Culture of Gratefulness

December 2011, by So-Young Kang

As we approach the end of an amazing year, Awaken Group would like to wish you happy holidays and a very happy new year! Thank you for being a part of our journey, we are grateful for your support.

Sometimes bad things do happen to good people. Sometimes we face issues, challenges and situations we would rather not be in. At times, people do things to you that you feel are not fair. It happens. So what do you do with this negativity? Sometimes we choose to be a ‘victim’ of our circumstances. “I am being mean because of the way she treated me. It’s not my fault.” “I withhold giving compliments to others because I have never received them from my managers before. It’s the way I was taught [therefore it can’t be helped].” “I complain about my clients because they are not nice people. They are always negative. [It’s not my fault].” These statements, whether said out loud or in your head, all point to a similar mindset – that of a victim. When we take on this mindset, it puts us on the defensive and often exacerbates the problem.

What if we chose gratefulness?

In a negative situation, what if we chose to be grateful to those we feel have ‘victimized’ us? For example, we were in a client situation where unfortunately, the corporate culture was highly critical, negative and full of finger-pointing behaviors. We had a choice on how to respond: 1) Get defensive (after badmouthing them) and think of ways to ‘prove we are right’; or 2) Share what we are grateful for in our own culture and start to problem solve how to make the client situation better by positively affirming our clients who, in many ways, were just ‘victims’ of their own corporate culture. We chose the second option and actively found ways to make our clients look good in front of their bosses. We thanked them for pointing things out that we may have missed. We did it with the mindset that they were helping us be better professionals. It’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it?

When you foster a culture of gratefulness, it impacts you in four ways:

1) Prepares your mind and heart to be open to creative problem solving. It creates a shift in your frame of mind and creates the space and willingness to work through the negative situation. It changes your posture and your heart.

2) Builds resilience against negative situations. It gives you a broader toolkit to respond to negative situations.

3) Fosters collaborative, others-centered teamwork. It takes the focus off of you, the ‘victim’ and shifts it to the ‘other person’ in a way that is positive. It encourages you and those you work with to creatively solve unpleasant situations in a different way. It starts to change your own culture.

4) Makes you more pleasant to work with. Wouldn’t you rather work with people who have a grateful hearts?

As we enter this holiday season, what are you grateful for? Will you take on the challenge of listing the five people who upset or annoy you the most and let them know what you are grateful for in them? It can be one thing but please share it openly, honestly and with no hidden agenda. Yes, sometimes I like to ask you to do things that may be uncomfortable. I assure you it’s in service of you (in alignment with our value for ‘honesty in love’). I’m so grateful for you taking time out of your busy schedules to read, watch and care about what we are up to at Awaken Group. Be blessed this holiday season! Can’t wait to hear what happens when you take on our challenge.

Choose to be grateful first and then build a grateful culture. See what happens and let us know.