like our colleagues)… It [gratitude] recognizes how the positive things in our lives—like a success at work—are often due to forces outside of ourselves, particularly the efforts of other people.” (Greater Good Magazine)
You might say I’m already in the Thanksgiving spirit by writing this post. Really, this topic is much bigger than a holiday that has progressed to a focus on food and football. Gratitude should be a daily activity, especially if you are a small business owner like me.
Can a Business Grow Without Gratitude?
You’ve probably heard of the “growth mindset” from business coaches and similar people. Part of developing that growth mindset is recognizing and appreciating what you already have in your life and why. This mindset becomes crucial as we look forward to the future of a business and think about growth – hiring team members, expanding the product / service catalog, and increasing revenue.
A business is bigger than transactions of money for a product or service. Businesses are built by people – teams of people who are working towards the same goals. Even if you’re a solo entrepreneur, you have people supporting you in various ways. This is not exclusive to those with full-time employees.
For teams to thrive, there are two important values you bring as the business owner: provide a space with genuine gratitude for work well done and curiosity for open minds to always be learning. The teams who practice and show gratitude and a learning flexibility are stronger for this reason. They deliver a higher ROI and make a difference.
Bringing an Attitude of Gratitude to Work
How do you implement practices of gratitude into your business? There are probably a million different ways, but here are a few to get you started:
- Thank You Notes: Take the time to write thank you notes that are personal and honest to the people who support you. This could be as simple as a post-it on your employee’s desk. It could also be a nice card and a piece of chocolate (or whatever that person prefers) sent to a strategic partner for sending a referral. The point is that you write a note that tells the person clearly and specifically how they made a difference in your life and the business.
Avoid flowery language and speak a truth of genuine gratitude. Also – there’s something special about getting a hand written note instead of an email or e-card. It shows that you took a little extra time and care.
- Journal: So many friends and colleagues tell me about the impact journaling has made for them. There are many different approaches to recording your thoughts. I’ve read the suggestions about 25 things you’re grateful for each day and pre-printed journals that come with a guide for your writing. For me, I like to keep things simple since my life and work are complicated enough. I suggest taking the micro-journaling approach, especially if you’re new to this practice. Once a day (preferably after work), write down 3 Challenges you faced during the day and 3 Moments of Gratitude.
- Be With People: Get out of the home office, co-working space, or regular office to see people. When you can set aside time, maybe once a week, to connect with someone it can help to ground you. This is different from attending a networking event, although you could accomplish this at an event too. Sit down to have a deep conversation with someone about something important. Aim to share with that person at least 1 thing you are grateful for that day, and maybe ask him or her about it.
- Give Back: Volunteering is a simple way to remind us about what we have in life and the importance of appreciating it. You may also want to create a relationship with a local non-profit through your business, where you donate profits, product, or service. Contributing to others is healing to the soul and reminds us to be grateful. Team volunteering is even better because everyone gets an opportunity to be social, do build relationships, and contribute to others.
Gratitude During the Holiday Season
The holiday season brings up a lot of emotions for us as individuals – especially in our personal relationships with family, friends, and romantic relationships. It is a time of year when we want to feel joyous and be celebrating. Sometimes we lose ourselves in old feelings and emotions, rather than grounding in reality.
There is so much to be grateful for during the holiday season, as well as every other season of the year. No matter where you are in life or your business, you have reasons to be grateful and to spread that cheer with others you work alongside. While we cannot ignore the negative things that may come up, building the habit of gratitude makes it much easier to deal with stress.
Wishing you, your coworkers, family, and friends a joyful holiday season!