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  • Writer's pictureKaitlin Henze

A new approach to gratitude in the workplace

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

The holiday season is upon us. which cues the group texts, discussions with family and friends, and email campaigns to teams of employees filled with ....

" I am so thankful for all that we have accomplished this year.."

" I have the best team in the world..."

or many other varieties of ways to list the positive aspects of our lives or attributes we love most about our teams, organizations, and work.

This can cause us to feel disillusioned, aggravated, and even envious especially when we have experienced loss or hard challenges in our personal lives or if our jobs are unfulfilling.

Rather than force ourselves to think of accomplishments to celebrate or positive aspects of our work and relationships, what if we shift the way we think about what we are grateful for?


Here are two different ways that you can practice gratitude when life is HARD...


What challenges have you experienced that have resulted in personal or professional growth?

If you have recently endured a hardship that pushed you to your limits or resulted in a setback or failure, did anything beneficial come out of it? It could be something you learned about yourself, a relationship that got strengthened, or a skill that you gained.

I will share a recent example from my life...

Similar to many others this year, I was laid off in August. After the initial shock, disappointment, fear, and insecurity, I took some time to think about what I truly want from the next stage in my career. As I applied to corporate jobs, I realized that what made me feel most invigorated was working with my Passion To Profit clients (which at the time was my "side hustle"). So, I took a leap and decided to turn my consulting business into my full-time job. Yes, there are still tough moments every day, AND I am grateful for the layoff as it gave me an opportunity to discover how I can best serve others with my skills and knowledge!

Can you be grateful for awareness of difficult emotions?

When you are in the midst of a very difficult situation and are feeling some heavy emotions, it can be hard to think of happy and positive aspects of life. This is when we run into toxic positivity, which is harmful because it does not allow us to fully process negative emotions.

In these situations, inquire if you can be grateful for just simply being aware that life is hard. Are you aware that you feel some anxiety, despair, frustration, depletion? Just sitting in this awareness with appreciation of the fact that you are mindful of your emotions can allow you to self-empathize.

I use this practice daily!...

Most recently, I conducted a workshop for a team that did not go as smoothly as I had hoped. There were technology challenges that caused the screen share to malfunction, the audience members did not speak up when asked to share, and as time went on, I become frazzled and fumbled over my words. After this workshop, I felt upset and embarrassed. Rather than forcing myself to think about what went well in the workshop, I spent 5 minutes naming my emotions by stating "I am grateful for awareness that I am feeling distraught, that I think I messed up, that I feel worried that this client will never hire me again..." Several days later, I was in the place to process what transpired and think about ways to improve.

So, as you approach the final month of 2023, I encourage you to remember that gratitude can come in many forms even when life beats you up!

If you are curious about how to weave mindfulness and compassion practices into your interactions at work in quick and simple ways, contact me to learn how this can enhance your organizational culture!

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