In a time of extended crisis, a little thanks can go a long way. But for busy professionals, gratitude often falls to the bottom of our “to-do” lists. We’re all doing more with less and juggling the personal and professional challenges 2020 has brought. It’s easy to get caught up in these day-to-day struggles and lose sight of the bigger picture.
I find the best way to refocus is to look outward and ask: How can I better serve my colleagues and community? When we shift our focus to using our talents and resources in service to others, gratitude naturally follows. And in a year when we’re all feeling a bit disconnected, serving others brings us closer.
At Lucas Group, I’m on the Culture Club Committee, which includes community service and outreach. While our volunteer work looks a bit different this year – in-person gatherings are very limited – our commitment to giving back is stronger than ever. Here’s how we’re keeping the spirit of service alive at Lucas Group, and how you can do the same at your company:
Host a virtual fundraising challenge.
Last year, our team volunteered at the Houston Food Bank, helping to sort food donations and pack meals for students to ensure they have a fresh, nutritious meal after the school day ends. Supporting local food banks has always been important to me and since moving to Houston, it’s been an honor to build such strong ties between Lucas Group and our area food bank. While we can’t bring a large group to volunteer in person this year, we can still host virtual challenges to collect needed items and ensure the food bank can continue its important mission. We’re also bringing a small team to the food bank before Thanksgiving and following COVID-safe guidelines to organize food donations. Consider applying a similar approach to volunteer work at your organization. What can people do individually that will have a powerful collective impact?
Look for opportunities to involve the whole company. I like to get everyone in my office involved in volunteer work by making the experience as easy and accessible as possible. For example, during the holidays, I’ve organized a mini Angel Tree for my coworkers, bringing Salvation Army Angel tags into the office and letting teams or individuals pick their own Angels. Sometimes a department will work together to fulfill a “big wish” for an Angel, like purchasing a new bicycle. Everyone can participate at a level that’s right for them. If you’re struggling with volunteer participation at your organization, consider barriers to involvement and how you can streamline the process to be accessible for everyone.
Create a pay-it-forward movement in your organization.
In addition to serving your community, consider how you can activate the spirit of service within your organization and share gratitude with your colleagues. If your team has a weekly update call, why not start the call with a gratitude moment and thank a teammate for going above and beyond? Maybe it was someone who jumped in last minute to finish a big proposal or solved a client challenge. Don’t forget your colleagues who are doing the behind-the-scenes-work to make our remote work lives smoother, like solving technical difficulties. Invite this week’s gratitude recipient to nominate someone for the following week.
Serving others doesn’t have to be a grand, over-the-top gesture. Rather, it’s an attitude we bring to our daily lives and a commitment to showing up– dropping off a hot meal for a friend, gathering donations for a community group, and taking a moment to let a colleague know how much we appreciate their hard work.
If we learn one thing from 2020, it’s that tomorrow is not promised. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude for our loved ones, our friends and colleagues, and our community starts with giving back.