By Jeff Pitta
Showing appreciation and gratitude are key factors not only in my personal life, but my professional life as well. I know that sharing a genuine appreciation for others is good for the financial growth of my companies, but I have to confess that what I know and what I practice in my daily routine don't always line up. It's not that I forget to line up my heart with my mind -- sometimes work and deadlines get in the way. Why is expressing gratitude so hard? Maybe the question should be, why is finding time to express gratitude so hard?
Syncing Up Your Heart and Mind
I don't think of myself as uncaring, nor do I think of myself as a heartless, headstrong, high achiever. I do believe that my heart is in the right place, and that I know the right thing to do is to thank those responsible for getting me where I am today. But the truth is that part of the way I'm wired is to want more: I want more to show that my ideas and my vision are actually working.
In the back of my mind, I hear: "Keep going, don't stop. Don't slow down." Some may interpret this strong drive as selfish or even a bit arrogant. For those closest to me, it may seem like a constant whirlwind of activities. This whirlwind is no excuse for not taking out time to thank those that need to hear it the most. My family and team members don't hear kind words from me enough. I know I need to find appropriate ways of syncing up my heart and mind.
Getting Gratitude On My Radar
I recently experienced an extra tough week both at home and at work. I got sick, as did my wife and kids. I was trying to work from home and be a good dad and husband too. While trying to recover at home, I got word from the office that a couple of my projects hit a major detour. This year depended on these projects getting green lights for a clean take-off and safe landing. It felt like my home and work life were crumbling right around me, and I honestly wasn't thinking about gratitude. I was somewhere else.
Focusing On the Positive
As that recent week came to a close, I found myself headed to the park to get my kids out of the house. And quite frankly, it felt like work at first -- getting the kids dressed, packing a picnic, loading up the car seats, fueling up the family hauler, listening to the kids fight over something silly. And then the dense fog of oppression began to lift: Somewhere down the trail, watching and playing with my kids, I began to really focus on what mattered most. My kids aren't old enough to understand my stress. They weren't even born when I was dreaming of being in a place like this.
I began to reflect on my current challenges and realized that my state of affairs were only pipe dreams a few short years before. I was so focused on recent detours in my business life that I had almost forgotten what it felt like in the early days of my career. If I had a lead to follow up with, I was a happy camper. When you start with nothing, it's easy to be grateful for the small things.
Now, look at me, complaining about hiccups in the plans that I could never have dreamed of even getting close to a few years ago. Back in the office, I set about getting some end-of-season matters wrapped up. One thing became very clear: I needed to share how much I appreciated everyone's efforts. If I focus on the positive things and express gratitude, we will continue to produce positive results.
How to Express Gratitude
I've found that the best way to express gratitude is not all at once, but in small bursts throughout the work day. It's the little things that your friends, family, and employees can really appreciate. Now, when I'm walking from my office to the conference room, I'll make sure to stop and congratulate employees who've done great work. That little extra effort brings smiles to the work environment and helps prevent employees from dreading the work day.
The same applies to home life. Congratulate your friends and family members when they do a great job on something. Thank your wife for taking care of the dishes. High-five your young kids when they dress themselves in the morning. It's truly the little things that matter in expressing gratitude.
This post was co-authored by Jeff Pitta, Steve Dycus, and Anastasia Iliou.
Jeff started CHA in 2007 in Nashville, TN. Under his leadership as CEO, CHA has doubled in size for each of the past five years.