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Practicing Gratitude

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

Like everything in 2020, Thanksgiving for many of us will look different this year. Our normal traditions might not be able to happen, some of our celebrations will need to happen over a virtual space and gravely, we know that for far too many, there will be missing family members at the table. While this year has brought on a lot of hardship and change, we must challenge ourselves to take this time, no matter what we are doing, to slow down and reflect. And while it’s normal to use the holiday season as a time to show gratitude, we here at Colorful Connections are challenging you to continue to practice gratitude all year long and not just with family but at your job.

Success at work has often been equated with who works the hardest, who can outshine competition and who can think in terms of the ‘bottom line.’ Although work culture is shifting, being empathetic and caring to the people we work with doesn’t get the same emphasis as other competitive language does when talking about how to be successful.

The average person will spend about a third of their life at work. For most people, that means you are spending a lot of time with people who are not your immediate friends and family, whether they be colleagues, partners, bosses, clients or customers. It’s easy to show up for our personal relationships but we all need to ask ourselves, how we are showing up for our professional relationships?

According to Forbes, “gratitude in the workplace is especially critical because it satisfies the higher psychological need to feel a sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves–to feel a sense of meaning at work.” Whether you say the words ‘thank you’ or show gratitude in another way like picking up coffee for your team or returning a favor for someone who helped you in the past, showing gratitude to another person tells them that you see them. And who doesn’t want to be seen?

It's important to note, however, that showing gratitude isn’t just about the other person. When we show gratitude, it in turn makes us feel good too. According to Psychology Today, “gratitude has been shown to be a ‘gateway’ to other positive emotions including joy, pride, motivation and wonder.” It’s hard to be positive 100% of the time and it’s easier to be negative. It’s easier to point out how things didn’t go or how we messed up. It’s a much harder act to be grateful about how things are. We must remember to celebrate the little wins. We can be grateful that we got through all our emails in a day. We can be grateful that our colleague took time out of their day to ask us how we were doing and stopped to really listen to the answer and to see if there was any way they could help.

And for those who still think in terms of quantifiable measurements when it comes to success, Forbes points to the 2019 Global Happiness and Well-Being Policy Report, where “the Global Happiness Council estimated that ‘a meaningful increase in well-being’ yields, on average, about a 10% increase in productivity.” As it turns out, showing and receiving gratitude not only makes us feel good but it helps us do our jobs.

So whatever you are doing this holiday, take a moment to think about what you’re grateful for and who you might need to show gratitude towards. When you return to work on Monday, be intentional about how gratitude shows up at your workplace and in your work -- and don’t lose it once the holidays come and go.

What are we grateful for here at Colorful Connections? We are grateful for the talent who have trusted us in their job search, the employers who have shown confidence in our ability to help them find the right candidate, the companies who have stepped out of their comfort zones and allowed us to lead them through necessary diversity, equity and inclusion workshops. We are grateful for our trusted partners and mentors who have helped us along the way. We couldn’t do any of this work without you all. And today, like every day, we are incredibly grateful for your support and business.

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