The ability to choose gratitude at work has changed my life.

Two years ago, I was eight rounds of chemo and 28 days of radiation into my stage 3 cancer treatment. I spent years dealing with toxic work culture, managers who loved to micro-manage, and negative work environments. I choose to take all this negativity and respond with stress and overwhelm.

What I did not realize then is I have a choice. I cannot control the behavior of others,’ but I can choose how I want to respond. We spend at least 40-hours at work each week. If we are stressed and negative at work, it comes home with us. It impacts our families, quality of life, and our health.

Here is the lesson as we move into 2020, we get to choose how we respond to negativity at work. We can choose to treat others as valuable human beings at work. We can choose to be happy and lead with positivity.

Happiness and gratitude are not situational. Many say, “I will be happy when.” For me, I said I would be happy when I received the next promotion, when my senior leadership acknowledged my contribution, when my children were grown, etc. The reality is, I had it reversed according to research. Small moments generate more happiness than large ones. By choosing happiness and positivity, we can all start to love what we do, come into work excited, and connect with the greater purpose of the organization.

I challenge us to choose gratitude and positivity at work for 2020. This means

  • Responding to someone who is stressed with empathy
  • Recognizing and appreciating those around us
  • Assuming positive intent from our colleagues
  • When a peer or leader is doing something you disagree with, show a sense of curiosity instead of negativity or defensiveness
  • Being present and savoring the moments at work

  • Choosing to bring your authentic, best self to work
  • Recognizing the outsiders at work with a sense of belonging and community
  • Deciding each day how you are going to go into work. Are you going to go in with a sense of anticipation and happiness? Or a feeling of anger and dread? Remember, you get to choose.

I wish I could go back in time and make different choices about how I choose to react to negativity at work. Would this have affected cancer growth? Probably not. But it would have given me many more years of happiness at work.

The good news is I am fired up for 2020. I am happy, healthy, present, and savor each moment at work and in life. I choose happiness. I choose to respond to negativity with empathy and curiosity. I have developed a different way of navigating work and life, one where I savor and am grateful for the small moments.

I challenge you for today, pause for a moment. Find something you appreciate at work. Choose to be grateful and positive.