This time of year, giving thanks for all the things we are grateful for is the socially accepted thing to do. My question is it ungrateful to put yourself first sometimes? If you are in a situation that challenges you, is moving on a viable choice? This is an internal dialogue I think many of us go through.
My belief is there is a huge benefit in seeing what we have and being tremendously grateful even if we aspire to more or to better.
For example, I have spent a huge amount of my life recreating in the outdoors primarily doing adventure sports. Now not infrequently that involves getting caught out in some nasty weather. There are days sitting in my home or car completely dry and warm where I feel immense gratitude for those dry/warm conditions. It is not big or exciting, it is rather mundane yet to me it brings overwhelming joy on some occasions.
Gratitude as a practice is one of the ten practices that we at the Coherence Collaborative believe based on the science bring about brain coherence.
I don’t profess to be an expert on Gratitude as a practice, yet what I have read suggest that writing out what you are grateful for each (morning and evening) and taking a few minutes to “let go” and let those feelings of gratitude take you “away”. To be conscious of your use of gratitude to evolve yourself. I don’t do the daily writing ritual, yet I do practice when it comes up to try to bring my deep feelings on a topic something very simple like the washer and dryer worked today. Now they basically never break (well maybe once 5 years ago). I find slowing down and mindfully appreciating the simple little things that make my life better is time well spent.
OK, this is great for at home, what does this have to do with work?
Let me start with my thoughts on the Great Resignation. There is a social media meme going around which I will paraphrase as “management has spent the last 50 years convincing workers they should be grateful they have a job. Workers will spend the next 50 years convincing management they are lucky that they show up and work”.
There are many giant shifts happening simultaneously, demographic, technology, cultural values, environmental issues, and public policy to name a few relevant ones to this conversation. As I have said previously on this blog and on social media everything is changing and at an increasing pace. If you feel unmoored and stressed out, you have a good reason and you are not alone. I can’t name an industry that is not insignificant flux. For most people flux is scary.
Workers have more “power” today than at any time in my work life.
If you are not being paid a living/fair wage. If you are not respected at work. If the leadership is not leading it is not ungrateful to move on.
No vision, no mission, poor values, no clarity, micromanaging, poor behavior (all the awful isms) are all choices. They may not be conscious choices, yet most firms have grown lazy, and people are voting with their feet. The research is completely clear people don’t leave companies they leave poor management. Companies have allowed to this folly for decades.
I can and should be grateful for what I have while simultaneously aspiring to more without attachment (attachment is a whole other lengthy discussion).
If you are not respected at work, listened to, and feel heard it is time to move on. The interesting thing about good leadership is it basically cost the same as the lame sh*t you might be experiencing. No excuse for it.
Ok, we are clear about what we don’t want. We are clear on the gratitude we have for what we do have is important to us on many levels. How do we bridge these concepts?
A new recurring theme for me is the mantra of clarity. This is true for both you as an individual as well as for all organizations. This simple statement does not ignore the difficulty in getting clarity. Simple is way harder than complex.
This is where coherence comes in. When we put a diversity of brainpower on a problem wisdom shows us the way. Be grateful you have access to this path if you choose it. Review in earlier blogs the 10 practices that bring about coherence. Experiment which is best for you and then practice practice practice.
As an organization, you can begin showing appreciation and support for those who practice.
As an organization, you can begin every group meeting with a five-minute silent meditation.
People don’t leave organizations that value them (for real, I am not talking about the corporate greenwashing of valuing people BS that is all too common). Be grateful you found a tribe that values you and you value them in return.
These days sometimes leadership feels like you are on the high trapeze you have let go of one bar and are flying through the air hoping you catch the next bar. When we have clarity, we trust in our preparation and our team members will be there for us.
When I am climbing at my best, I am in the flow. I have complete clarity on my objective, I have clarity on the path to follow to get there. I do trust my belayer they fade away, so I can be present and solely focused on the current moment. What if you and your whole business operated this way. Team 2.0 is possible.
Let’s wrap up today with a discussion about trying. We are so focused on succeeding we have become frightened of trying. Trying means success might not happen. If failing bothers, you try to find gratitude that you had the opportunity to try (not everyone does). Don’t quit because you failed to find gratitude in the value of the attempt.
I am not really that into the holidays. Yet taking the time to find gratitude for my life even the painful points I could live without is time well spent for me. In the end, I find it makes me a better leader, more vulnerable, and empathic. There is no question part of the great resignation is a mass movement to make business more human. I applaud this. Being the best human, we can be is good for business even when we try and fail. Maybe gratitude is the path to take us beyond the great resignation to greener pastures. Let’s plan to meet up there. In the meantime if we can help you think through all the concepts we discussed today please don’t hesitate to reach. Have a wonderful holiday season.