Last week, Nataly Kogan – Workhuman Live speaker, CEO of Happier, and author of “Happier Now” – visited Workhuman’s Framingham office to go live on Facebook with Lauren Zajac, chief legal officer and general counsel at Workhuman. The two discussed the power of gratitude at work and kicked off a seven-day gratitude challenge to give members of the Workhuman Book Club the chance to win a signed copy of “Happier Now,” our April book selection.
Here are three pieces of wisdom these two strong, accomplished women shared throughout their discussion:
1. Sit in your emotions – even the difficult ones.
Although the hard, tough feelings are never pleasant, it’s feeling them that will help bring you back to a place of gratitude. Lauren talked about her decision to end her marriage and how the support of her colleagues helped her. (Divorce is also the subject around which I focused my Workhuman Book Club review of “Happier Now.”)
“I would come into work, and it would be the only thing that would keep me going,” she said. Lauren was at first afraid that her colleagues would judge her for her decision, but when she opened up to them, she found the opposite was the case: “Not one of them had a negative reaction. Every day they would lift me up, they would be ready with a hug and a smile.”
Living her truth and being honest with the people around her about the difficult emotions she was going through, as well as living within a work culture that practices deep appreciation, helped Lauren realize what true gratitude is – and it drove her to work through the difficult emotions and rededicate herself to her work.
2. Achievement is a bubble that bursts.
Accomplishing projects and getting good results at work makes us feel good, but basing our self-worth and sense of happiness around such achievements prevents us from feeling happy. Once we meet one goal, there’s always another waiting in the wings – and continually chasing those goals makes us miserable.
“I’m a human being! It’s normal to struggle,” Nataly said. When she got to the point of burning out in her career, she discovered gratitude and committed to practicing it for two weeks. “All of a sudden, because I was now honoring the present moments of my life with my attention and my gratitude, there was all this joy. Before, I was just using those moments as steppingstones.”
3. Gratitude takes practice.
You can’t expect to reap the benefits of gratitude just by knowing about it. Nataly compared gratitude to broccoli: You can know it’s good for you, but to benefit from it, you actually have to eat it.
Nataly issued a challenge at the end of the video: Practice Gratitude Bookends for seven days. You can do this by beginning and ending your day with a gratitude practice – simply write down three to five things at the beginning and end of each day that you’re grateful for. (Not into journaling? Nataly offered some other options when I first spoke with her last year.)
You can also bring gratitude to work and practice Gratitude Meeting Bookends: Begin and end a meeting by sharing authentic and specific appreciation for someone in the room. (Feel free to ask if anyone else wants to join – Nataly says many people often do!)
Then comment on this post, telling us how you practiced your Gratitude Bookends. How did it feel? Did you learn anything?
The contest is open through April 24. We'll pick three winners, at random, and they will each receive a signed copy of "Happier Now." For full terms and conditions, see: http://bit.ly/gratitudeterms.
For more actionable ideas for practicing gratitude at work, watch the full video:
Workhuman was live in Gratitude at Work: Nataly Kogan & Lauren Zajac.
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