As we enter the season of Thanksgiving, it’s easy to see how gratitude has its place in your personal life, but it’s not as easy to see how it fits in your business life.
Reflecting on many years in this business, we recall a time when challenges felt like constant battles. When you start a small business, you know you’re walking into an environment that will be challenging because you are building something from scratch. Every small business knows the feeling of having those moments when you have to assess if you want to throw in the towel or keep pushing.
We had a lot happen the past three years, like many other businesses, from the COVID shutdown, to family illnesses, to shifting employees. And there was a point where we had to take a step back and ask ourselves what we really wanted. In reflection of all of these challenges, we feel gratitude because we had to go through it to be able to pull us in the new direction and move forward rather than staying the same.
And as we look back we realize that “even when life was knocking us down, we had to see our way through the doubt.” Our brand survived because we loved it enough to help it survive, even through the challenges, and to reimagine the original vision that we had to help it become what it is today.
So how can you do the same? Well in our case we think about the companies we spent over 20 hours invested in proposals that don’t materialize into a client. In the past, this might have felt like a loss, but we’ve learned to view it as a positive outcome – perhaps it wasn’t the right fit, and that’s perfectly okay. This perspective shift is hard. It’s easy to focus on the negative especially as a small business owner, because you’re constantly in the thick of it. The attitude of burn out, constant worry, constant change, limits one ability to just stop and breathe a sigh of thankfulness. By expressing gratitude for missed opportunities, we found ourselves attracting clients who aligned with our values and shared a genuine desire to make a difference, and detracting clients who wanted to just add to the noise.
As our CEO, Alisa Vossen put it in our upcoming “Attitude to Gratitude” podcast episode:
“I appreciate every time I lose a client because I don’t ever want to take earning a client for granted. We should not be awarded a project if we have not earned the trust of that client. Just because we have a good reputation in the industry doesn’t mean that we should win, period. There should always be healthy competition to keep everyone sharp”
Attitude to gratitude is the recognition that earning a client’s trust should never be taken for granted. Any business assuming that they should get clients based on past reputation is treading on dangerous ground. Businesses must understand that being the sole choice is a bad position, because competition fuels improvement. Losing a client propels us to work harder, be better, and appreciate the wins that are truly earned. This mantra has become ingrained in the very fabric of 522 Productions and how we work with clients.
In our workspace, there’s a shared understanding among our team that a project isn’t the finish line; it’s a stepping stone for ongoing learning. Completing ten or twenty projects doesn’t signify mastery. Our team operates with a unique mindset – no one assumes they’ve “got” a project; instead, it’s viewed as working on a project that is ever changing and can always be better. The significance of gratitude in this continuous process is emphasized, acknowledging that many companies stumble when they fail to appreciate the opportunity to delve into extra work.
We stay true, thankful when a client picks us, and we give back by putting in extra effort. It’s how we live and work. It’s not about knowing the idea of attitude to gratitude, rather letting it shape everything we do in business and our personal lives. In our journey through ups and downs, we’ve learned the real impact of gratitude – it keeps us growing and appreciating what we have.