Careers

Practicing Thankfulness in the Workplace - Not Just in November

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The season of gratitude and giving is officially here. Our dinner conversations with family and friends are filled with talking about what we're thankful for -- a conversation topic that spills over into work, the classroom, and of course on TV and in advertising. Thankfulness helps ground us, reminding us about what is good in this life, and inviting optimism for our present and future. I feel very strongly that this “attitude of gratitude” that so many tout is something that we should cultivate more than just in this intentional season.

The energy and positivity that comes with thankfulness should fuel our daily lives, including at school or at work where we spend significant time supporting the mission of our respective organizations. Remaining mindful and purposeful about what we're thankful for -- specifically as it relates to our key places of being not just at home, but at work and school -- will heighten our appreciation for our colleagues, our services, our environment and ourselves. By finding time to see, reflect and seek points of beauty and goodness in our jobs and educations, we can see our roles in these settings as pieces of a more whole life, rather than just means to an end or a daily requirement.


Here are a few ways to think about thankfulness at work and school beyond November.

Affirmations -- Your Colleagues and Classmates

Full-time employees and students spend at least 40 hours a week with the same people. They begin to influence us, and -- directly or indirectly -- become a major part of our lives. Who we work and study with and how we view those individuals not only affects how we view our work and education, but also our outlook on life.

As you get to know your colleagues, professors and classmates, think about what you appreciate about them. Everyone has different skills and it can take time to fully appreciate the talents of your peers. After taking time to think about this, remind them of their talents and gifts. Affirming your peers and reinforcing the great work they contribute to your team not only makes them feel appreciated and keeps them motivated, but it also builds rapport.

These people are major players in what makes our professional lives -- and our lives overall -- meaningful. Let them know as part of your thankfulness commitment.

Finding Meaning in Your Own Day-to-Day

Your individual work has meaning. And there is inherent value in just appreciating what you are able to own, control and impact every day.

Every role impacts our teams, our companies and our schools, ultimately laddering up to society and humanity in different ways, and it's important to be aware of how each of our work products makes an impact. By reflecting on the impact of our contributions, we can find meaning in our roles and a greater appreciation for what we do. Most roles are not defined by life or death situations, but each one of us serves in one way or another. Our work’s impact goes beyond ourselves, even if we personally benefit by increased confidence, conditioned skills and more.

Remind yourself of your work and the contribution it makes to society.

Your Environment

We spend a significant amount of time in these school and work settings, as mentioned above, whether it is a physical office, an online classroom, on the road for a sales job, in an art studio, chemistry lab or at home. Planting our gratitude into these settings can change the way we perceive our space and our place in them. This can be by keeping the spaces organized or by adding something like a plant, a cozy blanket or a fun disco ball -- appreciate the spaces you exist in and respect them.

These spaces also change over time -- new people come and go, offices move and environments change, so there is always a need to reflect about the new, positive aspects of our space. Find time to look around and observe what you are most thankful for in your environment.

Your Talent

Lastly, and possibly most importantly, be thankful for you. Make sure to take time and remind yourself that you matter, beyond just your work and studies. Your presence, your time, your talent and your contribution make a difference. Take time daily, weekly or monthly to remind yourself of your importance.

To be thankful for all the aforementioned qualities, we must first be thankful to ourselves for showing up and presenting with love and gratitude, and taking the time to reflect when maybe that isn’t so easy. Being thankful is not mutually exclusive from self-care. It all begins with us and the bonus is that gratitude and giving positively impact how we feel, but that’s second helpings for another discussion.

As we enjoy the rest of our holiday season, remember our gratitude extends beyond November.

What are you thankful for? Tell us using #ATTImpact on Twitter.