This past week, I submitted a proposal in response to this OpenIDEO challenge question: How might we inspire experiences and expressions of gratitude in the workplace? (If you want to read it and like or comment, you can do so here.)
My particular idea centered around connection cards, and their usefulness not only in helping express gratitude, but also helping express care for people in general, which then leads to gratitude.
But really, there are so many ways.
One of my favorites lately is from a friend of mine who has been posting to Facebook something she enjoys each day, and inviting other people to share what they're enjoying, too. A beautiful object, a pleasing smell, recalling a fond memory, watching people play: It's all such simple stuff, and yet visualizing these sweet moments from people's lives makes me smile every time.
I also love adding my own appreciations to the list. To me there is something very freeing and empowering about it, because I am the only one who can say what and who I actually enjoy. Other people may disagree, but they can't tell me I'm wrong. :)
Some of the proposals I saw for inspiring gratitude at work were quite complicated, with special "thank you" apps, and tracking methods, and incentives for who can appreciate the most. But to me, that misses something fundamental, which is that gratitude is inherently rewarding. If you're truly grateful for something, it feels good! No external motivators necessary.
The only kind of gratitude that doesn't feel good is the fake kind, where you pretend to be grateful because you think you should be, or because you don't want someone else to feel bad -- or because you're trying to meet your workplace quota. Who wants to be the recipient of that?
This week I enjoyed leaving cards for neighbors with awesome Halloween decorations. I enjoyed how easy it was to get an appointment to get my car repaired. I enjoyed making a favorite dinner recipe that I hadn't made in a while. And I have been enjoying my warm, comfortable bed.
What about you? What have you been enjoying? What have you been enjoying at work? I would love to hear.