You’ve done so much arduous work Staying past your scheduled out time, ruminating upon how best to approach the project when next you clock in, dedicating so much mental real estate to the tasks at hand. Then, when you’ve finally completed the assignment to the very best of your abilities, your boss gives a simple nod of acknowledgement–barely a sideways glance at you–and waves you off to your next task.
A moment ago, you were excited, elated to have completed such a colossal task. Now you’re left feeling deflated, wondering what was the point when you couldn’t even get so much as a word of gratitude for the sheer level of commitment you devoted to this thing.
Though it might be slightly different for each of us, we’ve all been here before. Granted, for some, having successfully completed a task is a reward in and of itself. Yet, for others, receiving some form of acknowledgment makes us feel valued and appreciated, whether it be at work or in our personal lives.
Oftentimes on TV and movies, we see a parent telling their child, “Good job!” as a way to reinforce and encourage productive behavior. As it turns out, we don’t really grow out of that need. All of us seek to feel valued in some form or another. Researchers David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom observe that we could achieve that feeling of value by simply extending it to others in our lives. “Although recognition and appreciation often get talked about from only the recipient’s viewpoint, there are plenty of powerful benefits to the giver as well.” These benefits include happier mindsets, healthy relationships, among much more.
In his TED Talk, monk and author David Steindl-Rast goes a step farther and suggests that the key to happiness is gratefulness. He emphasizes the importance of giving ourselves “stop signs” throughout our busy, daily lives–pausing to relish in the small wonders around us that we would otherwise take for granted. Happiness is in every moment–we need but pause to recognize it.
Today, let’s give ourselves those stop signs. Let’s take time to recognize those in our lives instead of waiting to be recognized. Doing so, we encourage overall happiness and a sense of value for all parties involved–professionally and personally. And who doesn’t want that?
“I am happy because I’m grateful. I choose to be grateful. That gratitude allows me to be happy.”
— Will Arnett
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