Do you do more, work harder or feel better when you are thanked or acknowledged? Are you driven by external stimuli or by internal messages? Does it matter to you if you get a pat on your back or not? Certainly, you enjoy having someone notice and praise you in good work. But after a recent meeting, I wondered if the prize we need is sometimes everything it is crazy to be.
I started asking myself these questions after I had a magical experience in the ladies' room at Penn Station. Yes … ladies room! It is a rather temporary environment especially when it is located, but nature had a greater calling on this day. It was, of course, a line. As I waited, I couldn't help but notice, first, someone sings. When I reached my great need, the song became louder and happier. When I was able to gain insight into who were singing, it was the bathroom servant. She greeted each individual with a smile and helped each one individually as they needed a paper hand. She buzzed about as if she was her queen palace and she was going to make you feel as good as possible. It really attached me because, well – we were in Penn Station after all and her job was "just" the bathroom attendant. When I left, I noticed how I felt (other than totally lightened for using facilities!). I felt happier. Her good vibes had worn me and I knew everyone else she was in contact with.
At home, I couldn't help but think of this woman. She made being the bathroom attendant the most wonderful, important and glamorous job around. She brought so much personal energy and joy into her work. If she felt bad about not having a better job or not being recognized or thankful, it certainly wasn't visible to anyone. What was obvious for everyone to experience was her light, her pride in herself and her positivity, and the fact that she was going to be the best darn bathroom attendant someone had ever experienced!
I carried this with me for months when I went through a difficult stretch of my work. And when I had a rough day, I didn't feel like what I was doing about it or someone was acknowledging my donations, the light in the bathroom came in mind. And I would decide that no matter whether the circumstances – thank you or not, I was going to be the best darn worker I knew how to be because she had shown me how.
We're all stuck in the ruts, so next time you just feel a little bit about what you're doing at work or even your family contribution, try this:
- Keep in mind: no matter how feasible the project, zero in every aspect of movement and action. Notice all shades. Just keep in mind what you're doing, creating ripples of positive energy.
- List It: Create an appreciation list. Pay particular attention to the little kindness (as someone keeps the door for you) that you receive. Slow it down and make sure you don't miss out on something wonderful in front of you.
- Promise: Don't forget to put yourself on the list with gratitude! Even if you feel it is silly to do, do it anyway.