Let’s start a gratitude movement in our industry

PHD national executive assistant and project director Anna De Paoli
By PHD national executive assistant and project director Anna De Paoli | 6 November 2019

I have been fortunate enough to attend many motivational speaking gigs throughout my career in media. Hugh van Cuylenburg from The Resilience Project was a standout as he talked about how we are constantly comparing ourselves to the perfections of social media, and no matter how hard we work to get the dream car, house or handbag - when we get it, we’ll always want more. His talk really resonated with me on many levels and bought to light the importance of gratitude.

Today’s world is one in which we are constantly bombarded with the gloss of social media. No matter what the achievement or the purchase, we always want to achieve more, reach that next milestone or buy that new item we saw on our social media feed. Rather than enjoying our achievements and being grateful for the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into achieving the dream – we quickly move on to the next best thing or bigger dream. It seems no matter what we get or experience, we always want more and better.

The topic of gratitude and our industry is interesting. We are exposed to so many perks and if gratitude is not practised, entitlement and complacency can creep in. As we tend to be an exceptionally social bunch, over my time attending Awards nights, relationship and team building activities, charity days as well as training and development breakfasts, I have taken the opportunity to open up conversations with people within the media, creative, and publishing world on the topic of gratitude to gather their insights.

While many people are happy to sing praises of our industry and all that it offers, a common theme is not one of gratitude where we acknowledge that we are fortunate to be exposed to the benefits we receive and the opportunity to be part of such an engaging industry.

If we don’t know any different and have nothing to compare this industry to, then we could be forgiven for thinking that the genuine care for our people through training and development, and the significance we place on building culture and networks, is normal in everyday workplaces.

I consider myself fortunate; I have worked in many other industries before I landed here and from my exposure, I can certainly say our industry is an incredible environment for growth and development. The work is all encompassing, and you put in the hard yards but the rewards and benefits compensate for the hours we all put in. This is certainly not what I experienced in previous working environments.

Personally, I am exceptionally grateful to work in the creative world of media. The list of “pinch me” moments and experiences I’ve had is extremely long.

I feel it’s the right time and I am encouraging our industry to stop and appreciate how incredibly fortunate we are to have the opportunities and work in such a vibrant and creative industry.

I propose we start a gratitude movement.

In our industry, growth and development is given priority, self-learning is made easy, everyone is encouraged to bring their best version of themselves to work. No two days are ever the same, it’s exceptionally fast-paced and change is inevitable, but we are equipped with the right tools to manage this pace.

Showing gratitude for many of the perks of our industry is a great way to overthrow the shadow of gratitude, which can show up as entitlement.

Lead by example and be grateful for your team, your colleagues, the amazing invitations that show up in your inbox, the motivational speakers we are exposed to and unbelievable celebrations. Show up to events you say you will attend, and be grateful to the event organisers for hosting them. Our industry is social and encourages collaboration and creativity, so get involved and actively participate. 

Showing gratitude is also a key ingredient for building a positive workplace culture. Dr Nicole Lipkin stresses in ‘Why leaders should cultivate gratitude’, the importance of gratitude as it breeds engagement and interaction, builds resilience and helps achieve goals.

Supporting this theme, the Harvard Medical School’s‘Giving thanks can make you happier’ states that inpositive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Therefore, gratitude helps people: feel more positive emotions; relish good experiences; improve their health; deal with adversity; and generally build stronger relationships.

What can you do right now to start practicing more gratitude?

  1.        Attend a Resilience Project talk - https://theresilienceproject.com.au/public-talks/
  2.        Compliment and thank your team for being authentic
  3.        Make time to reflect each day on what you are grateful for. Write it down.
  4.        Be authentic and show up as you
  5.        Be an active and reliable participant in your organisation and participate with gratitude in the activities that are organised.
  6.        Acknowledge the shadow that shows up as entitlement and throw gratitude at it

To close, I’d like to show my gratitude to the wonderful world of media and especially my employer, PHD. To work in an agency that leads by example is powerful - thanks to those who inspire me daily. And finally, thank you to you too for reading my article.

I challenge you to practise gratitude and help this movement take off across our industry – after all, it can only make us stronger, happier and more fulfilled in our roles – which ultimately leads to better creativity and outcomes. It’s too easy to become complacent otherwise.

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