Project Practitioners > Professional Gratitude, Recognition & Growth

Professional Gratitude, Recognition & Growth

By Ann Drinkwater

While I always try to reflect on events as they occur; I realized this month that I could do more to "live in the moment" and reflect on professional lessons more regularly. Being so rushed and driven can certainly mean getting more done, but it can also result in glossing over some rich and meaningful encounters and the corresponding growth. While we may not always look at our professional interactions as something to be grateful for, we should. The people, projects and experiences we have in our professions shape our future, allow us to grow and allow us to shape the future of others. Pleasant or unpleasant, we should be thankful for the lessons we are presented.


I'm a Broadway buff. I love a feel-good musical. One of my top picks is Wicked. In the musical, Glinda (the good witch) makes a connection and communicates/sings to Elphaba (later coined the Wicked Witch) that people come into our lives for a meaning:

“. . .that people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return”

So why am I talking about Broadway in the middle of my post? The score and lyrics for this musical ring true to all aspects of our lives, including our professions. The people and projects we are exposed to are presented to us for a reason. We should take what we can from all experiences and be appreciative for the relationships and experience these provide.

  • Daily Reflection – during our commutes, time at the gym or other interrupted periods, think through the day’s events and what transpired. Don’t just stop there.
    • Think about why things occurred the way they did and what led them to this outcome,
    • Think about the people we interacted with and what we can learn from them,
    • Think about the qualities and attributes respected and admired in our colleagues and associates,
    • Don’t wait until the end of the week, or for heaven’s sake, the end of the year.
  • Build Relationships – share our positive impression of others with others. Let those we value know how they affect us and how we feel about them and what they have given us. Even when we are professionally offended, we should create an open exchange and work to improve the relationship. We are conditioned to not get emotional over work matters, but our positive interactions and relationships with others should never be held back.
  • Adapt & Grow – accept the lessons learned and use your knew information and knowledge in all future decisions and interactions. Don’t be stubborn, but alter your approach when we receive new insight.
  • Give Back – accept the lessons to be learned and share the knowledge and relationships we have formed.

If you have rushed through 2009, now’s the time to take a closer look at the events and interactions we faced over the past year. Consider a new year’s resolution to take the time for daily reflection and live more in the moment when it comes to human interactions. Why wait to reap the benefits of the growth that comes from reflection and fostered relationships?

  • Take the time to reflect on what has been presented to you,
  • Always try and appreciate what is in front of you,
  • Think about how you can apply new information,
  • Recognize the significance of the people and projects you are presented,
  • Learn from all what you are presented to learn,
  • Hold on to relationships,
  • Give back what you have just been given and last, but not least. . .
  • Show frequent and ongoing appreciation and gratitude to your colleagues and associates.


Not all comments are posted. Posted comments are subject to editing for clarity and length.

This is a good point.

All to often, we all get caught up in our own thought process, problems, and concerns.

Forgetting about others is a huge mistake. Even when people are conscious of building relationships, many times they only focus on relationships they think will give them the most in return.

The best way is to build relationships with everyone, at every level, because you never know how the relationships will benefit your life.

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