Don’t let Black Friday and Cyber Monday get all the attention or fuel holiday fatigue! There’s another day this week we feel is important to celebrate: Giving Tuesday.
Giving Tuesday is the final unofficial post-Thanksgiving holiday. We have a day for giving thanks, a day for getting deals, a day for shopping at small businesses and a day for getting deals online.
Now it’s time to give back and set aside the shopping bags for a day. The motto of this year’s Giving Tuesday is #unselfie — reminding us to be unselfish! Giving Tuesday organizers are asking participants to help unselfish acts go viral with the hashtag #unselfie on social media.
Giving Tuesday is a fantastic opportunity to rally employees and coworkers around the theme of gratitude. Read on to learn how to spread gratitude naturally in your workplace and community on this special day.
Robert Emmons, a psychology professor and world-renowned gratitude expert, recently shared a profound personal revelation.
On Giving Tuesday’s website, Emmons writes about learning gratitude “from the inside out.”
For a long time Emmons was convinced that gratitude required, “going out and getting what I did not have” — a gratitude journal, candles to light, special time for meditation, a smartphone app, a retreat.
He realized, however, that growing in gratitude is what mattered most. This began with “a greater awareness of what I already do have and living in that reality.”
He now cautions against “to-do gratitude” or “checklist gratitude.” Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a gratitude journal or a smartphone app if they remind us to be grateful, but gratitude isn’t about a checklist!
When we make gratitude task-oriented, we get distracted and try to measure our “progress, or lack thereof,” which trains us to feel discouraged when we fail and proud when we succeed.
“We may get good at the kind of gratitude that isolates us from others, but not the kind of gratitude that connects us,” warns Emmons.
That’s why he promotes the idea of “self-forgetfulness” (#unselfie!). Forgetting ourselves, focusing on our connections with others, and sharing our gifts, “totally turns gratitude inside out. But it is what is necessary if gratitude is to become thanksgiving.”
Interestingly, gratitude and peak work performance have something in common. We do our best work when we’re in a state of “self-forgetfulness” or “flow.”
how to be “unselfie”
The Giving Tuesday website is an excellent resource on how to (as Emmons suggests) focus our gratitude outward.
The website offers tons of tools for learning and publicity: free downloadable graphics, logos and banners, plus an #unselfie template, a volunteer app, and education toolkits.
You’ll also find printer-friendly mini case studies of what companies around the U.S., from small businesses to corporations, are doing to give back on Giving Tuesday.
Here are four quick ideas for connecting employees on Giving Tuesday:
- Pool money for a team or company-wide donation — Harness the natural energy of the day to make the push for a good cause and shared goal.
- Volunteer together — Even if it’s just an hour over lunch, your time matters and it matters even more when an entire team or workforce is working together.
- Give appreciation — Make a commitment to tell each other stories of gratitude, online or face-to-face.
- Help good go viral — Post photos tagged #unselfie and #GivingTuesday to share the blessings of gratitude.
Above all, remember that gratitude shouldn’t feel like a task or self-improvement exercise. It’s about making others feel good — and then you will, too!
For an in-depth guide to building a vibrant, everyday culture of workplace gratitude, download our FREE eBook, “Transforming Your Workplace with Gratitude.” You’ll be amazed at how easy it is.
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