In the business world, we are not trained to be thankful but rather to give the majority of our attention to what is not going well. We obsess over our goals; what has failed in the past and what we need to change in the present.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think goal-orientation is good. As it is said, “Without vision, a people perish.” The human spirit flounders without a sense of future-oriented hope. However, as it is also said, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick”. It is essential that we find a sense of satisfaction located in “today”. If what we are hoping for is always located in “tomorrow”, after a while, it will be hard to find the energy to keep going.
So here’s an idea...
What would it be like to just be openly thankful and to call out the things that we are grateful for in our workplace? In our co-workers? In the events of the past year? I believe we can never truly move forward unless we are able to drop the anxieties, pressures and hopes of the future long enough to recognize what we already have. Because the truth is, we don’t have tomorrow yet - only today. If we can’t begin to digest the reality of our present accomplishments, what makes us think that whatever happens tomorrow will somehow be satisfying? A lack of thankfulness for today almost precludes the possibility of satisfaction with tomorrow.
Why have I been thinking about this lately? Well for one, it's Thanksgiving but also because last weekend OctoClean’s corporate staff went on a working retreat to vision and plan for the next three years. Before we got started, we took time to remember our accomplishments and list things we appreciate about our company. This laid an important foundation for the rest of our work. Over the next day and a half, we developed an extensive vision of where we want our company to go and how we plan to get there.
Do I think we can achieve these dreams? Yes, with a lot of hard work and gratitude - to the members of our corporate team, to our hard-working franchise owners, to our loyal customers, to the vendors who provide us what we need to get our jobs done, for our wonderful coffee machine, for the non-fluorescent lights in our office, for the funny magnets on our fridge that never fail to crack me up, for all the countless things that “go right” on a daily basis. For all this and more, we are, and will strive to continue to be, thankful.