It’s close to Thanksgiving and naturally the focus for a lot of people is on things to be thankful for. Gratitude can be practiced in all aspects of life including work life. What are some of the best ways to practice mindful gratitude in the workplace? In this USA Manufacturing Hour Twitter Chat Recap, Ruby Rusine from Social Success Marketing in California led the discussion on ways to be grateful and mindful in the workplace, even in a stressful and fast-paced environment.
Before jumping into the discussion on mindfulness, Host Rusine kicked things off with an ice breaker. She asked participants to share their most bizarre Thanksgiving meal.
Rebecca Prox from DSI/Dynamatic in Wisconsin said, “My dad once made a tur-duck-en. It's a turkey, stuffed with a chicken stuffed with a duck. Everything but the duck turned out well. The duck was undercooked.”
Jill Farr from Graphic Products in Oregon said, “Hmm. None that qualify as "bizarre" to me, but others may view our family's chicken fried steak choice in that way.”
Dave Meyer from BizzyWeb in Minnesota said, “I did a beer-can chicken recipe once, using turkey, and on the grill.”
JD from Cleveland Deburring in Ohio said, “I don’t know about bizarre, but last year I had KFC.”
FreightPOP in California said, “About 9 years ago, we had a family emergency that required my dad and his siblings to fly out of town last minute, so my mom and my brother decided nothing would be better than a small Thanksgiving with some Del Taco.It was awesome. But certainly not traditional.”
Kelley Plats from North American Coating Laboratories in Ohio said, “Senior year of collage. I ruined the turkey so we ate loaded mashed potatoes and chocolate chip cookies!”
Grateful for Hard Life Lessons
Once participants were done sharing their stories, the chat then moved to the first topic of discussion which centered around a hard lesson in life that participants were grateful they had the opportunity to learn. Participants shared their personal experiences.
Prox said, “That it's OK for others not to like me, or unfriend me on social media. It's a somewhat recent lesson, but I'm grateful because I'm more content without them.
Meyer said, “Every hard time is a lesson in disguise. You need to push through and adapt. This past 18 months has been tough (I miss being on stage terribly), but I've been much better at making social connections. So grateful to know y'all.”
Host, Rusine said, “Word! And right back at you!”
Kirsten Austin from DCSC Inc. in Missouri said, “Awww, that's so sweet Dave thank you! We're happy to know you too and appreciate you coming to our USA Manufacturing Hour Chat.”
Plats said, “Learning to be okay with the answer "I don't know". Its a humbling statement that allows you to recognize opportunities for growth. Also, there's zero shame in not knowing everything! How dull would that be?”
Host Rusine said, “I always tell my friends, ‘Aren’t you glad that we don’t know everything?’ That’s a lot of responsibility to handle.”
Bill Garland, a Manufacturing champion from New Mexico responded, “It’s OK to not know. We have to have faith that we can figure it out and that things will work out in the end.”
He continued, “A hard lesson I’ve learned is that it is really is up to me AND only me. While it is great to have friends and allies, a lot of life is up to me. I cannot control what happens but I can control how I react to it and how long it lives in my head.”
JD said, “Humility. Which lead to greater self-awareness.”
Rusine answered, “That one is profound, JD.”
Kati McDermith from Industry Net in Illinois said, “There are so many! I had to learn the hard way that not everyone is my friend. I am more careful now.”
Jeanette Stevens from Genedge in Virginia said, “I do not know it all. All of my experience does not mean I cannot learn from someone else - regardless of how much experience they have. To grow, I have to be willing and humble enough to learn a thing or two from someone else, who may be more skilled than I.”
Farr said, “I'm going to echo some of the other responses and say I'm thankful for being dragged out of "People Pleasing" mode on occasion. Setting boundaries can be uncomfortable, but just like yoga...sometimes that discomfort translates to strength.”
Mike Womack from NJMEP in New Jersey said, “A hard lesson I learned when working for an Manufacturing marketing agency is not every campaign will be a massive success. However, this is where I learned the value of data to continuously improve.”
Erin Courtenay from Earthling Interactive in Wisconsin said, “Once a friend called me out for apologizing profusely. She (rightfully) observed I was trying to get over my guilt more than I was trying to help her heal from the hurt I'd caused. It was humbling.”
Manufacturers’ News, Inc said, “Knowing when it's time to ask for help & recognizing we are all part of a team. Not a hard lesson, exactly, but one to be grateful for.”
Pavel Stepanov from VirtuDesk said, “There are a lot as everyone makes mistakes. I often do mistakes too every day. What's important is to never make the same ones again.”
Kathy Bodar from Plastics Plus Technology in California said, "Don't spend money I don't have. When we first moved to Redlands (our new building) the Tenet Improvements came out to double the original budget. No way out as we sold the previous building already. Lesson learned: Thoroughly evaluate those kind of decisions.”
Paul Kiesche of Aviate Creative in New Jersey said, “Oh man hard to narrow down. Not to be dark, but I learned about the gift of life and how fragile our mortality is at a pretty young age. Made me appreciate life and not take it for granted.”
David Crysler of The Crysler Club said, “Too many... but one I'll never forget is having to face 100 people and tell them that we were relocating their building.” He added, “Empathy, humility, honesty were all elevated. I had given tough news previously but this hit different. Just like the first time I ever had to do a layoff. Some lessons/experiences you never forget.”
Ben Nordman from Obsidian Manufacturing Industries in Illinois said, “Focusing on the process of getting to a goal is just as important as the goal itself! Taking each step and making sure to succeed at them will make the end result come naturally.”
Host Ruby Rusine said, “We often heard it said that we shouldn’t burn bridges, right? I am grateful for the reverse of that which is this: sometimes, you have to burn bridges for personal survival.”
Can Gratitude Change Lives?
The chat then moved onto gratitude. Participants were asked if they believed gratitude can change people’s lives. They had a lot to say.
McDermith said, “Certainly! Just a matter of a change in outlook.”
VirtuDesk said, “We totally agree. Being thankful for everything you have in life brings contentment and value to it.”
Meyer said, “Absolutely! Anytime I get overwhelmed, I just make a list of at least 20 things I'm grateful for. Really helps bring perspective and turn my attitude around. Keeping a gratitude journal is an essential life hack for me.”
Garland said, “Yes, it helps relationships both professionally and personally. Expressing gratitude to others gives them a bit of spark. Expressing gratitude to the universal for what we have opens the gates for more good vibes and things to come into our lives.”
Prox said, “I'm a firm believer that yes, gratitude can change people's lives. I've learned to be much more content and grateful for what I have. My life is simpler and happier because of it.
Farr said, “I think it's transformational! So much has been studied and reported about how a mindset cultivated by gratitude can bring about multiple benefits!”
Manufacturers' News, Inc. said, “Absolutely 100%. Gratitude is powerful.”
Parin Mody from StratMg in Illinois said, “Absolutely!”
Velavu Tech said, “Absolutely! Being grateful makes us consciously stay in the present and reflect on the good. This conscious action turns into unconscious behaviours and mindsets!”
Austin said, “100%. When you're appreciative and grateful, good things come to you sometimes when you least expect it.”
Plats said, “I'm living testament to this. I decided to start facing each day with gratitude several years ago. It was like turning on a light switch! I'm a better person because I lead with gratitude and am thankful for the person I was before (its where the humor comes from).”
JD said, “It changes everyone it touches."
Nordman said, “I think it helps people take a new perspective than maybe what we're used to, so yes!”
Stevens said, “Absolutely, true gratitude is living. It's experiencing full impact, it is the secret sauce to happiness and strength.”
Stepanov said, “100%. It's like what they always say, you reap what you sow. If you plant good deeds, you get good deeds in return.” He added, “If you are grateful, people will love you. You become a blessing to every people you interact with.”
Sam Gupta from ElevatIQ in Canada said, “Not too sure about changing people's lives. but it's very important to build relationships.”
Sinclair Day Accountancy Services in the UK said, “Yes definitely, it’s a great feeling to be recognised. It’s important to show our gratitude - too many times does someone go unrecognized for their efforts, service, help etc. Courtesy costs nothing.”
Gail Robertson from Gail Now in Canada said, “Short answer: Yes! It will likely change every interaction in your life- Personally and professionally.”
Kiesche said, “Absolutely. I heard that it's near impossible to experience fear or hate and gratitude at the same time. Replace a lot of negative thoughts with gratitude and your life will improve.”
Courtenay said, “The practice of gratitude certainly can! It is hard to watch people miss out on the joy and comfort of gratitude and instead wallow in resentment.”
Felix P. Nater from Nater Associates in North Carolina said, “It certainly can.” He added, “I absolutely believe that "Gratitude" can change and improve people's lives. In my case for reasons that elude me, I am thankful, grateful, appreciative to a fault, and I love it. You know why? Because the other person feels good that I am.”
FreightPOP said, “Absolutely! You never know when someone could really use a "nice job" or a "Thank you for your hard work", especially with the hard times so many have been facing due to the pandemic.”
Nigel T. Packer from PelaTis Online in the UK said, “The expression of gratitude is the sign of a true leader.”
Bodor said, “In many ways. Showing gratitude to others is double-sided, meaning, that person feels recognized and appreciated, but you also feel the effects of gratitude at that moment. Gratitude is truly about giving."
Host, Rusine said, “It’s impossible to go through life being grateful and not be changed by it. Studies show those who are thankful show less signs of anxiety and depression and experience more positivity & happiness.”
She added, “I found this gem and wanted to share it with all of you.” The link she is referring to is below.
The Importance of Gratitude in the Workplace
Next in the discussion, participants shared their thoughts on whether they believed gratitude in the workplace is important. They had some definite thoughts on the topic.
Farr said, “Yes! Any practice that results in calmness is infinitely more valuable at work.”
Sam Gupta said, “Let's just say that no one likes to work with unkind people. Gratitude is super critical in the workplace.”
McDermith said, “All I can say is that I have been grateful every single day I have been at Manufacturing News and I have not had a bad day! They have been good to me and I am thankful to God and all glory to Him.”
Manufacturers' News said, “Yes! Gratitude amongst staff and from management encourages teambuilding and builds trust. It's a win-win for everyone.”
VirtuDesk said, “Yes. Saying thank you to your co-workers, your managers, even your boss is so important as this means you appreciate their efforts, hard work, dedication, and passion.”
Meyer said, “Absolutely! People mostly want to feel appreciated. We try to share our gratitude every day in some small way. It makes work so much better.”
Stevens said, “Yes, because it makes you part of the whole. Part of the process and outcome of the company goal and vision. It's being thankful for the journey and the places it has taken you including the workplace, finding peace and happiness in that, which resonates.”
Stepanov said, “Yes. The first ones to thank are your employees as they are typically your front liners and running your business.”
JD said, “Absolutely. Even if you're not 100% satisfied with the job you're in, it's important to be grateful for the opportunity. You never know where it may lead.”
Prox said, “Most definitely! I'm always thanking my coworkers and my boss, and I'm also grateful for where I get to work. It's full of caring people, lots of space to move around, and isolated in a good way that I really enjoy. This POV makes me want to go to work.”
Packer said, “A pat on the back is appreciated more than a pay rise. Being appreciated is the strengthening of the bonds of friendship and family.”
Mody said, “Yes! Showing appreciation for your employees is a MUST. Everyone likes and needs to feel appreciated. It is also great for morale.”
Austin said, “Absolutely! Everyone likes to be appreciated. Even if it's 2 little words, Thank You, they mean everything. Some folks may think why work harder if you're not appreciated? Same thing with business in general, be respectful and grateful anytime someone helps you!”
Courtenay said, “Such an interesting question! One must be careful not to confuse gratitude and dependency, because the latter can be exploited. However! Being too wary of exploitation at work can keep you from appreciating the good things. It's a fragile philosophy.”
Bodor said, “Yes, and maybe most important. Coworkers should be treated with the level of respect and gratitude that you would show for your customers.”
Garland said, “Absolutely! A sincere "thank you", "great job", "how can I help?" and my favorite, "this will be a big challenge but I believe in you" will open doors that might have stayed closed. Say the words. Mean them. Be sincere.”
Host Rusine said, “Absolutely. It motivates people to do better. Thanking and recognizing people for a good job promotes morale.” She added, “People need to be reminded that they are needed, wanted AND appreciated.”
Can Gratitude Help Build A Business?
Host Rusine then asked participants if they thought gratitude could play a role in building a business. Chat participants shared their insights.
Sinclair Day Accountancy Services said, “Never take anyone or anything for granted, it’s important to create a culture of positivity, where gratitude comes naturally to all and where it isn’t shown it should be called out.”
Packer said, “By showing your appreciation and gratitude to your employees, suppliers and customers, you demonstrate they are all part of your success. We often forget this in the busyness of our daily work.”
Stevens said, “Being thankful to have a business, clients, profits. When you are grateful for something you want, you do much better at it.”
Crysler said, “When you share with your team the things you're grateful for (including them) you're usually leading with positivity, empathy, and kindness. All which will translate into happier people which usually translates into a growing company!”
Prox said, “Sharing your gratitude with existing customers is part of building relationships, which, in turn, builds business. Bcs those people were treated well, they're more likely to come back.”
Courtenay said, “It is too easy to get caught up in the transactional nature of business, because it is er, uhm..business. But no person wants to be thought of as a transaction, that's bad for business. Gratitude is the magical elixir to resolve that tension.”
Stepanov said, “You build relationships with gratitude. You can also increase your network and connections with it which is so important. Your customers will come back to using your products and services too.”
Meyer said, “Gratitude is like a magnet for great things. Here's a fun/easy exercise - go thank anyone who's left you a review on Google (or any other network). You get more of what you pay attention to. Focus on the light instead of the dark.”
Gupta said, “Customers appreciate when you go out of your way to help them and then they also like to see that you treat your people well otherwise in my mind that's a vendor and financial risk.”
Bodor said, “Don't mean to be a broken record, but gratitude helps to build a strong team and foundation for your company's success. A culture of gratitude creates a circle of trust, empathy, and ultimately drive to a shared goal.”
VirtuDesk said, “Applying gratitude to your business stabilizes it for the long term. When you express appreciation to your employees, your connections, and your customers, you build strong relationships and gain their loyalty to your business.”
Nordman said, “It helps in building relationships, which is what a lot of business is all about.”
Garland said, “Being grateful for the opportunity to serve your customers. Don't take them for granted. When things go wrong, do you own it or blame others? There is a science to superior customer service, outsourcing and operations. It is based on sincere, open communication.”
Nater said, “I see Gratitude in business as an essential ingredient of team building right along empathy.”
FreightPOP said, “You can ensure your employees are all on the same page and supporting each other, and I think we can all agree, there is nothing better than working in a positive environment where you and your work are recognized and appreciated.”
Manufacturers' News said, “Showing gratitude helps to build trust and building trust is essential to your relationship with a customer.”
Host Rusine answered, “When customers receive personal attention, are consistently provided with excellent service, and are happy w/ this service, they are more likely to show appreciation by recommending your brand to their connections.”
She also recommended checking out the following blog post about practicing gratitude from DCSC Inc’s blog:
How Companies Can Show Gratitude
The discussion then turned to the last topic which was how companies can show gratitude. Rusine encouraged participants to share their thoughts on ways companies can show that they are grateful and thankful.
JD said, “Reaching out to their customers on the regular, like checking in every couple weeks. Not even about biz necessarily, just a simple "how are YOU doing?". Doesn't cost anything but time.”
Packer said, “As was discussed last week the CSR role is also important part for those who are live in the community you work in. CSR shows appreciation of the community as well as your people.”
Garland said, “Personalized, superior service. Owning their mistakes and making it right. Treating me like they want to be treated. Don't jerk me around with a terribly long sales / service cycle. Honor your warranty. Give me what I need and get me on my way.”
Prox said, “We send holiday cards to customers. That's just one way.”
Host Rusine said, “I really appreciate those companies that do this.”
Meyer said, “A lot of times we overthink this. You don't need grand, sweeping gestures or big gift baskets (although those are great too). Thank you notes, simple emails or texts of gratitude to clients and employees, can make a huge impact. Remember: Be personal and sincere.”
VirtuDesk said, “Here's how: 1. Rewards and acknowledgment for your employees 2. Loyalty program for your customers 3. Token of gratitude such as merchandise, swags, caps (up to you really) to your partners in business.”
Stepanov said, “Same answers here with Virtudesk. We offer cash incentives to our top VAs monthly, special discounts to our loyal clients, and send merchandise to our trusted partners in business.”
Stevens said, “By continually delighting their customers and showing them appreciation.”
Courtenay said, “We printed branded note cards and send hand written messages. In the digital age, as a digital agency I think they come across as more special than ever before.”
Host Rusine said, “I love THIS.”
Crysler said, “There are endless ways but regardless of your delivery method, follow these 2 rules 1. Make it personal 2. Be sincere.”
Gupta said, “How about starting to highlight them on social media that their friends and family member are going to notice? Again, don't overthink!”
Bodor said, “Verbally - telling someone you appreciate their hard work and efforts. But also listening to what someone has to say. Sometimes it's not just what you say, but what you do to make that person feel supported.”
Host Rusine answered, “That you’re really FOR your customers. I love what Bill Garland shared on LinkedIn regarding this very topic. Here is a link to the LinkedIn conversation:
What Are You Grateful For?
The chat concluded with participants sharing what they are grateful for every day. There were some interesting insights into what people are grateful for in their lives.
Courtenay said, “At work: the autonomy and flexibility entrusted to me by my CEO. At home: my family.”
Farr said, “Life in general. Freedom. Lots of specific things to be thankful for, but these are the two main headings!”
Garland said, “My health, my family, an amazing online community, and some pretty good weather most of the year.”
JD said, “Being here.”
Prox said, “The beat of my heart.”
VirtuDesk said, “Our life and our families. We are always thankful that we wake up in the morning and breathe every day. And that we are together with our families to share warmth and comfort.”
Stevens said, “So much! My children, My family, My life, the journey, the people I have met, my co-workers, not having to cook this year for Thanksgiving just to name a few!”
Meyer said, “The obvious ones: My family, friends, health... my amazing team, my clients, the obstacles I've overcome and learned from, the lessons I'll learn in the future... I could go on for days.”
Gupta said, “That I, my family, our employees, and our friends, community are happy, healthy, and doing well, and I am able to do something for them to make all of us better.”
Val W from Monofrax in NY said, “A roof over my head, books, food in my pantry, heat in the winter, books, the people I've met through #USAMfgHour and manufacturing e-commerce success, books, my cats (yes, even the bitey one), did I mention books?”
Host Rusine said, “A lot! 𝗛𝗲𝗿𝗲'𝘀 𝗮 𝗳𝗲𝘄: My husband. Clients. Staff. Friends/Family. Good books (really good books). Chocolates. Freedom. Grace. Home. Education. Diversity. My online community including #USAMfgHour #BldgREChat
Practicing gratitude and being mindful in the workplace is as important as it is in all other aspects of life. When people feel appreciated, they are more likely to be motivated to work to their full potential. Everyone wins in a positive workplace filled with hard-working, motivated employees. Learning how to focus on positives, express gratitude and be in the moment can make all the different in creating a great work environment and a great life outside of work as well.
Anyone who champions U.S. manufacturing can join in on a new conversation each week on Twitter using the hashtag #USAMfgHour. The chat starts at 11 a.m. Pacific Standard Time/2 p.m. Eastern. Share positive blog posts, helpful articles, news, important information, accomplishments, events, and more with other manufacturers and supporters from throughout the country.
Are you interested in hosting a #USAMfgHour chat? Contact organizers @DanBiggerUsaMfg, @DCSCinc, @SocialSMktg and @Radwell_Intl