Happy Holidays – A Story of Gratitude| November 21, 2022
As many of you know, I am in a peer group called Vistage. Vistage has helped me grow in ways that I never thought was possible. The speakers they have are all curated and great. Last year at this time our retreat speaker was Bea Wray. My wife and I had dinner with her the night before she spoke, and it was lovely. We learned a little about her background and actually made a connection with one of her neighbors/friends. It is a small world! I thought I would share with you the one part of her book that really struck me and that I actually implemented within my organization.
Chapter – 5 Going for great with Gratitude.
Bea’s book “What an MBA Taught Me… But My Kids Made Me Learn (Link: https://www.amazon.com/What-MBA-Taught-Me-Learn/dp/164293707X) is a great short read. It’s a journey through her life. As always, when we have a speaker, we always have a key takeaway. Chapter 5 is mine.
In the book, she tells a story of how Gratitude can make a change in someone’s life. The story starts with her kids and a very interesting story of how she was approached at a meeting and was simply asked if Robert was her son. Fearing the worst (Who doesn’t think: “What did he do now???”), she replies yes, but as it turns out the man was pulling up a picture to show a thank you note from her son to him for his leadership and encouragement. The man explains that is the reason they do the things they do and that he uses the letter in his management team meetings. Of course her heart swelled, and a proud parent moment came.
“That’s how gratitude works. Telling someone you’re grateful creates a far-reaching ripple effect. Done well, it ignites a flow of energy that can’t be contained.
It has a greater impact on the giver than on the receiver. When I am worn out, I make a list of things I’m grateful for, and it feeds me. Showing gratitude is empowering.”
Bea has always been a thank you card person and writes them often to many she meets.
Our Core Values
One of our core values is:
We are Humbly Confident
- No Arrogance
- Be Vulnerable, you’re not perfect (the first few months we actually misspelled perfect as prefect on the slide!)
As the CEO, my job is to work on culture for the company and to reinforce our core values. We need to model and practice for the culture to become real. So, there I was sitting at this retreat and there it was right in front of me. How can we practice being humbly confident? How about going for great with gratitude? So, with inspiration and a plan, I went to work on our state of the company meeting.
Well the plan was simple. We want to go for great with gratitude! I went out and bought 48 thank you cards, envelopes and stamps, one for each employee (including myself). I asked everyone to send one per week to anyone. It could be a co-worker, customer, friend, family member or anyone they just met. Just handwrite it and tell them why you are grateful for them or something they did that inspired you. I told them how I was inspired by Bea’s story and how we can go for great with gratitude. I shared some excerpts from Bea’s book and asked them to write one right away. All new employees are given some training and also given cards to send as part of their onboarding process.
I use the going for great with gratitude line whenever I speak about our core values. We tell everyone we interview our core values and why they are important. We let all new hires know they are going to have to do this when they come on board with us. It is now part of who we are and what we are striving for. While I have no exciting stories to tell like Bea does (The year is not over yet, and I still have cards to give out) I hope to share some stories in the future!
Speaking of which, I want to thank all of you for reading this post and happy holidays! I hope it inspires you to give gratitude and share it with others!