It’s good to be hungry in business. To be forward looking, striving for the next milestone or more success.
But a side effect of this future-focused quest is the fact that we might take for granted what we have already accomplished. Sometimes, we forget what has gone into achieving the goals that we have so far, and who helped us get there.
In reality, Gratitude in business is not just desirable, but an essential requisite!
How gratitude helps our success journey
Fights discouragement – It is so easy to fall prey to disappointments. I recently spoke to a top angel investor who talked about how many promising startups collapse within the first 6 months. It made me grateful for the fact that my companies were going strong. Before, I was only focusing on the fact that we hadn’t met all our growth targets. It also helped me snap out of the huge funk of self-doubt.
Creates positive energy – a solid dose of motivation is always a winner! When you take an indepth look at all the things you need to be thankful for, the feeling is energizing. So unless you’re getting complacent, the chance of launching yourself into the next orbit is much higher this way.
Improves your People Quotient – nothing like a sincere thanks or compliment to cement relationships. With all the tech in the world, we will always work with people, and gratitude in business relationships makes things flourish in incredible ways.
As an entrepreneur (or professional), how can you overcome Gratitude Deficit this season.
Thank your people
Sending gifts and notes to your top clients is smart. But what’s even better is to acknowledge the others who might play only a small role in your work sphere. Think vendors, collaborators, support businesses, service providers – their work gets the job done for you. What about all those prospects who didn’t convert? Maybe they helped you learn something or forced you to innovate.
Then there those who spent a lot of time nurturing you as a potential client – recognizing their efforts won’t hurt you, but it will surely make their day.
Go beyond gifts and e-cards. I’m not knocking those, because material tokens do work.
But gratitude is personal, even in business!
And the more of yourself you invest in it, the more rewarding it is for the recipient. Here are a few tangible ideas to show it.
Offer a strings-free benefit – clearly, it’s not X% discount, all because you have a sales target to meet.
Make a charitable donation in their name
Write a handwritten note or email on why you value all they do.
Do a favor for nothing
Give a public endorsement, or a surprise shoutout on social media
(Go out of your way to) make a connection.
Call out the little wins with your team or co-workers
Encourage a wave of gratefulness
Gratitude is not a solo business. Whether you are a solopreneur, or run a large company, chances are that your work world includes a lot of people with frequent interactions. So while you are thanking them in different ways, make sure that you also motivate them to pay forward the kindness in different ways.
Social media is a great way to share a message that’s instantly visible to a large audience, without specifically pinning anyone down.
Our co-founder Aditi Tandon took a thought provoking stance on this. She decided that instead of the regular holiday gifts for her friends and business associates, she would use that money to support a charitable cause. She also sent out personal notes telling people how they had (indirectly) helped young orphans in need.
Not only did she forsake wasteful expenditure for a meaningful gesture, her post on Facebook about this encouraged a lot of others to follow suit.
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Appreciate your family
Most success stories (or even the ones about struggle) don’t go too far without lots of unconditional support from loved ones. It could be the big sacrifices, or small adjustments and acts of consideration. Thanking the people who empower you to pursue your dreams is a great way to acknowledge this.
Make it a point to call out all the ways they enabled, supported, even encouraged you.
“Mommy loves how you have been getting your own snack each afternoon while I’m hard at work.”
“Thank you for understanding when I couldn’t be there for you, because there were so many deadlines to meet.”
Not only will your family feel a lot better about what you do, but it will also motivate them, especially young children, to make this a habit.
So thank your partner, kids, your mother in law. The best friend whose calls you forgot to return three times in a row. Even your neighbor who did more than her share of the car pools when you couldn’t get away.
And while you’re at it, encourage your family and circle to share why they are thankful for your contribution in their lives.
Give a shout-out to YOU
Don’t forget yourself. Ultimately, it’s your grit, attitude and never-say-quit spirit that have gotten you this far. And while we count our blessings in personal life, things like good health and building a positive network of like minded people are equally important in the business arena too.
Remember all the times when you stayed up crazy hours to submit a pitch, or when you patiently answered client questions when your head was hurting. When you struggled, but were determined to learn book-keeping because the numbers were out of whack. When your mom guilt threatened to consume you and your business.
Think about each time that failure threatened to get the better of you. And you didn’t give in.
Then pat yourself for it.
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Final word – gratitude is serious business!
Let’s make it a point to appreciate ourselves and those around us, because it matters in a thousand ways.
Oprah says it beautifully.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
Here’s wishing you a season rich with blessings and filled with gratitude in business and life!
Pooja Krishna is an Entrepreneur, Business Mentor and Mom. She has worked both in large corporates and managed startups over the last 25+ years.
She’s a co-founder at Maroon Oak, and is founded Win Thinks, where she writes, speaks and teaches about Digital Media, Brand Building and Future Ready Businesses. A day trader for over a decade, Pooja launched Trading Paces to educate amateur and pro stock traders. As a classroom mentor, Pooja loves teaching students across the U.S. about job skills and entrepreneurship. Read about her on Huffington Post and Forbes.
A trivia buff and amateur artist, she’s discovering the pleasure of drawing Zentangle patterns for ‘creative mindfulness.’