Reflections

Intentional Gratitude.

I want to be someone who exudes gratitude.

Not false positivity. No unrealistic optimism. But, gratitude.

At home, I know I have little eyes watching me and learning from what I model. At work, I know I have a team of individuals who are looking toward me to lead and are following the tone that I set. When I show up, at work and at home, I want people to see someone who has quiet contentment, peace, and appreciation for all that is good.

That is easier said than done.

Life gets so busy that sometimes we have the best intentions for how we want things to go and who we want to be but in the daily minutia we lose track. Days turn into weeks, weeks into years, and pretty soon our lives have advanced in a blur. A blur that distracts and distorts all we have to be thankful for.

So let’s slow down and be intentional about gratitude. 

While there are a number of ways you can incorporate gratitude into your work or home life, I’d like to share two very specific ways I’m incorporating appreciation and thankfulness into my days.

Gratitude at Home

Our family has recently been working on a Gratitude Pumpkin! It is the perfect season for this! This is something I have previously done but this year it is all the more important. This small pumpkin sits as the centerpiece of our kitchen table. I keep a sharpie marker nearby that we use to write things we are thankful for on the pumpkin. It turns into a growing reminder of all that is good — from music and dancing to daddy’s cooking — it covers the details of our lives that we appreciate. Also, it doubles as a really cool item of decor. 

Gratitude-Pumpkin

It helps prompt discussion about why gratitude matters. Ironically, sometimes asking about the “good stuff” prompts discussion about the “bad stuff” but in that discussion we have an opportunity to see the positives. We are able to shift our perspective together! For example, “I didn’t like when my friend was mean to me!” But then as we discuss the situation we realize that a teacher helped facilitate a resolution and therefore we can be thankful for caring teachers. There is always something to be thankful for!

Gratitude at Work

The hustle of working in a high-paced marketing and communications department can be a lot! Shifting priorities, high-profile projects and PR engagements to navigate. It can be so busy that if we do not pause to reflect then opportunities for gratitude passes by unnoticed. To combat this, I’ve implemented a weekly rhythm of an all-staff meeting focused on sharing our  “bright spots” with the team. It is part of other meeting agenda items and is something we move through succinctly but by no means do we rush through the exercise and treat it as a mindless routine. Our time together is critical for individual growth and well-being in addition to the health of our collective team.

When sharing, individuals sometimes share bright spots that are personal and sometimes professional. They are often related to major project milestones or caring colleagues. I know that it refreshes my spirit to hear others speak about all the good they have experienced. It also provides a logical opportunity for positive and public affirmation of colleagues! 

When I first began this practice with the team it admittedly felt like “forced fun” and was a bit awkward. As it became part of our structure and culture it developed into a deeper experience that has caused a paradigm shift toward seeing the sunny side — even during challenging days. I have seen personalities come through and have been afforded the opportunity to learn more about what my colleagues care about as a result of this weekly experience. The outcomes of gratitude are truly endless! 

Some of my favorite bright spots shared actually start with an expression of challenges. For example, “this week has been a really hard one with a really challenging project” (the challenge) “but, the team supported me and chipped in so that we could finish on schedule” (the bright spot). It reminds me that adversity produces growth and brings our team together. Did I mention, there is always something to be thankful for?!

How do you exude gratitude? 

I am always looking for ways to incorporate gratitude and appreciation into the framework of my days. I would love input, advice and activities that others use to make this possible! Leave a comment below with your ideas and also connect with me on Instagram to discuss!

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