Career Growth, Personal Development, Professional Development

Gratitude. Give it a Shot.

Every month, the ActiveCampaign Sales Team has a monthly recap meeting. Our VP of Sales typically stops the meeting at one point, and asks everyone to acknowledge someone on the team for a “Moment of Gratitude.” This tradition was started by his former boss Mike Wolff. This simple act forces the entire sales team to think about someone else inside of ActiveCampaign they are grateful for, and let them know it

What are you grateful for in your workplace? Pause. Deep breath. What are you really grateful for? The real question (in my opinion) is not if there are things you are grateful for, but does your attitude and demeanor reflect gratefulness? If I ask you to give a simple yet honest yes or no, can you say that you express gratitude on a regular basis?

Personally I feel like I do, but as I’m pounding away at the keyboard, a moment of doubt appears. Generally, I would say I’m a very grateful person, but the doubt comes from here: do the people around me see me as a grateful person? That, I am not always sure of.

Let’s be honest, true gratitude can be difficult! It forces you to leave your ego at the door. True gratitude takes away from self, and forces you to focus on someone or something other than yourself. When I really think about it, it is easy to come up with a bunch of simple things I’m grateful for, but does a true attitude of gratefulness go beyond a quick surface level list that is generated in a moment? I think it does.

My List of Gratitude

In order to help me go beyond the surface, I created a list of things I’m truly grateful for at ActiveCampaign. These are more thoughtful than the simple things, like catered lunches five days a week, beer on tap, and a game room (those are all really great too!):

  1. A strong Mentor: When I started in sales, and then sales management, there was a lot of figuring it out on my own because I was the only leader on our sales team. Nowadays, I have our VP of Sales Adam Johnson to go to for advice. His mentorship has helped develop my career tremendously in less than a year of having him as my boss. I really look forward to continue learning from him. He has helped me understand my weaknesses in sales (usually process related), and also is a great resource to gain wisdom about leadership.
  2. Peers: As mentioned above, for a long time it was just me in management. Now, we have an amazing team of Sales Managers that know SO much more than I do about a lot of topics. You better believe I am constantly taking notes from them on how to improve sales processes, management skills, and watching how they lead their teams. Going from the only manager to one of many has been a fantastic journey. Similar to the influence of Adam Johnson, my peers have helped me improve my skill set so much because of the individual skill set they each bring to our team.
  3. Constant Change: Change can hurt, and it’s often uncomfortable. However, if you can embrace change, it will make you stronger than ever. When I started with ActiveCampaign in 2012, we were a team of nine; during the first three years, we grew from nine to 15. In the past three years, we’ve gone from 15, to more than 275, company-wide. We’ve had four new offices, and built a sales team from two reps to 70 (and most of that in less than eight months). We added a VP of sales, many sales managers, and have made more process changes than I can count. It’s great! There has been so much positive improvement, personal, and professional development that I can only sit back in awe at how amazing it’s all been. We are truly better because of the changes that have been made on a weekly basis. Yes, there have been a times when the change has been really uncomfortable, but it’s always worked out for the best. It is easy to get stuck in a rut where change is limited and life is good. However, career progress is often halted in the ruts of comfort.
  4. Family: I have been blessed to build a family of co-workers. People that I know have my back no matter what. Peers that will pat me on my back when needed, and also put me in my place when needed. People I can go to when I just need to vent, but also that I can be there for when they need someone to hand them tissues. Without a doubt, I cherish the sense of family I have been able to build. It is part of the reason I genuinely like coming to work every day. For these people, I am 100% grateful.

Build Your Own List

My hope is that as you read through my list, you sensed authenticy. These are not simple items to generate blog content, but sincere items of gratitude. So what are you grateful for? If you can, build a list focused on your job.

Maybe you hate your job and you don’t feel comfortable making a list focused on that area of your life. No problem. Here is my advice to get started on an alternative:

  1. Quit your job: It’s really not worth it. Been there, done that. You are likely at work more of your waking hours at work than you are at home. It needs to be a place you find satisfying. I’m not saying quite today, but start your exit plan.
  2. Find an area of your life that makes you happy and brings you joy. Below are a some ideas:
    1. Family
    2. Friends
    3. Church (or other religious affiliation)
    4. Charity Work

Start your list with something that genuinely makes you happy. Then try to expand into other areas. If you check out my first blog this year, my goal for 2018 is to become the best version of myself, both personally and professionally. Making sure my attitude is positive, and that I know I am positively impacting those around me with my demeanor, is a huge step because it’s helping me achieve my personal development goals.

Express Your Gratitude

If we return to the point made earlier in this post, I asked if those around me sense the gratitude I have. There is definitely room for improvement, but I am firm believer that expressing gratitude publically is essential for people seeing the attitude you have.

Here are a few ways I use to show individuals I am grateful for them:

  1. Starbucks Gift Cards: I love using these. All the time in my business, others help me out. When they do, I will often send a $5 gift card their way. It’s nothing super fancy, but it at least acknowledges how they are helping me out.
  2. Send a Text: Our words carry power. Shooting someone a quick message and giving them a heartfelt message about what they mean and how you appreciate them is a great way to share gratitude.
  3. Tell Them in Person: WHAT? Have a face to face conversation in 2018? Yes. Take time out of your day, and actually tell someone how they matter to you. If they recently did something that meant a lot to you or helped you out, share. Give real examples.

Gratitude is essential for personal and professional satisfaction. The attitude you carry with you day-to-day will without a doubt affect all aspects of your life. So, as I focus on becoming the best version of me, I choose gratitude.

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