8 Business-Related Things to Be Grateful For

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Let’s consider this: there are a lot of things about people’s professional lives that become the butt of the most popular professional memes. “Happy” hours were invented between the hours of 4-6pm because it’s the hour in which business professionals leave their work BS at the office and drown it out with booze priced so that professionals can afford twice as much in one sitting (Okay, I made that up, but it fits, right?) And coworkers usually bond over all the things they have to complain about. For some reason, it’s become mainstream to complain about your job or hate your job, even if you love it. (This makes no sense to me.) 

It seems my brain was shaken-up a bit by last night’s earthquake, because as I’m writing emails today, I seem to be more intensely focused and grateful than usual. So I decided to share some of the more “grateful” thoughts we should be having throughout our work day. It’s a step in the right direction of becoming one of those “other people” – you know, the ones who love their job more than they love anything else, those people who don’t seem to tire after long days, those people that help advance and hold the company together – those people who are the reason the people who like to complain... still have jobs to complain about.

1.     When someone replies to an email or call. I work in sales-related function. I’m responsible for proposals and strategies – those things that actually sell our business. So one of those most incredibly frustrating things to me is when I spend half-a-day considering business needs, researching your company, thinking creatively and pulling together something I’m proud of – and I don’t receive a single response. No response to an email, no response to a phone call, no responses to several follow-ups. It’s so frustrating, that it makes me incredibly grateful to those that DO respond – despite how full it makes my inbox, despite whether I get the answer that I am looking for. I find myself leaving positive and personal notes of thanks each time someone answers an email – even if they have no answer for me. And I feel myself assuring I give the same level of respect to those who take the time to reach out to me – even if I cannot help them, or am not interested in the services they can provide. Be grateful for those who take the time out of their day to reply to you, despite how long it took, despite if it’s not the answer you are looking for, despite if it’s just ANOTHER email you have to look at.

2.     When someone picks up the phone to call you. I hate unsolicited calls more than most people. I’m a fan of focused-work, so anything that provides a disruption to my ability to focus (like taking a sales call) annoys me and gives me something to get frustrated about. But you can easily shift your thinking to be grateful for two great reasons! A. It’s one less email to read and reply to, and spoken word is more efficient from a time perspective, than typing. B. You have an opportunity to use spoken word to inflict personality, where-as in email – you often cannot give tone or context – two things that ultimately can help establish meaningful relationships and sales.

3.     Last minute requests.  A client did this to me earlier this week by giving me little heads-up on a need and making the request last minute. Typically, I am uber-protective of my timelines and try not to set precedents of being able to accommodate last minute requests, because in client-relations, setting this precedent can make it seem “okay” for all cases in the future. This is normal across most workers; so if you are looking for something to be grateful for – be grateful for an opportunity to exceed the normal expectations. To be “not a normal worker” for a day! It’s okay to say no sometimes to last minute requests, but be grateful for the opportunity to say “yes”. PS. You can also do this tactfully in a way that will later help you extricate your own “favor” back from said client.  

4.     Being so busy that your cell phone is at 85% by 5pm. Being busy can be tiring and draining – I know I get to the point where being so busy and nonstop can start to reduce the quality of my work and focus, and the inability to do those things (like grab a workout or a coffee) that I need to recharge. At the end of the spectrum - I’ve also experienced being not-busy, and that comes with it’s own faults too. It’s hard to stay engaged and feel productive if there isn’t enough “work” or projects to fill a day’s needs. There’s no fun in watching the clock. But what’s worse about “not” being busy – is that it can affect your bottom line like sales and profits negatively. Whereas being busy – helps grown the company, sales and profits and allows corporations the ability to “reduce” the strain that more frequent work can put on employees by doing things like hiring more people. So be grateful for those times you are busy – and push your capacity for it. While I’m a huge proponent that there is a breaking point for everyone, being grateful can help assure you get there a lot slower.

5.     Your coworkers. It’s rare that I ever feel less than grateful for my coworkers, but just in case you need a reminder….. without them, things would probably be a lot harder! And even with the most difficult of coworkers there can something to be grateful about – do your best to find it and it can make your worklife a lot easier.

6.     Recognition. I find that many of us are really quick to write-off being grateful for recognition – often because we are seeking it or feel like it’s something that we deserve. While it’s true that high-performing companies actually dole out recognition faster than free cake, it’s important to be grateful for it, even if it’s common. Someone still took the opportunity to go out of their way to issue recognition to you on an achievement – and many positions and workers can sometimes never experience that.

7.     Processes & Deadlines. Rules aren’t made to be broken! (Sometimes.) Often, they are in place for a reason. I’ve worked for two smaller but growing organizations – I’ve seen the amount of good that can come from processes and deadlines and trying to structure something that would otherwise be a free-for-all of mass chaos. The rules may suck sometimes, but be grateful for the fact that they even exist to make things easier and less stressful for all.

8.     Snafus and mistakes. It can be easy to beat yourself up for mistakes – and to beat your coworkers up for mistakes, but without mistakes it’s hard to establish opportunities for improvement – and growth is always something to be grateful for. Whether you made a mistakes, your coworkers have, or your company has as a whole, it’s something to be grateful for – never mind, that making mistakes is part of what makes us human, and there is better feeling than feeling like you are surrounded by other imperfect humans (at least for me!)