Posts Tagged "gratitude’

This Thanksgiving, Who Can You Validate?

By Lynette Silva

Recognize This! – Part of the human condition is needing validation from others. The good news is we are all capable of providing that validation to others through recognition and appreciation.

Post-it note reading "express your gratitude"I’m coming off a whirlwind of events where I had the opportunity to share my passion for creating more human workplaces by helping millions of employees feel noticed, valued, and appreciated for who they are as well as for what they do. As always at these events, I learned more from the other speakers and from conversations with attendees. So here I share with you my two biggest takeaways from the events.

Lesson 1: We all need validation.

At the IQPC CHRO Exchange, one breakout session led by BraveShift was particularly innovative in that it had top HR executives sit in a circle and discuss together how we can improve trust in the workplace. I was fascinated to watch the conversation develop and build among these professionals who so very clearly care about their employees and the work experience they help to create for them. One participant shared powerful insight from a keynote delivered by Oprah at another event. To give full credit to Oprah, I’ve found a similar reference when she spoke at a Harvard University commencement:

“What we want, the common denominator that I found in every single interview, is we want to be validated. We want to be understood. I have done over 35,000 interviews in my career and as soon as that camera shuts off everyone always turns to me and inevitably in their own way asks this question “Was that okay?” I heard it from President Bush, I heard it from President Obama. I’ve heard it from heroes and from housewives. I’ve heard it from victims and perpetrators of crimes. I even heard it from Beyonce and all of her Beyonceness. She finishes performing, hands me the microphone and says, ‘Was that okay?’ Friends and family, yours, enemies, strangers in every argument in every encounter, every exchange I will tell you, they all want to know one thing: was that okay? Did you hear me? Do you see me?”

As humans, we need to know that we are seen, that we are valued, that we bring value to others. This is a universal human truth. Often in strategy sessions I lead, I’m asked, “At what level to do we exclude participation?” This is usually in reference to senior-most leaders. As the leader of my group, Derek Irvine, has often said, “The only factor determining who needs recognition is if you are human. I’ve yet to reach a point in my career where I didn’t appreciate or need recognition of my contributions.”

Lesson 2: We are all capable of giving validation to others through recognition and appreciation.

The Greater Good Science Center (based at University of California, Berkley) hosted a wonderful one-day conference on Gratitude and Well-Being at Work. (Do yourself a favor and check out their online courses and tools. I can personally vouch for their free, eight-week MOOC on the science of happiness for a deep dive into the research and outcomes of practicing gratitude and happiness.) Through multiple keynote presentations and breakout sessions, attendees dived deeply into the many aspects of bringing gratitude into the workplace and the benefits of doing so.

One thread of thought, most heavily emphasized by author Mike Robbins, was the concept that there is a difference between recognition and appreciation. From Mike’s perspective, recognition is about results while appreciation is about people. It’s a good point, but we shouldn’t lose in the nuance that both are intensely important in the workplace. We need to acknowledge and praise people for both what they do as well as who they are. And we all have the power to do so. Remember, at its essence, saying “thank you” is the same as saying, “I see you. I see what you do. You are valuable.”

During this season of gratitude, who are the people in your life – at work and at home – you can validate through your appreciation and recognition?

The Connecting Power of Gratitude

by Lynette Silva

Post-it note reading "express your gratitude"Recognize This! – We have the power to increase our own feelings of gratitude and happiness.

It’s the US season of Thanksgiving, which is my favorite holiday of the year. Give me an excuse to eat too much and then nap in the afternoon, and I’m on board! I kid. I love Thanksgiving because the point of the day is to reflect on all that you are grateful for and, if possible, express that gratitude to others.

Sure, it feels good to reflect in this way, and a good deal of research shows how gratitude gives far more than it gets.

See this study referenced in the University of California, Berkley’s Greater Good Science Center:

A team at the University of Southern California has shed light on the neural nuts and bolts of gratitude in a new study, offering insights into the complexity of this social emotion and how it relates to other cognitive processes…

The researchers found that grateful brains showed enhanced activity in two primary regions: the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). These areas have been previously associated with emotional processing, interpersonal bonding and rewarding social interactions, moral judgment, and the ability to understand the mental states of others…

In other words, gratitude isn’t merely about reward—and doesn’t just show up in the brain’s reward center. It involves morality, connecting with others, and taking their perspective.

Gratitude is a connecting emotion, a bridge between us and others that helps us understand and bond with others more deeply. Perhaps more importantly, gratitude makes us want to connect with others in a more genuine and giving way. Embracing gratitude opens us to up to a much greater, richer world of experiences with others. And that itself is indeed something to be grateful for.

And this is just one study along these lines. Darcy Jacobsen shared 10 recent gratitude studies earlier this week. These two are my favorites:

  • A 2015 study published in the International Business Research journal showed that collective gratitude is important for organizations. Among other things, said researchers, gratitude can reduce turnover intention, foster employees’ organizational commitment, lead to positive organizational outcomes, and help in “eliminating the toxic workplace emotions, attitudes and negative emotions such as envy, anger and greed in today’s highly competitive work environment.”
  • A 2014 study of Chinese workers found that gratitude has a positive impact on trust between managers and their direct reports. Gratitude, said researchers, positively influenced the relationship between subordinates’ sense of being trusted, their performance, and their satisfaction.

Ways to Practice Gratitude

Studies are all well and good, but how can we incorporate gratitude more directly into our lives? It starts with making a daily practice of it. Even pausing for a moment before going to sleep each night to think of one thing you are grateful for helps increase your own experience of gratitude.

Happiness and positivity expert Shawn Achor cites expressing gratitude daily by deliberately writing or saying thank you to express appreciation for what you have as a primary means of increasing personal well-being.

This year, use Thanksgiving as a way to kick off a new resolution – each day think of three things you are grateful for and express your appreciation and gratitude to others.

What are you grateful for?

SHRM Lessons: Feedback vs. Attention vs. Gratitude

by Lynette Silva

Refuel at Globoforce Booth at SHRMRecognize This! — There’s much difference between feedback, attention and gratitude. All are real needs, but serving different goals.

In surprising news to no one, this week is the SHRM 2015 conference in Las Vegas. In fact, RecognizeThis! founder Derek Irvine (and VP of Client Strategy & Consulting for Globoforce) is speaking there today at 11:30 (for those at SHRM, it’s Mega Session: The Power of “Thanks”: Bringing Workplace Gratitude to the Next Level; Westgate Pavilion 2).

Even though I’m not at SHRM, I’m assiduously following the tweets, blog posts and other reports flowing out of the show. I love this additional insight into some of my favorite bloggers and what they take away as key lessons from such an event. Take, for example, Tim Sackett’s post yesterday – We All Just Want Attention – reporting on Marcus Buckingham’s keynote session. As Tim said:

“The big bomb he dropped on the SHRMies this session was the money-shot quote of the conference: Millennials don’t want feedback! … Those organizations with high engagement are not the ones who are giving more feedback. They are the ones who are paying more attention to their employees.  Yes, there is a difference…

“In reality, Marcus told us the truth.  Millennials, and the rest of us, don’t want feedback, we all want attention. Pay attention to us!  Stop by frequently and see how we are doing, give us some insight to our near future, help us get our jobs done.  But, please, don’t give us feedback on what we are doing wrong!”

I couldn’t agree more. We’ve written about this point of view several times here. It’s one of the topics that drives me a bit batty, actually, when talking about “Millennials at work.” Millennials are just like every other “new to the workplace” generation before them. They cry out for acknowledgement, coaching, insight and development. It’s more “Is this what you wanted to see? Is the work I do valuable? How am I contributing to achieving bigger goals?” and less “give me a gold star.”

But this is necessarily a balancing act. Not all work done by anyone, much less by those new to the field or company, is good all time. Sometimes constructive feedback is necessary. Tim puts it this way:

“Some employees need to be managed to get the most out of them.  They need to be held accountable. I do think there is a balance that we can get to when it comes to paying attention to our employees, like they want, and being able to ‘manage’ them like the business needs.”

It’s that balancing act we’ve got to do better. We’ve let the pendulum swing too far (for too long) to annual performance reviews (or quarterly) that remain too focused on the constructive discussion for acts done too far in the past to be useful to the listener. We must become better at real-time attention and, yes, gratitude and appreciation from multiple sources. We must enable and encourage everyone to assume responsibility for picking our heads up out of our own work and appreciating the work of those around us – even if those excellent efforts demonstrated or achieved by others had no direct bearing on us.

If you’re at SHRM, be sure to check out Derek’s session to learn more about the attention/appreciation/gratitude side of the need for feedback.

Do you get the attention you need at work?

Why Applying Important Life Skills at Work Matters

by Derek Irvine

Say ThanksRecognize This! – Expressing your appreciation to others is a skill and muscle that requires practice and exercise, in all avenues of life.

I’ve many sources for inspiration for this blog, but one that has rapidly become a favorite is LinkedIn. LinkedIn has become a powerful resource for far more than recruiting leads. The amount of knowledge, insight and wisdom shared by people from across industries, jobs, roles, and functions is simply astounding. Today, I’d like to share such insight and wisdom from two influencers who happened to appear in the same notification email earlier this week.

The “Why” of Appreciation

First, from Suzy Welch, co-author of The Real Life MBA with her husband Jack Welch, is “Three (Unprofessional) Ways to Get Ahead at Work.” I particularly enjoyed her positioning as it highlights how basic life skills (read more, express thanks, volunteer) are powerfully important in both our personal and work lives, lending to the idea of work-life blending. Speaking to the importance of writing thank you notes, Ms. Welch says:

“The best manager I’ve ever known used to keep a small piece of paper taped to her desk. “Gratitude,” it read. And gratitude she did indeed display, to each member of the team, with an authenticity and warmth that inspired nothing short of devotion from us all. But one weekend, I found out that my manager’s generosity of spirit was not a work thing. It was a life thing. Through a series of unexpected events, I ended up giving her a ride to a funeral of mutual acquaintance. Her car was in the shop; another ride fell through. I offered to help, she accepted, and when I dropped her off afterward, that was really the last I thought of it.

“The next morning, though, my inbox contained a beautiful thank you note. It didn’t sound all that different from her work missives, actually. And that’s when I realized that saying thank you all the time is a discipline. It’s a practice, and a personality trait. It’s a heart thing. Do it in your off hours, and chances are, you’ll keep it going when you walk into the office. The upshot? A reputation as someone who understands that nothing good ever happens alone. Or put another way, the reputation of a natural leader.”

Expressing gratitude – sharing your appreciation for the efforts, contributions and successes of others – is a muscle that must be exercised. It really is exercising your heart.

Do you need ideas on how to increase your capacity for gratitude and appreciation. Shawn Achor (author of The Happiness Advantage) has six daily exercises (all taking less than 3 minutes) to help.

Inspiration for Appreciation

Are you not quite convinced on the importance of the Power of Thanks? Jeff Haden shared “40 Inspiring Quotes on Feeling Grateful.” Below are my favorite five.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William Arthur Ward

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” G.K. Chesterton

“Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.” Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

“The way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.” Charles Schwab

“The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” William James

What “life skills” do you find important to achieving success in the workplace, too?

3 Lessons on the Power of Thanks on Vacation

by Lynette Silva

Greetings from Cleveland OHRecognize This! – Appreciation and gratitude for others are powerful forces that are always at work, if we choose to notice them.

Last week I enjoyed my first “real” vacation in many years. Learning from the experts I’ve been studying in preparation for WorkHuman next month, I fully disconnected and focused on relaxing and refreshing my mind, body and spirit. It was wonderful!

However, I can’t just switch off my Power of Thanks gene. Once the Power of Thanks gets into how you process your interactions with the people around you every day, everywhere, it becomes second nature to notice great acts of appreciation and joy among others.

So, from my vacation, three object lessons on the power of appreciation I observed in others.

Phillies Baseball – “Jump Around”

My husband, Paul, is a huge baseball fan. We try to take in a baseball game wherever we happen to be on vacation. So, catching a Phillies game while in Philadelphia was a must. Between innings, snippets of popular, fan-energizing music would play. Halfway through the eighth inning, when energy began to flag, the classic “Jump Around” started to play. The usher, a gentleman in his 60s standing at the bottom of the aisle on the railing separating the fans from the field, began to dance and jump around. (I’d share the video, but I don’t have permission from the usher.) Clearly, he enjoys his work and engages with it more deeply than required. And clearly, the fans enjoy him! Technically, his role is to enforce the rules of the ballpark. And still the fans gave him a standing ovation for his dance skills.

The Lesson: When you love your work, it shows. And when it shows, people appreciate you and your efforts all the more.

Cleveland Museum of Art – “Teamwork”

On the recommendation of Brenda Pohlman, fellow blogger here on RecognizeThis!), Paul and I visited the truly outstanding art museum in Cleveland. (And no snide remarks about choosing Cleveland as a vacation destination – it’s a great city and we had a fabulous time!) The museum is huge and, despite spending five hours there, we still didn’t see it all. We needed a snack break halfway through our visit and so visited the museum café. While checking out, the cashier stopped in the middle of ringing up our items to call out to a coworker walking by, saying, “Hey, Todd! You’re the best person here to work with. You make the day more fun and the work easy.” To which Todd replied, “Teamwork makes the dream work! You let me know if you need anything!”

The Lesson: We all have capacity to make work better for those we work with every day. Our attitude and our approach is our own choice. Let’s choose to make work human.

Hotel Room TV – “The Profit”

Every vacation needs a little mindless TV watching in the hotel, right? Unwinding one night, we caught an episode of “The Profit” on CNBC. In this show, Marcus Lemonis invests in struggling businesses, giving both money and his time and expertise to turn it around. In this “Progress Report” episode (click here to watch, then skip ahead to 19:37), Marcus is visiting businesses he’s already invested in to see how they’re doing. One such business was Unique Salon & Spa in Long Island, NY. Though the spa is doing very well now, I was most touched by what Marcus had to say to spa owner Carolyn, telling her explicitly how impressed he is by her work ethic, commitment and dedication. Carolyn visibly tears up, moved by the appreciation that, as the owner and boss, she likely doesn’t often hear.

The Lesson: We never get promoted to a level where we no longer need to hear “thank you.” Even “the boss” needs to hear “I notice and appreciate what you do.”

Where do you see the power of thanks happening around you? How can you contribute to a greater experience of appreciation for others?

5 Reasons Surprise Matters (and how to embrace it)

by Lynette Silva

Cover of Book "Surprise"Recognize This! – Surprises happens. Our connections with others help us better enjoy the good surprises and weather the bad ones.

I love my job. I know I’m lucky I get to say that. Why do I love my job? Lots of reasons, but at the top of the list is the people I get to work with every day – both my colleagues at Globoforce and the customers who enrich every project I’m involved in. It’s those intimate connections with people and what we learn, do and achieve together that make work fun.

That’s why I’m excited about the upcoming WorkHuman conference. (June 8-10, in Orlando, FL. Register here and use code DIBLOG100for a $100 discount.) The entire event is all about how we can all love our work when we learn to appreciate and respect each other in positive ways to build deeper and stronger connections. I’m honored to lead one of the panel discussions: “Unexpected Innovations: Changing How We Think about a Human Workplace.” The panel will showcase four of the speakers/authors, giving us a chance to unpack in more detail their thoughts around important concepts in a WorkHuman workplace – Surprise/Happiness; Romance/Meaning; Play/Productivity; and Failure/Risk-Taking. (Check out more information on many of these sessions in this post: 8 Upcoming Talks You’d Be Crazy to Miss. Seriously.)

As I prepare for the session, I’m absorbing their books. There is so much wisdom and insight I’d like to share with you. So for the next four weeks, I’ll be sharing a book review from each author. First up, Surprise: Embrace the Unpredictable and Engineer the Unexpected by Tania Luna and Leann Renninger, PhD. I greatly enjoyed this book and took away many personal life learnings.

1) Embracing Surprise Is Important – Surprise is, in a way, all about giving up control. About allowing yourself to be in a place where you can be surprised and to experience wonder. Our world today is nothing but surprise – constant change and the surprise it brings us. That’s why learning how to use surprise to our advantage is so powerful.

“It’s training in the skills that separate people and organizations that thrive in this new world from the ones that can’t stomach the volatility… They are the skills that turn our work and our lives into meaningful adventures.”

2) Surprise Requires Connection — Surprise must be a shared experience. When surprising things happen to us, we naturally want to share with others, building deeper connections.

“Keeping an emotionally and cognitively intense experience to ourselves isn’t just difficult; it can lead to physical illness.”

3) Trust, Stability and Vulnerability Are Critical for Embracing Surprise – Recognition and appreciation play a key role in building trust, which is necessary for us to give up control and accept the unpredictable. Stable connections in the workplace keep us focused on what matters most. Vulnerability does not mean weakness, but openness.

  • “Trust is a psychological safety net that allows us to let go.”
  • “Setting stable ground builds resilience and makes even the worst surprises bearable. Social support is particularly effective at creating stability… Stable and supportive people can also help us gain clarity and just plain remind us that we matter.”
  • “We cannot connect unless we leave ourselves open to the unpredictable delights and disappointments, joys and sorrows of relationships.”

4) Adapting to and Using Surprise to Our Advantage Requires Improvisation – People most adept with surprise “accept that surprises will happen without trying to avoid or predict them.” Improvisation is a terrific way to build this skill because it requires two things in particular – focusing on others and staying in the moment.

“Improv performers agreed that the most important rule in improv is listening to your scene partners rather than thinking about yourself… The same advice applies offstage. In times of uncertainty, turning our attention to others allows us to move more swiftly and make better choices. It also allows us to help others look good, which builds trust and community… The most exciting performers trust that they’ll find themselves someplace better than they imagined, which is precisely how they get there. To improvise, we have to stay with the moment we’re in instead of chasing a moment we want.”

5) Practicing Gratitude Gives Us More Reasons to Be Grateful – I suggest taking the advice in the book one step further. Yes, reflect every day on what you’re grateful for. But then make the extra effort to express your gratitude through recognition by telling the target of your gratitude why and how they’ve given you a reason to be grateful.

“One of the best predictors of life satisfaction is how much gratitude we feel on a regular basis. More gratitude = more joy…. When we get what we expect (even if it’s wonderful), we feel nothing. No surprise = no gratitude. Actively practicing gratitude is the only way to flip on the switch voluntarily instead of sitting around and waiting for gratitude-inspiring surprises to happen.”

Stay tuned next week for wisdom from Tim Lebrecht and his book, The Business Romantic.

How do you handle surprise? Is it something you seek out or try to avoid?

The Power of Thanks Is in Us All, if We’re Willing to Share It

by Lynette Silva

Post-it Note reading "Express Your Gratitude"Recognize This! – Simply expressing appreciation and gratitude to others can change perspectives for the better.

I benefit from my job in the same ways most people do. I earn a paycheck that pays for a roof over my head and food in my belly. But because my company is focused on creating cultures of recognition and appreciation through the Power of Thanks, I also benefit from both being encouraged to share my gratitude for my peers and their work in a direct and meaningful way as well as receiving similar recognition myself.

And then there’s a third benefit of the work I get to do. Call it a side-effect, if you will. I’ve noticed that being immersed in a culture of recognition has turned me into a far more appreciative person in all aspects of my life, at work and at home. It’s impossible to train yourself to pick up your head out of your own little world to notice the efforts and contributions of others at work and then not do the same at home, too. Often, without realizing it, I’m far more complimentary of the people I interact with as I go about life – grocery store cashiers and personal friends, gas station attendants and family members – who they are doesn’t matter so much as the humanity they represent. We are all built needing to hear praise and appreciation from others. I’m just glad I’ve learned skills to do that better.

But let me be clear. Really valuable recognition (from the perspective of the recipient) isn’t a casually tossed off, “Hey, thanks! You do great work. I appreciate it.” No, really valuable recognition takes into account what you know about the other person, their circumstances and the unique value or difference they bring to the scenario.

I’ve started to keep my eyes peeled for when I see this kind of recognition occur. One new outlet I particularly like that highlights these kinds of stories is the Huffington Post Gratitude page. Filled with stories from around the world and various scenarios, it’s impossible to leave this page not feeling uplifted about our capacity to lift each other up through gratitude, appreciation and thanks.

One such story recently appeared, sharing the appreciation of a flight passenger to her pilots. The text of her message is below:

Dear pilots of the plane taking me home,

In light of the very recent tragedy in the French Alps and the loss of those poor 150 people, I feel the need to reach out to you and extend a compassionate hand. At the end of the day, we are all humans just trying to live this rollercoaster of a life we have been handed. I understand an event so horrific as this one affects those with your responsibility more than others, and maybe sometimes a kind word, random but heartfelt, can make a difference. I’m hoping to create a ripple effect and spread some compassion and understanding.

Thank you for taking me home. Thank you for doing so safely. Thank you for allowing me to live the life I do in Spain and split my time with my family in England too. You make the excitement I feel now to see my family possible. I hope you get to see your families soon. I’ve had a wonderful flight and hope you have too.

You’re making a massive difference and you’re the reason I can smile tonight.

Take care and spread love. Kindest regards, Bethanie.

“We are all humans just trying to live this rollercoaster of a life we have been handed.” So true, but I do believe we can smooth out that wild ride when we put a little effort into noticing and valuing the people around us. It’s that human connection that matters most, facilitated through the simple act of saying “thanks.”

What’s a powerful message of gratitude or thanks you’ve heard recently?

3 Things I’m Grateful For at Work

by Lynette Silva

Post-it note reading "express your gratitude"Recognize This! – You can’t gain the benefits of gratitude unless you are willing to be more grateful in the first place.

I am thrilled with the availability of our newest book, The Power of Thanks. It’s a tremendous tool for anyone looking to change their work cultures for the better. Whether you’re of a more philosophical bent or a “show me the data” type, you can glean valuable insight and information from the book.

Fundamentally, The Power of Thanks is a practical tool. There are elements you can excerpt to share with a broad audience, checklists to determine if you’re ready for social recognition, and mythbusters to help set you up for success.

If you’re the type that prefers to skip to the last chapter in a good murder mystery, then I encourage you to read Chapter 7 if nothing else. This chapter, “Building a Social Recognition Framework,” is the blueprint of market practices proven to create deeply influential cultures of appreciation in any organization.

One way I know the book is already having an impact is the excerpts I see popping up in various media, like this article on “14 Powerfully Beneficial Effects of Gratitude” in Inc. magazine.

Reading that article got me thinking again about the things I’m grateful for and the impact of that on my life. The one important point about gratitude is you can’t gain the benefits unless you are willing to be more grateful in the first place.

So, what am I grateful for? The list is long and varied, but for this post, I’ll keep it more work focused. Here are my top 3 things I’m grateful for at work.

  1. The opportunity to do good work with great people every day. Not enough people get to work on worthwhile projects with people they genuinely enjoy. I’m lucky, and I know it. Deep relationships with our co-workers are a key driver of happiness, and it’s safe to say I’m a pretty happy person.
  2. The knowledge that what I do matters. I help people around the world feel more appreciated and valued for the work they do, creating happier and more engaged workforces. The benefits accrete endlessly from there.
  3. The ability to take my work home with me. Sure, like most “knowledge workers” in today’s workforce, I check email and work from home on occasion, but that’s not what I mean here. I literally take my work home with me – I am a much more appreciative person now than I was seven years ago. I notice others more and am far more inclined to express my “thanks” in heartfelt ways.

Are you grateful person? What are you grateful for?

Conquer the World with Appreciation! Who’s with Me?

by Lynette Silva

Climbers on Mt Everest's summitRecognize This! – Through recognition and gratitude, we have the opportunity every day to change how we and others experience the world.

Last week was our annual kickoff meeting, which we call Ignite. Every year, I leave the meeting with one compelling, driving thought: “Conquer the world!” I’m not exaggerating. I get fully re-energized by our leadership, my colleagues, and our customers to do everything I can to advance our mission to move our industry forward by striving to become leaders in thought, innovation and global capability.

Why am I so motivated? What’s pushing me personally? Am I just drinking too much of the company Kool-aid?

I don’t think so. I am fired up by what we do, by what we offer to the world. It’s the opportunity to help other organizations and their employees feel as appreciated and valued for their work as I do. So I’m poised and ready to help conquer the world… but I quibble with the right preposition that comes next. Should it be “conquer the world for recognition” or “…with appreciation” or “…through gratitude?”

A minor nuance, sure, but important nevertheless.

  • For recognition implies the end goal – where are we seeking to be when we’re done. To use a mountain climbing analogy, this would be us summiting Mt. Everest.
  • With appreciation references the tools we will use to achieve our goal. In our Everest analogy, this would be camping and climbing gear we need to even attempt the summit.
  • Through gratitude relates to the people we need to rely on to get to top. No one summits Everest alone.

So in the end, all of the prepositional phrases apply. Now that I see it spelled out, my desire to conquer the world for recognition, with appreciation and through gratitude is an example of my own exponential engagement, which is defined as having the right tools to get the job done, a great relationship with the team members needed to do the job, and deep belief in the greater mission and purpose of the work such that I am willing to go the extra mile.

Who’s with me? Are you ready to conquer the world and change how we perceive ourselves, our colleagues and our work? Will you take the first steps by sharing your appreciation and gratitude with the people you are with every day?

What fires you up?

Have a Plan for an Appreciative and Grateful 2015

by Derek Irvine

Chalkboard depiction of complex planRecognize This! – Recognition and gratitude don’t often happen by accident. A clear plan for being more appreciative leads to greater sustained engagement and personal commitment.

My colleague Brenda Pohlman shared a lovely post on Friday about her New Year’s Eve tradition with her husband. At the end of each year, they share their “top 10 best days of the year” with each other. The exercise causes them to focus on what went well throughout the year, concentrating their gratitude and appreciation for these days and the people in them.

What particularly touched me about her post, however, was how it evolved from an initial and impromptu question of “What was your best day of the year?” to each living more thoughtfully throughout the year to notice and catalogue those best days. That intentionality shows planning, foresight and proactivity to anticipate and engender best days.

As we enter 2015, that started me thinking about how we can and should show intentionality in appreciation and gratitude in the coming year. That requires a plan.

Here’s the outline of my plan for recognition and gratitude in 2015.

1) Pay attention

The first step in any effort to increase recognition (an outward expression of appreciation of others) and gratitude (an inward acknowledgment of my own appreciation of the goodwill from others in my own life) must be the simple act of paying better attention to occasions worthy of recognition and gratitude.

2) Intentionally acknowledge

Daily life is quite busy and full of myriad distractions. It’s easy to become consumed with an attitude of “get it done.” Far more important to personal well-being and sustained engagement and commitment is to intentionally pause, notice and appreciate the good work and effort of those around us.

3) Review and track

Being timely in giving recognition and expressing gratitude is critical to our happiness in the moment throughout the year. The ability to holistically review and track those individual moments at the end of the year gives us a greater sense of fulfillment, achievement and accomplishment in conjunction with a community of others important to us.

A social recognition system provides the mechanism necessary to make it easy to pay attention, intentionally acknowledge, and review and track recognition and gratitude throughout the year and in a comprehensive manner. Simply having a system in place removes the barriers to recognition for everyone, making it possible to create a culture of recognition and gratitude in which appreciation flows naturally.

What’s your plan for being more intentional in your expression and experience of appreciation and recognition in 2015?