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Got Gratitude?

We all have good days helping brides. And we all have our bad days, too.
    On the good days, it’s easy to see everything that’s wonderful about your customers, your boss and your fellow consultants. But what happens when the events of your day are less than stellar?
    Perhaps your morning commute was rough and you arrived late to the store. Or a certain bride read you the riot act because she’s a miserable, emotional mess.
    Or maybe, just after lunch, your boss pulled you off the floor to discuss a missed sales goal. Or communication with a fellow consultant got blown out of proportion and wreaked havoc on your afternoon zen…the list goes on. When such events keep happening, it can be hard to feel grateful about anything, much less your job.
    But don’t go there! Having a grateful mindset is perhaps the most powerful tool for maintaining control of whatever comes your way and even feeling happy. Not just a means for being thankful about the past and present, it can also inspire your forward-thinking perspective, enabling you to feel hopeful and take action based on the possibility that future goodness will transpire. In essence, gratitude is a way to enable instant joy.
    “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness,” states Harvard Medical School in its article, “In Praise of Gratitude” (Harvard Health Publications, 2011). “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
    No question about it: in your line of work, you need all these outcomes to succeed in your job. You need positive emotions to help lift brides when they’re feeling blue. You need to relish good experiences to validate for customers how wonderful it is to buy the dress of their dreams. You need amazing health to avoid sick days and perform at full capacity. You need to feel confident about managing adversity because it can surface even in the best of your gown-selling experiences. And you definitely need to build strong relationships (with customers, your boss, your co-workers, etc.) because the success of your job depends heavily on this one factor alone.
    There are several meanings behind the word “Gratitude.” It comes from the Latin word “gratia,” which is translated as grace, graciousness and gratefulness. For you, on-the-job gratitude is about being the grateful consultant, a professional salesperson who thinks, speaks and acts according to a grateful heart. Here are 10 ways you can transform your mindset and your odds of success by being more grateful or thankful in your job today.

1. Identify your blessings. Even in the most dire situations, your mind is a key to freedom. Focusing on blessings—what is, instead of what isn’t – can create a shift in perspective, inspiring you to communicate and act in productive, positive ways. So take a few minutes every morning to jot down five blessings. Or think them up on your morning commute, then when you arrive at the salon, write them down somewhere handy. Refer back to them throughout the day if needed.

2. Meditate on gratitude. Make time before heading into work to do a morning meditation. Even just 20 minutes of sitting, thinking about your blessings, and making sure to note what you are grateful for in regard to your job, can have a calming, centering effect on your mind, body and spirit.

3. Spot “the good.” Challenge yourself to start noticing what’s good about your job. For example, a bride gives you great information upon which you can pull some really solid dress options for her to try on. Or a fellow team member helps you unexpectedly, perhaps by answering the store phone even though you were both busy helping customers. Try to set a specific goal, noticing three things a day for which you are grateful. Also, whenever you are inclined to feel ungrateful (upset, disappointed, sad, hurt, etc.), ask yourself: “For what can I feel grateful instead?” Answer that question and focus on the bright side to shift your mindset and grow professionally.

4. Talk with gratitude. When you are grateful, let others know it, particularly if it involves them. Talking “gratitude” is part of making it your consistent communication style so that it’s not just some random activity but something that becomes ingrained in your daily vocabulary. Be genuine about what you’re communicating and how you’re communicating it. . . spot opportunities to do it. For example, if you were struggling with a sale and your boss quietly gave you a pointer to help, this teaching moment just became an opportunity for you to develop professionally. Let your boss know it, and make it clear that you were grateful and paying attention to her coaching!

5. Thank your brides. It’s rare nowadays for customers to receive personal thank-you notes, but this can be a powerful way to make ongoing impressions on brides. If you already send thank-you notes to your clients after the sale, consider other ways you could communicate ongoing thanks before that point, plus even far after the sale is over. For example, what about sending a personal thank-you card or posting a Facebook shout-out just for coming in for a consultation? Or sending an e-mail to thank a bride who’s been particularly open about a stressful situation she is experiencing during her wedding planning?
    Communicating with brides won’t just give you an opportunity to express your gratitude, but it can keep doors open for the healthy sharing of information. When you communicate more effectively with your customers, it will build the relationship you have with them and boost the odds of it being a successful experience from start to finish.

6. Share your gratitude goals. With whatever habits you adopt in life, the chances of succeeding will go up with accountability partners. Choose a couple of trusted co-workers, your boss, or even a professional mentor or friend and let that individual know that you’re proactively working on your gratitude attitude, particularly in your profession.
    Share your goals, what strategies you’re adopting, and detail the support you need in your efforts; let them know you’ve got a plan! If you’re making a daily gratitude list, share it with them so that you’re committed to someone other than yourself. You might even ask your boss to add this to your job expectations in your next performance review. Some people take a 30-day challenge to build gratitude into their life, journaling what they are grateful for and publishing it via Twitter or Facebook. Just do what’s best and most convenient for you because if accountability becomes a struggle or roadblock, you will be less likely to succeed.

7. Embrace each gift of opportunity. When someone gives you a gift, you don’t throw it away. You unwrap it, accept it and hopefully enjoy it. Each moment spent at work is also a gift, or an opportunity that must be accepted and, also, hopefully enjoyed. The good news is you have many moments at work, thus, you have many opportunities to enjoy, even if it might not always feel like the gift you wanted to experience. “Every moment is a new gift, over and over again,” says the famous theologian Brother David Steindl-Rast in his speech, “Want to be happy? Be grateful” (TED Talks, June 2013). “Even when we are confronted with something that is terribly difficult, we can rise to the occasion and respond to the opportunity that is given to us. It isn’t as bad as it might seem.”

8. Inspire others. Once you start making gratitude a habit, you may notice others around you struggling to be grateful at work. Don’t let them get you down, rather, view this as another opportunity to help them. Gratitude is infectious and spreads. Start talking and expressing what you are grateful for and others will likely start to mirror you. Initiate conversations that breed gratitude around you. To your fellow employees, ask questions like: What was great about your drive to work today? What was the best part of working with that bride? What did you find awesome about our day at the salon? To your boss: What’s going right with our team today? What’s the best thing I did in my selling today? What could I do more of that I did right with that bride? To yourself: What’s the best thing someone said to me today? What made me feel special in that last selling experience? What did I learn today that is making me a better sales consultant?

9. Check in on your progress. At the end of each day, do a check-in and assess how well you did with your gratitude goals. If you fell short in some way,  don’t reprimand yourself but recommit to do better tomorrow. It may be that you need to take some corrective actions to address why you may have fallen short of your goal. For example, if you want to meditate daily on gratitude but didn’t, maybe you need to wake up earlier or find a meditation CD that you can listen to on your way to work so that your focus is where you want it to be.

10. Take gratitude beyond your professional life. The great thing about an attitude of gratitude is that it can – and should – become part of your total life, not just your professional one. When you begin to see your blessings at the store, you start to see your blessings elsewhere. When you have gratitude and happiness at work, it increases your gratitude and happiness in the home – and visa versa. So, don’t hold back! When you leave work, head home, or go out into your community for the evening, continue the journey, practicing gratitude all along your way. Make gratitude part of not just your professional brand but your personal brand as well.

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