Gratitude “candy” is dandy, but bitter is quicker, which is why you should start a business attitude journal.
Ever since Oprah’s entrance into the gratitude arena, business-centric websites have continued to club me over the head by suggesting I start a gratitude journal.
I’m all for expressing thankfulness about people and experiences when it’s warranted. Gratitude is grand. But whether you’re running your own business or employed elsewhere, it may not always be gratifying.
I’ll assume some of you already keep a gratitude journal. When you look back at previous entries, how does rereading them make you feel?
After an initial smile or two at the beatific bounty contained within, doesn’t your gratitude journal seem a bit of a snoozefest? Spare me the pretend horror of thinking there’s no other way to steady yourself than by walking the path of positive self-affirmation.
I started my attitude journal on January 1, 2016. It makes me laugh–out loud! As a micro-business owner, it also allows me to purge my darkest thoughts as needed. (Note: Because my entries are combustible upon exposure to sunlight, they’re for my eyes only.)
Let me show you how it’s done. In each example, we’ll start with gratitude and end with ATTITUDE. Fasten your seat belts, All About Eve aficionados; it’s going to be a bumpy blog post…
Transform Your Gratitude for Employees into Attitude: A common entry I would expect to see in a business gratitude journal is thankfulness for the good work and deeds of your employees (or peers, or even your boss).
But what if the people who work for you aren’t always on their best behavior? What if (sometimes) they botch a project, task or meeting, but good?
Instead of lying to your gratitude journal, achieve managerial nirvana by shunting your true thoughts to the dark side of “journaling” (see #8). For example:
Gratitude Journal: “I’m so grateful Mackinley (Mack) in shipping saved the company $5,000 today by averting an order error.”
Attitude Journal: “I’m grateful that Mack, the shipping clerk I never should have hired who reminds me of Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, had enough sense to notice her colossal error for the Initech brochure order. She removed 195 of (an overgenerous) 200 complimentary Lettuce Shine flash drives just before sending out the brochures. OMFG!”
Transform Your Gratitude for Business Friends into Attitude: Other entries in a “working” gratitude journal probably highlight remarkable business pals and strategic partners.
These are the people who consistently add viral juice to your marketing pitcher of Hawaiian Punch.
But can you truly count on each business acquaintance you consider a “friend” to follow through? How about those times you anticipated a referral phone call, e-mail or in-person appointment via aforementioned business amigo, but it never happened?
There’s no satisfaction in sugarcoating these disappointments in a gratitude journal. For a more cathartic experience, reach for your persnickety attitude journal:
Gratitude Journal: “I’m so grateful (despite no actual leads just yet) my friend Bill Balabusta continues to think of me and my business. He generously distributes my business cards at many an after-hours networking event. What a nice guy!”
Attitude Journal: “I’m ever so grateful I don’t pay any attention to Bill Balabusta’s lame-o, halfhearted attempts to promote my business when he freeloads at local networking happy hours with a drink or two (or three) in him. No wonder his college nickname was “Bill Ball-buster!” 😉
Transform Your Gratitude for Clients into Attitude: Clients and customers–can’t live with them (unless one happens to be your significant other), can’t proclaim your marketplace endeavor a for-profit business without them.
What about your MIA (or “fired”) clients … we all have a few of those! Again, an attitude journal is a private outlet for setting free the negative thoughts caged within your mind. These are words and sentences you never (as in NEVER) share with another living soul.
Here’s a cotton-candy cone of “client catharsis,” spun from an ethereal blend of reality, bad judgment, and pixie dust:
Gratitude Journal: “I’m grateful for Howsa Payne’s thoughtfulness–such a detail-oriented client. He never fails to send me highly descriptive edits/changes for the endless number of thumbnail captions I draft for his website.”
Attitude Journal: “I’m beyond grateful that I’ve decided never to work with Howsa Payne again. It’s possibly quite mutual. Other than sending me most of his scribbled edits by fax, not highlighting his edits the one time he actually sent me a Word file, radically changing his website’s message but expecting the cost to remain the same, and constantly dropping hints for a discount of some sort (despite our signed project agreement), I’ve had the time of my life. Never again!”
Transform Your Mundane, Generic Gratitude into Attitude: I’m confident you’ll transition effortlessly from a “rainbows and unicorns” gratitude journal to a Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy attitude journal.
This final example isn’t a workplace entry. I don’t want you to feel obligated to keep a kick-ass journal that’s strictly business:
Gratitude Journal: “I’m grateful for my parents’ general good health and longevity, despite their occasional mishaps.”
Attitude Journal: “I’m (lucidly?) grateful that I will fight all future urges to revert to imbecilic (is this even a word?!?) behavior when I’m a “seasoned” citizen in my 70s and 80s. I’m specifically referring to the necessity of installing grab bars in all bathroom tub/shower areas, so I minimize my risk of falling down and breaking a hip or sustaining a concussion. Oh dear Lord, WHY ME?!?”
Essential Tips for Maintaining Your Attitude Journal: Since there is a bit of risk involved in keeping the “Mad Hatter” version of a gratitude journal, common sense dictates taking precautions. Faulty assumptions are bad for your journal’s health…
1) This rule is ironclad: Manually record your attitude journal on paper. Do not keep this journal online or on your computer, not even in Evernote or a Word document.
2) Do not tell your boss/supervisor, employees, and/or peers about the journal. It is for your eyes and brain only.
3) Keep the journal in a secure (i.e., locked) location. If it’s not feasible to store the journal at work, put it in the lock box at home. I’m serious.
4) Memorize the first and second rules of Fight Club. These rules apply to your attitude journal at all times.
5) Transform your attitude journal into a special keepsake by sheltering it in a high-end writing journal/notebook.
6) Add visual zest to the journal–don’t settle for writing in black or blue medium-point pen. Go vivid with a signature color such as chartreuse, amber, or turquoise (gel pens are ideal). Let your attitude flow!
Do you already keep a gratitude journal? If so, for how long have you dutifully written about your 50 shades of gratefulness? Might you consider spicing up your current journal with any of my satirical-yet-cathartic suggestions?
Does your version of a gratitude journal exist only as a mental to-do list? Are you now more willing to cross over into attitude territory via an actual journal?
I admit: My blog posts always incorporate edgy humor. However, my intent regarding an attitude journal is sincere. It’s a surefire way of purging negative thoughts and feelings without offending the people orbiting your professional solar system.
Lori Shapiro is the owner of By All Writes LLC, a business-to-business (B2B) company in Marlton, New Jersey, that plies its trade via copywriting, editing, and other content-marketing services. She revels in shielding her clients from the time-consuming pain of writing their own print or web marketing and promotional copy.
Please call Lori Shapiro of By All Writes LLC at 856-810-9764 (or e-mail her via firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule the gratis 20-minute consultation that will resolve your current copywriting or editing dilemma…