Your job if you choose to accept it is to sow seeds of gratitude everywhere possible without any worry because you know that gratitude is a seed that will grow into a harvest. I have witnessed this phenomenon a few times but there is one instance that remains indelible in my mind.
Without a doubt, there is untapped power in gratitude and to amplify the importance of gratitude, I will share a story of one of a performance review session early in my career.
When I started out in my career, like many, I was driven, hard-working, and focused. My opinion at the time was simple, “work hard” and let things be, in hope that the rest will fall into place.
So I worked hard. Whatever I was asked to do, I did.
At the end of that particular year, during the annual performance review, I was extremely confident that I had exceeded expectations and done what was sufficient for the next level, which at the time was a promotion.
So, I submitted my self-evaluation and anticipated the best news possible and to my utmost shock I received no praise but a simple message, “you did what you were asked” and was given the customary annual merit increase.
Is this a joke, I wondered? At the time, I was extremely upset and angry, I felt unappreciated and fought back the natural impulses of making a sense but to reflect. I also wanted to leave the room without acknowledging the feedback or saying thank you. But, I knew better and mumbled a half-hearted “Thank You” and left.
Overnight, I gained some perspective and reminded myself of life’s gifts including my good fortune of an amazing job in a great organization. I dragged myself back into my manager’s office and I reiterated what I thought I heard about my career, acknowledged my manager’s feedback and uttered a more thoughtful thank you. I think I said something along these lines “…thank you for your feedback and the bonus you administered on behalf of the company yesterday.”
I didn’t stop there…
I went to my manager’s boss and said, something similar and along the same lines. I think I said, “Thank you for the feedback and the bonus that was administered (assigned, would probably be more accurate) yesterday.”
So, back to the story, it was the shell-shocked look on their faces that gave it away. I knew I had just performed an act that is extremely rare. That was my first lesson on Brand Differentiation. Remember that:
“If you do something different, you will get noticed.”
By stepping out and acting different, I separated myself from others and my actions took on a life of their own. My action opened doors and gave me unlimited access to my manager’s boss which eventually transitioned into a monthly mentoring lunch and much more.
Here are 5 reasons why you should be grateful:
I want to encourage you to develop a “Gratitude Strategy”
Personally, I practice the art of gratitude every month by placing phone calls, sending email, text or voice messages to mentors, coaches, and members of my network who continue to challenge and support me.
It is a simple token to acknowledge, appreciate, and honor them. It is a simple task of consciously acknowledging the past, without compromising the present or future. I have discovered that this small act influences the future by keeping communication lines open for future possibilities, opportunities, and collaborations.
These are little things, but experts agree that in life and relationships, the little things matter. I want to challenge you to try gratitude. It might feel odd at first but give it a try. Trust me, the effect and results are out of this world.