I recently attended a conference session by a speaker named Dan who really impressed me. He was so driven and passionate about what he was doing. Dan’s job was not an easy one. He worked in recruitment for a very small college with very little name recognition, which meant that he was constantly under pressure to make deadlines and meet goals. In response, he built an elaborate and impressive customer service structure that could respond to requests within minutes and stay in constant contact with potential students.
Dan spoke with so much energy and shared generously from his great ideas. He clearly read and researched new best practices constantly to figure out how to help his organization stay ahead. I found myself really motivated by his talk, and I wondered how he could generate and sustain so much energy in a very challenging job. As he finished his talk and I looked back over the extensive list of notes I had taken, I realized that he had given me the answer.
Early on in his presentation, Dan shared that he was a very unlikely college graduate. He was not a great student to begin with, but he had gone to college and then dropped out. Years later, he tried again, enrolling at the college where he now works. He related how they took a chance on him, and how people believed in him and patiently supported him in getting his degree against the odds. To this day he is still grateful for the chance he was given.
That is why Dan is a “one-percenter” in the work that he does. That is why he works tirelessly, gives more, and does his homework to keep current – because he is working from a deep sense of gratefulness. Gratitude is one of the most powerful motivators we have, and can often carry us when payment, rewards, or ideals are not strong enough. Dan’s talk was one of the clearest examples I have ever heard of the difference that working from gratefulness can make in our lives.
As you consider the work you are doing, or perhaps wonder what work you should be doing, think about those things in your life for which you are most grateful. We have all been blessed in so many ways, but if you think about it, there are probably one or two specific experiences for which you feel a deep sense of gratitude. Are you working in a job that allows you to tap into that?Can you imagine how much it could add to your work if you were constantly reminded of an opportunity that you were given that changed your life for the better?
Maybe you can work within the job you have to see it as a way to pay back what you have received, or to equip others for similar opportunities. Maybe recognizing how powerful that deep sense of gratitude can be is enough to make you consider making a bold career move. In either case, living from gratefulness is a powerful way to revolutionize the work you do, and people will notice the difference.