Look Back With Gratitude
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."
—Melody Beattie, author
For most of you, 2009 has probably been pretty tough. I've heard plenty of great stories from people who are thriving despite the recession, but they seem to be the exception rather than the rule, as many readers report they are struggling with budget cuts or outright program elimination. And at the same time that the budget for motivating employees, partners and customers has been reduced, the need for that motivation is greater than ever.
As you look back on a year that is now drawing to its close, you might be thinking about programs that have been cancelled, people who have been let go, projects and plans that had to be put on hold for now.
And as you consider what's coming in 2010, you are likely still worried.
The economy is showing signs of slow recovery, but unemployment is still high, and the recovery we're getting is projected to be very gradual. As things start to improve, though, workloads will only increase, and many companies will not be adding to their workforce. This means workers who are already stretching to cover more work than they can handle will only see an increase in that overload.
Many of you are likely anticipating the effects of these trends, and it's more critical now than ever to take steps to position motivation as a necessary function in your company or organization.
To that end, you'll want plenty of examples of successful programs. If you've been tracking the ROI and benefits of your own programs—great! Be sure to tell the stories of those successes to everyone who will listen. If you haven't been tracking ROI, you can find plenty of examples through the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) and other associations. Find a clearinghouse of information at www.incentivecentral.org. You can also find plenty of help on these pages, and on our Web site at www.pipmag.com.
And yes, regardless of the steps you take, if the money isn't there, you're forced to cut back. There are ways to do that without cutting your program completely, though. Talk to suppliers and professionals in the incentive market to find out how to adjust your program to changing times, as well as to strategize for the coming recovery. Because if you're not ahead of the game, motivating employees, customers and partners before the recovery strengthens and your competition is? You'll be playing catch-up.
But before you sink into doom and gloom about the past and worry about the future, take a moment right now to think about the things that have gone right. Nothing is ever completely negative. You can always find a little light, a little something to hold onto and be grateful for.
Try this out: Write down three things over the past year that have worked. Now think about how you can build on those for next year. You can almost always find something that's good. Something that's right. Something that doesn't leave you stressed and worried, but instead makes you feel good about what you do.
As the national day of eating too much turkey and falling asleep in front of the television—also known as "Thanksgiving"—approaches, take a moment to not worry about the past and not get stressed about the future. Take a day to really be thankful for what you still have, for the good things you've done, and for all the positive movements and actions you can take in the coming year.