November 23, 2016

Gratitude in the Workplace: How to be Thankful and Why I Am

by Sean Howard

give thanks_ecommerceIn a business writing class years ago, I finished an assignment and closed the accompanying note with a rather benign “Thanks!” and my signature. The closing statement started a baffling extended conversation with my classmates about whether this was useful or beneficial. My classmates asked just what had the recipient done to garner my thanks. To me, the closing remark thanked the recipient for reading my message and for taking the time to consider what I had written. I was genuinely appreciative.

Still, this debate made me think about how I viewed business conversations and whether gratitude was something beneficial in business. Thinking about the issue more deeply, I realized that there are plenty of reasons to show thanks at work. It acknowledges your dependence on others and makes you humble. It shows others that you care and encourages them to engage with you, making their jobs–and yours–more satisfying and complete.

Having a thankful mindset is more than simple courtesy for others, it’s good for us too. According to psychotherapist Amy Morin, there are scientifically proven benefits to gratitude. Grateful people:
1.  Ingratiate themselves with others and build better relationships
2.  Have improved physical health
3.  Have improved mental health
4.  Sleep better
5.  Have higher self esteem

Basically, by being thankful towards others, we bring about a positive impact within ourselves, and undoubtedly a positive impact on our work.

But while an attitude of gratitude is helpful, it’s sometimes easier said than done. How do you instill a grateful mindset in yourself?

Start with your mornings. Think of three things you are thankful for while you are brushing your teeth. Every day make it three new things. Day One could be easy. “I’m thankful for my friends, my family, and my job.” Day 100 might be harder. Days where you’re down may be even more difficult. In all candor, I’ve had to look in the mirror and simply think, “I’m thankful there’s toothpaste in the tube, I’m awake, and I’m alive.” It’s still genuine gratitude and it helps me focus more on the positive rather than whatever may be bothering me in that moment. While negativity can often cloud our outlook, by looking at the big picture and being thankful for even the little things, we can have a better quality of life.

Turning my mind towards business, I find myself exceedingly grateful for my coworkers. These people work tirelessly to put out superior products. They do so with good cheer and dedication to a high-quality product they and their customers can be proud of. They are kind, collaborative, and willing to help across functions. They are some of the finest people I’ve ever worked with.

I’m grateful for my company. Here at LYONSCG, we have a culture of transparency and openness. I know our corporate goals and my part in making them a reality. I love how leadership uses word and deed to demonstrate to our clients how their satisfaction is of the utmost importance.

Finally, I’m grateful for my clients. Without them, I’d be less motivated to do my best work every day. They, like my colleagues, work hard to do what’s right by their projects. Their attitudes and enthusiasm for our work is infectious, encouraging us to reach higher. They become more than clients; they truly are partners with all of us at LYONSCG.

Today, as it is with every day, I woke up and remembered “I am the luckiest man in the world”. For that, I am grateful.

Sean Howard is a Senior Project Manager at LYONSCG. Sean has more than 15 years of project and operational management experience, and is a proud graduate of Michigan State University.