By Princess Jones
As the end of the year approaches, you’ll start to notice that gratitude becomes a huge talking point everywhere you go. The combination of the winter holidays and all of the introspection that comes with changing years makes it a natural time to think about what we’re grateful for in our lives.
But thankfulness isn’t just useful for a few minutes around the Thanksgiving table. If you can find a way to tap into gratitude all year long, you might find that it changes your perspective on your life and your business. And as a business owner, you have a lot more control over your environment than you think. If you can tap into an attitude of gratitude, you can help your whole company do the same thing.
Make “Thank You” Your Company Motto
If you’re just getting started on the gratitude train, sometimes the easiest change is the smallest one. Adjusting what you say is a great place to start. Make it a habit to express gratitude to the people around you—your partners, employees, and customers. Make it a point to stop what you’re doing and thank your employees when you see them doing things that further your company’s mission.
How about that regular customer that’s been coming in every morning to buy a coffee from your café for two years? Have you taken a moment to sincerely thank her for being so loyal to your business? Big or small, the more you thank the people around you for what they bring to your business, the easier an attitude of gratitude will be.
Acknowledge Your Blessings
It’s also easy to have a grateful attitude when you realize just how good you have it. That may be a little hard to wrap your mind around when you’re spending all of your time focusing on what went wrong or the next big thing you’re chasing.
Don’t just acknowledge your blessings—make sure that the rest of your team does, too. An efficient way to spread thankfulness around the office is to keep a company gratitude log. List all of the things that are going right in a place where everyone has access to it. You could keep a cloud-shared document or maybe put together a weekly newsletter where you spotlight good things happening around the office. If you have regular staff meetings, you could make it a point to talk about all of the good things that are happening for the company and its employees for a few minutes.
Give Back to Those Less Fortunate
Sometimes it takes seeing what other people don’t have to be grateful for the things you do have. Charity work or volunteering with those less fortunate than you can really put things in perspective. Consider making giving back a part of your office culture. You don’t have to make it mandatory—that defeats the purpose of “volunteering” after all—but you can encourage employees to participate in charity drives or group volunteering opportunities.
Consider offering paid volunteer days for employees spending time at 501c nonprofits. You might also match employee donations dollar for dollar during certain charity drives. Or you could close the office for a day and encourage staff to join you in a group volunteering opportunity. Or you could choose a cause that dovetails with your company mission and plan several activities that go along with that.