Recently I have been blessed with a great new role, in a brand new industry, at an amazing company full of exceptional people with some life-changing business practices, and it is one of these practices that I would like to share.
It is a small practice that kicks off our daily stand-up of practicing gratitude, and I was wildly unprepared for the ways this small element of our daily meeting would impact my life.
Practicing gratitude is about thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, be it tangible or intangible, according to the Harvard Medical Centre.
In my own research, there are lots of ways people practice gratitude, usually by keeping a journal, an interesting one was writing one on a piece of paper every day and putting it in a jar and reading them on New Years to celebrate the year (something I am considering).
But in relation to work, it is only a few mins introduction to the daily standup, where you start with one thing you are grateful for.
There is no right or wrong answer and sometimes they are more personal and sometimes they're very simple, one morning I was thankful for Berocca after a rough night's sleep because it helped pep me up, but it has to be genuine.
It started off small, I wanted to have a genuine gratitude to discuss in the morning so I was participating and carving out my own space in the team, I’d been a wallflower in previous organisations and I didn't want to make that mistake again.
One of the immediate benefits I noticed was how quickly I build a rapport with the team, every morning as we each opened up with a gratitude I am actively listening to the things each found joy in and more often than not would find a connection with their gratitude, connections form quickly as it creates a genuine bond.
Given we are all still working remotely at this time, and only just starting to trickle back into the office, this is quite a testament to the power of how it connects even total strangers and closes that digital distance gap.
Even as I started by initially ‘preparing’ gratitude in the evening, this practice continued, but I'm not ‘preparing’ anymore, I am reflecting, reflecting on the day and what I have achieved, how I connected with my partner, the cute bursts of energy my cat has that endlessly entertain me, the food I had for lunch and what I may add to it next time to change it up.
The daily gratitude process has created a cyclical buildup of positivity that has been gradually elevating my self-worth, and as it climbs I find my gratitudes are getting deeper and increasingly personal.
2020 has been a tragic year for so many, it was also an exceptionally dark place for me, there were times I wondered if it was ever going to get better or if I would even survive it. But just a month later of twice-daily gratitudes and self-reflection has decreased my anxiety (or increased my ability to cope with anxiety, I feel there is an important distinction in there).
There have been quite a few things over the last year that I've been repressing due to the lack of personal strength in facing them, but as I feel more confident each day in the things I am grateful for these scary dark parts are getting less daunting and I'm afforded the strength to deal with them.
All of this has just come from a daily 5 min exercise of reflecting on moments I am grateful for.
This article hasn't been for some self-therapy (although therapeutic it has been), I have borne a bit of my soul here because I would love to help share the impact, and it doesn't really come across without demonstrating the benefits I have received.
I hope that after the terrible time that was 2020, this might be able to positively impact other people's lives, it may help someone build up confidence, or maybe your workplace is moving to a remote space and you want to try something to maintain a connection with your team and positively impact morale.
I won't sit here and say it's a total solution, it might not work for everyone or every team, but I can assure you that if practiced consistently and properly I’d be shocked if you saw no results at all.
I suggest giving it a go for a month, I highly recommend introducing it into your team meetings as this will amplify the effects in a shared social setting, and I would be extremely keen to hear back if it worked, what you tried, and what you did differently.
Well, I have some ideas, I would like to bring my partner along on this journey to engage on a deeper level, the glass jar idea from the beginning of the article sounds great, I thought about creating a website and tracking my daily gratitudes (so basically a tech-heads journalling).