Gratitude. Appreciation, Praise. Thankfulness. Acknowledgment. All of these words when applied make you feel good – so why don’ t we do it more? Why isn’t the whole world focusing on feeling grateful, being appreciative, giving praise, expressing thanks, and acknowledging others? And particularly in the world of business, how come managers need to be educated in praising their staff, employers need to be coaxed into noticing the positive in their team members, and solo professionals like you often completely forget to appreciate themselves for what they are contributing to the world?
It does seem like it is easier to focus on what you haven’t got, what is missing, or the things that make you feel bad, than the other way around, and it’s because it’s a habit. Just a learned habit. That’s all. Because it was learned in the first place, it can be unlearned, and changed into a habit that makes you feel good – if you are willing to be diligent and committed to changing. It might be sad that most of the people (at least in the Western world) need encouragement to be, do and say things that make them feel good, but hey, let’s not dwell on that, that might make you feel bad! Let’ s instead focus on how you can be grateful in your business, and the effect it has.
Here’ s 3 specific things you can do to feel good in your business, enjoy it more, and make a bigger difference to more people:
1. Bring an attitude of gratitude and appreciation to all your business relationships.
Find specific things to appreciate about your business colleagues and your customers or clients. You’ll see whatever you look for, so look for the good, and then be very vocal about singing their praises. If you dare to do this regularly, you’ ll find that not only does it give them pleasure (needless to say, it must be true, and you must really feel what you are appreciating!) but that you gain an enormous amount of pleasure from giving in this way. So both of you end up feeling good, with a warm glow in your heart. And guess what? When you do that, you become more attractive to other people too – they want to hang around you, they want to get to know you better, and are far more likely to end up doing business with you. After all, if you could choose, who would you rather give your custom to – the indifferent, unhappy person behind the counter, or the cheerful, engaging and interested one?
2 . Learn to send genuine, heartfelt thank you cards.
There is a marketing tactic which involves mailing out cards for every occasion to your customers – nice idea you might think, but it can easily go awry. It is a well-known tactic to gain business, so watch out for the internet sites that set you up to do this automatically to your whole database on their birthday or other occasions. Be really clear that your marketplace will like this before you do it. Otherwise you risk alienating them. But if you feel genuinely moved, appreciative or want to say something to someone – then do it! Just do it. Make the effort to get the card and send it through the mail; or go online and do it that way. When the message is genuine, it will be felt by the recipient, and once again it works both ways – you get to feel good too.
3 . Say good things about other businesses in your community.
Instead of feeling threatened by competition, make a commitment to thinking co-operatively instead. If you are coming from a belief that says ‘there is enough for everyone’, then you can do this much more easily, because competition melts away. This doesn’t mean that you always feel happy about others who are in the same business as you – but it does mean that when you feel even a teeny bit threatened by a so-called competitor, that you remember it simply means you’re afraid. Acknowledge the fear and find something good to say about that business instead of criticising them, worrying or badmouthing them. When the clinic I was running relocated, there was another complementary health clinic less than a mile up the road. I introduced myself to the owner, and we worked out a way we could support each other, rather than trying to get customers from each other. And it worked really well, as we referred customers back and forth, and everyone ended up benefiting.
A caveat though: I don’ t recommend doing any of these things in order to get referrals. Maybe you will get referrals when you start being grateful for what you do have, not what you don’t; or start praising and appreciating your clients and customers more. But maybe you won’t. To be truly authentic, as the spiritual business owner you are, check yourself out before you speak or communicate. Otherwise the energy is all upside down, and the vibration you put out will be at odds with the message. And although this still can work sometimes, you will not be honouring yourself or them, causing unnecessary limitation, and guess what? It just won’t feel as good. So if you want to feel great in your business, you can increase your appreciation, supplement your praises with specifics, and give genuine thanks – and we’ll all end up contributing to each other. That sounds good, doesn’t it?