We’ve all been taught that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by colonists who were grateful for their survival and the harvest. The more historically minded among us know that this story isn’t 100% accurate, and that the first colonists certainly weren’t eating pumpkin pie and stuffing. But still, once a year we gather around a table and think about what we’re thankful for. Psychologists have shown over and over again that being grateful makes people happier.
There’s new research that also shows that business owners and bosses who show their appreciation have more successful businesses. As someone who works with hundreds of companies and organizations a year, I’m convinced that this is true. I see the way that business owners and bosses speak with and treat employees, vendors and customers, and those who approach their work with an element of gratitude are definitely more successful. Employees who feel valued work harder and are happier in their work. Customers and vendors who feel appreciated are more loyal and more willing to forgive issues and mistakes. Busy business owners who show appreciation for the patience of their families have happier home lives.
You can easily find articles on how to show appreciation for your spouse, customers or vendors. Sales, bonuses, simply writing “thank you” on receipts or sending thank you notes can help people feel that you are grateful for their work or business. Saying thank you to your family members is always appreciated. But to truly reap the benefits of gratitude, you need to actually feel it. Cultivating your feelings of gratitude may sound a little “out there” to someone who lives on spreadsheets and data, but it’s a fairly simple practice with the right guidance.
A couple years ago a friend shared this resource on gratitude and happiness. It helped me develop a much deeper sense of gratitude for everything in my life and I’m much happier as a result. So is my staff and other people I interact with, and my business success has increased as a direct result. Here are some basic examples of how I implement gratitude in my life.
Write Thank You Notes
You don’t have to send a thank you note to every client or every employee, but consider sitting down once a month to write a thank you note to someone that truly helps your business. If this were just about “showing” appreciation, you could outsource this task to your HR or Marketing Department. But, writing the note actually helps you feel grateful.
Keep a List
If you already keep a journal or diary, consider adding something that you’re thankful for when you write in your journal. If you’re not much of a diarist, just keep a piece of paper on your desk. When you think of something that you’re grateful for, write it down. Having a visible reminder of things you appreciate will help you feel that appreciation.
Think About Gratitude
Whether you call it prayer, meditation, or just thinking, spending a little time every day or every week quietly reflecting on things for which you’re grateful can help you feel more grateful.
Say Thank You
Although the goal is to focus on feeling gratitude, don’t forget to also express your gratitude. Whether it’s an in-the-moment “thanks,” or a planned speech, giving voice to your gratitude helps others feel better, and helps you feel more grateful.
Gratitude doesn’t replace a good business plan or an excellent marketing campaign, but it does help you run a happier, more successful business.
At The Kaplan Group we are thankful for our clients, vendors, and employees. If we haven’t shown you that lately, let us know.