Happy New Year! I hope everyone’s 2018 is exponentially better than 2017. In hopes of kicking off a sure-to-be memorable year, I thought I’d share a bit more about my Gratitudes.
The best thing any startup has ever given me (aside from the awesome perks) was mindfulness of all the good things that are worth remembering. Every Friday, we’d gather around a sofa-filled conference room at 10am and share two things that we were thankful for that week: one personal, one professional.
The first time I joined this session, it was difficult to think of something on the spot that wasn’t a complete cliché. But the reality is that there was always something worth being grateful for that week. I just wasn’t being mindful of it, storing that information and internally celebrating as I really should have been.
I decided to block out a little section in my planner just for the things that I find myself grateful for, every week. Every time a coworker helped me with something or something positive came out in the news, it went in the book. Every day I enjoyed a picturesque view of the beach on my drive to the office, I wrote it down. Every time my boss had a helpful bit of insight or some good feedback, it made the list.
Needless to say, I found myself with way more than just two things to be thankful for every Friday morning.
This was a weekly opt-in session, but those who chose to participate really got to know each other well. I was only with the company about 5 months before they were acquired by Google (woo, stock options), but I’ve taken this habit with me everywhere I’ve been since.
So why not kick it off at your office? All you have to do is talk to your department or team lead.
Can you add it to your current weekly or biweekly department meetings? Make it an agenda item, and ask if you can test it out for a few weeks, as it may take a few tries for people to get comfortable with the practice. If you get the go-ahead, just explain it to the team (and maybe give a bit of heads-up to your work buddies who may support it).
Otherwise, start your own meeting, separate from the department check-in, and include people from every department. Ask HR or the Office Team to send an email invite, and let people come in as they please! Once you’re there in the room, explain the concept and be the example.
- Introduce the concept: This is a practice of staying mindful of all of the things in our lives, professional and personal, that we are grateful for. We’ll go in a circle – try to think of things that made work or life better this week.
- Kick it off: Use your own examples, and don’t be afraid to get creative. The CEO who started this practice would give his thanks for things ranging from new features in the software working, to being able to watch VICE News – “news on crack,” as he’d describe it.
- Give your team kudos: This is an opportunity to share your appreciation for what your team’s done. There’s no better way to set the tone for this practice than to acknowledge what someone else has done for you in that room. Someone replaced the heavy water cooler for you, or worked with you to troubleshoot a tricky problem? Thank them, even if you’ve already done it privately.
- Listen to your coworkers: Be mindful of the things that you’re thankful for, as well as what matters to your team. This is an exercise in gratitude for your wins as well as theirs.
Everyone appreciates being appreciated, so share the joy! After a few sessions, you’ll find that you, along with a lot of your coworkers, are more aware of the little joys in the day-to-day. It’s that simple to make a small but meaningful change in your company’s culture!
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