In this episode, Founder of Say It With Gratitude, Scott Colby, talks about creating a happier workplace through gratitude.
Today, Scott talks about the 5 languages of appreciation in the workplace, staying connected with handwritten notes, and how gratitude affects the bottom line. How can you infuse gratitude in the workplace?
Hear about gratitude journaling, the gratitude toolkit, and get Scott’s advice to his younger self, all on today’s episode of The Healthy, Wealthy & Smart Podcast.
More about Scott Colby
After an eye-opening experience in Guatemala, during which Scott witnessed firsthand the power of gratitude, even in poor living conditions, he launched Say It With Gratitude, which helps companies create happy workplaces by having gratitude as a core value.
In addition to delivering his message of gratitude around the world, Scott promotes the power of thank you notes, leads gratitude adventures in the wilderness, authored a book called The Grateful Entrepreneur, and developed The Grateful Deck, a card game consisting of questions that spark meaningful conversations.
Healthy, Wealthy, Smart, Gratitude, Appreciation, Connections, Affirmation, Quality Time, Service, Gifts, Touch,
FREE Gift: Gratitude Toolkit.
To learn more, follow Scott at:
Facebook: Scott Colby.
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Read the Full Transcript Here:
Welcome to the healthy, wealthy and smart podcast where healthcare meets business with your host me, Dr. Karen Litzy. And just as a reminder, the information in this podcast is for entertainment purposes only, and is not to be used as personalized medical advice. Enjoy the show. Hey, everybody, welcome back to the podcast. I am your host, Karen Litzy. And today's episode is all about gratitude. So often we talk about gratitude in the context of our personal life, which is great, there's nothing wrong with that. But today, in this episode, we challenge you to start practicing gratitude in the workplace. So to talk us through is Scott Colby. After an eye opening experience in Guatemala, during which Scott witnessed firsthand the power of gratitude even in poor living conditions. He launched say it with gratitude, which helps companies create happy workplaces by having gratitude as a core value. In addition to delivering his message of gratitude around the world. Scott promotes the power of thank you notes, leads gratitude adventures in the wilderness, authored a book called The Grateful entrepreneur and develop the grateful deck a card game consisting of questions that spark meaningful conversations. So into the in today's episode, we talk about the five languages of appreciation in the workplace. So if you are a manager, or a CEO, or you own your own practice, you're gonna want to know what those five languages are. Because that's how you're going to want to speak to your employees, how to stay connected with handwritten notes, and how gratitude gratitude affects the bottom line. So I want to give a big thank you to Scott for coming on and talking about gratitude in the workplace. And so I'm very grateful for him. Everyone enjoyed today's episode. Hey, Scott, welcome to the podcast. I'm happy to have you on today.
Hey, Karen, thank you for having me. Looking forward to a great conversation.
Yeah, it's my pleasure. And today we're going to be talking about happiness and how to create a happier workplace through gratitude. So before we get into the meat and potatoes of our conversation, can you let the listeners know a little bit more about why you came across this topic? Why this is like your expertise. So go ahead and give the listeners a little bit more backstory, if
you will? Yeah, certainly. So back in 2014, I took a trip to Guatemala, I was there to build schools with an nonprofit called hug it forward. And we were building schools out of plastic bottles. And one of my first memories of that volunteer experience, it was about a week long experience was I was riding a bus with 25 other volunteers. And we pulled up to the site. In a community called Chinook stay in Guatemala, we pulled up to the site where we were going to be volunteering, and I didn't know really what to expect. And I looked out the window of the bus. And it looked like the entire community had come out to greet us. And there was people of all ages, kids and parents and grandparents. And as I stepped off the bus with the other volunteers, the community had formed two lines. And we walked in between the two lines of people. And we felt like rock stars, or at least I did, walking down the red carpet, there were people waving the American flag, there was music blaring over the loudspeaker, just they were hugging us and just had smiles all over their faces. And I really learned that they were just being grateful for the volunteers that we had taken time out of our schedule to take that trek to Guatemala. And the other thing that I learned over my week long experience there in genetics day, was that the community had very little, very little clean water. They don't have the smartphones and the internet that we take for granted very little food, cramped living conditions. But they had community they had each other. And again, they had gratitude and appreciation for just other human beings. And as I thought to myself, when I got back, I was living in Denver at the time, when I thought to myself, after I return home, like cash, like how am I living my life, I'm living a life filled with complaining, thinking about all the things that I don't have. And in stark contrast to just what I experienced, and also looking at my life and other people around me, are always on our phones and we're always have our head buried in screens, and we're anxious and we're overwhelmed and we're not making deep connect actions anymore. It seemed like so that was kind of the first start that I had in my head, that, hey, I wanted to do something different in my life to make, to really live in gratitude, and to live with an attitude that I learned from the community and nginx de Guatemala. And then also, I think, and we'll probably get to this a little bit later in the conversation, just my experience in the corporate world of, yeah, you know, I've had jobs where I don't feel appreciated in the workplace and how much of an impact that made to my to my happiness, we spend a lot of time at work. And if you're not happy with your job, and a lot of that is not feeling valued or not feeling listened to that can really impact your your mood and your attitude. And really, whether you want to stay with a company or not. So kind of putting all that together that led me to start a brand called, say with gratitude. And it started with thank you cards, and now it's morphed into where I speak on the topic of workplace gratitude.
And you alluded to this, but I want to dive right in. So how does this translate into the workplace? How does that action of gratitude, that feeling of being appreciated? How do you translate that into a corporate setting, or, in my case, I'm a physical therapist, so maybe into a healthcare setting where people right now are really stressed out and burnt out. And, you know, and carrying a lot of student debt, and empathetic loads, and everything else? So how do you infuse gratitude? What are your recommendations? Yeah, and
that's a lot. And I, I'm glad you brought that up, I actually just came back from Wisconsin, where I was speaking at a healthcare conference on this very topic. I'm a big believer that it starts with you first. So start with the person before we can maybe bring it into the workplace, because we need that. We need to have that right attitude. It's hard to it's hard to spread gratitude around the workplace, if you're feeling, let's say, depressed and overwhelmed and stressed. So what can you do to start your own personal gratitude practice? I also have a health and fitness background. So I love that you're in, in physical therapy. And yeah, so I, I always talked about the analogy of, you know, when you're on an airplane, and they're given the safety instructions, if the oxygen mask comes down, please put it on yourself first, before helping others. And I talked about that, because if you're passed out, how are you going to help other people, but we can maybe not literally get passed out. But we can have the feeling of like, Hey, I just can't do it anymore. So I think we have to take care of ourselves first with self care. And there's a lot of different ways you could practice self care, but for this conversation, what how can you practice gratitude, and help you feel better gratitudes got that kind of magical powers that it can help you be more optimistic, feel less stress, more energy and things like that. So where do we begin here? There's various ways to practice gratitude. Probably the one that people maybe, you know, they think of when they think of the term gratitude, just keeping a gratitude journal and writing down what you're grateful for. I've got a tip there, though. I know a lot of people that do do that just kind of go through the motions. And then you don't really feel that difference. Like if you're just saying like, Hey, I'm grateful for my cat Oliver, which we now know as parents cat's name. I'm grateful for all of her my health and my job. And then you turn the page and you fill out the gratitude the next day. What does that actually mean? It probably is not going to get you into a frame of mind where you're living in gratitude. So we're, I suggest people take it further is if you're writing down, you're grateful for somebody or some something in your life. Follow that up. By writing down why you're grateful for those things, or that person, what is it about that person that you appreciate that you love? And then I take it even deeper and I teach people think about what your life would look like without that person? Or that that thing without that job without your teammate? What would life look like then? And then when you do that, you say what, why and what would your life look like without then it creates a more emotional response. So I'll have people do this in my breakout sessions. And that's usually the hears, people have tears because they start to think, oh my gosh, my life without this person, I couldn't even imagine it. So I think that is one way to start a personal gratitude practice. So you're actually like, Okay, you're, you're reminding yourself of the good in your life. And then what does that mean for work and work, we could talk about two different things. One is like, leading with gratitude, which, in a sense, I take that to mean creating a culture of gratitude and kindness. So in healthcare, trading, treating your patients, like real people, and that have a heart and not just transactional. So I like to, you know, give examples, so people can really think about what this might look like in the real world. So I my favorite coffee shop in Denver, when I lived, there was a coffee shop called fluid. They, they got to know me by asking questions. I went there on a regular basis. So it wasn't just like, hey, here's your coffee, give us money. It was people that took the time to get to know me a perfect example. There was one day when one of my other cats we had talked about cats before we hit record. My other cat, Nomar who who's not with us anymore. He was having two teeth pulled. And so I was a little bit anxious and the barista the manager there, she asked me like, hey, you know what's wrong? I told her, her cat was having a tooth pulled that day as well, just coincidentally, and she just said here, your coffee is on the house today. And it was just just a little thing. But something like that can go a long way. Chewy. Speaking of animals, they're a company that sells pet food and pet accessories to pet owners. I know a lot of pet owners will get their food from chewy on an auto order subscription basis, they automatically send the food every month, and they take money out of your credit card. So there's a lot of stories, but it goes like this. A lot of times when a pet owners, dog dies, let's say or a cat dies, and they'll call you and say hey, please stop my shipment, my dog has passed away. Chewy, of course will express sympathy. And then they'll say, okay, all those unopened bags that you may still have, we will refund your money for all of that. Don't send the food back, we will, we would love for you to donate that food to a local shelter. And then a lot of times in a few days, sympathy flowers and a sympathy card will show up on the doorstep in just as a as an expression of condolences. So chewy is a company that leads with gratitude. So they're not saying like, we need your money back or we need the food back or we can't send these flowers because it costs too much. They're treating their customers like human beings that have a heart.
And then we've got appreciation in the workplace in the sense of all right, we need to appreciate our teammates, right? There's an interesting statistic. This is kind of a old statistic, Karen, but it's still relevant and maybe worse today. 79% of people in a research study a few years ago said that they left their job, in part because they didn't feel appreciated at work. So it wasn't like, hey, we need more money. Or we need to be you know, get promoted. It was really just not feeling valued, not feeling heard or listened to and not feeling like they mattered. So that's why I like to talk about Okay, starting with yourself first and then spreading it to other people like your customers or patients but also your team. And a great book is the five languages of appreciation at work. It's kind of a follow up book to the five love languages, which is was a popular book that talked about relationships, personal relationships, and we all have a preferred way that we like to receive love. We also have a preferred way that we like to receive appreciation at work. And the languages are the same five languages as the original five love languages book. So think of things like words of affirmation, quality, time, acts of service, tangible gifts and physical touch. We all have a way that we like to be shown appreciation at work usually follows one of those five. And so basically the idea here is find out how your each teammate likes to be appreciated at work, and then appreciate them in that language on a consistent basis. So somebody likes words of affirmation. So you want to appreciate that person, by affirming them with words that can be written, it can be verbal, the idea is to do it consistently. Be very specific. Don't always make it tied to performance. Maybe make it you know, give them a shout out on why you like them, kind of like we talked about earlier, when we write down like, Why do you like somebody's work? Somebody that is loves words of affirmation will love hearing good things about them? So yeah, so that's just kind of a basic rundown. I know, that was a long answer. But I think it's important to, to get all three of those in personal gratitude, leading with gratitude, and then spreading appreciation to your team. Yeah,
that's three, kind of an easy framework for people to follow. And circling back to that gratitude list or gratitude journal. I used to keep one and then I did it. And then I did and now you know, it kind of goes in cycles. Do you have any advice for people on how to be consistent. And as a follow up, I think it's important for people to know that it doesn't always have to be really big things. I remember when I started, the coach that I was working with was saying, Well, you know, it doesn't always have to be big, grand things. It could be like, I'm grateful that I have an umbrella because it was raining today, or I'm grateful I have a warm jacket, because it's 30 degrees today. So it doesn't have to always be a person or an animal or a relationship.
Yeah, yeah. Great point. You want to keep it simple, right. So don't get overwhelmed. So I love your point there. So my first thought to your question was, you know, you've mentioned that you weren't super consistent with your gratitude journaling. I know, I'm not I'm actually not either. You know, I'm seen as gratitude guy. But gratitude journaling never has been something that I've been consistent at. So what I do want to I'll give a tip on how to be consistent. But before I do that, I do want to encourage the listeners to find something gratitude related that you do enjoy doing. So maybe your thing isn't keeping a gratitude journal, but maybe like complimenting somebody. So that is a sign of gratitude. Or a way to show somebody gratitude. Gratitude could be just sending a quick video to somebody. So maybe like, I'm not really much with written but I'll send them a video or an audio. And that could be your thing, or writing handwritten notes, could be your thing. But in terms of if you did want to start with gratitude journaling, and trying to figure out a way to be consistent with that right off the bat, you could do some things that can help you form a new habit, much like forming a new habit to exercise or something like that. setting yourself up for success. So breaking down the habit into the smallest thing possible. So maybe you just write down one word each day instead of trying to form an entire sentence. So that could be a way to break it down in a small, small miniscule habit. But also think about something that you're already doing, and stacking this habit on that and creating a trigger point. So suppose you make coffee every single day. And that's kind of a routine you're already in. So maybe you leave your gratitude journal by your coffee pot or your coffee maker, and just have that next to it as a reminder that oh, yeah, because a lot of times not keeping a habit is just we forget about doing it. So create a way that you will remember to do the habit by having something that you already do be that trigger that reminder, right.
So your habit, habit stacking.
Exactly, yeah, habit stacking. Yep. So you've heard of that. If you're doing something like if you're doing something like writing a handwritten note, I've tried to do like, writing handwritten notes every day, which I've been successful at for a while. That is a little bit more involved. But what I could do is think about the night before who I want to write the note to find the address, get the envelope out, get the card out, get the pen out, get the stamp out and put it all out. So I'm actually see it and everything's not like hidden away in a drawer. So make things visible. So I think yeah, those are my best advice to find something that you like doing so it might not be a gratitude journal. Once you find it breaking down in the smallest component possible. So it's one word versus a list of 10 things and then finally have it stack you know, do Do it while you're doing something that you already do every single day anyway.
Got it? Yeah, much easier makes it much more digestible than like, well, I don't know if I can write the journal and then write the why. And gosh, take me 30 minutes. And do I have time for this? And yeah, so that makes a lot of sense. And I can also, I should also say, like, you can do it on your phone, too, like the notes section of your phone? Yeah. Yeah. You know. So that's, that's a possibility as well. So if you have like, a commute after work, where you're not driving, you can, you can like make that a habit at the end of your day to just throw something into your phone or something like that.
Yeah, I got one more. Yeah, it's similar to a gratitude journal to gratitude jar, which is huge. It's just take any jar. And you can just cut out slips of paper and just write down one thing that you're grateful for. Each day in the paper, maybe you have a family, and you get the whole family involved. And I like this idea. Because the jar can be visible. And it's fun. It's almost fun to watch the stacks of the slips of paper grow in the jar tilde, Giorgio stuffed, filled with gratitude, then you could pick a day, Thanksgiving Day, New Year's Day, maybe go and bring your family together, you sit in a room, on the sofa in the living room, and you go through like hay who said they were grateful for you know, chocolate, and then somebody raises their hand. That was me. And then you said, then you can go into more of the Hey, why did you pick chocolate? What is it about it? And then you can have these amazing conversations as a family. Or you could even do something like this at work as well.
Yeah, I was just thinking that if you have, you know, maybe a smaller to medium size, like a small company, or I know a lot of physical therapy offices. They don't have hundreds and hundreds of people in the same office. So this is something that's actually like, doable. You know, because I think if you had like, if you're in an office with like, 300, people, like it might be a little overwhelming. But most, I think healthcare offices, you know, if you have 20 people, I think that would be like quite a bit. So if you're in a smaller office, it's a great way to stay connected with your co workers. And another way of staying connected is and you'd mentioned this here, and there are handwritten notes. So how do you incorporate handwritten notes in the workplace? And are you only doing this if you're the boss?
Yes, I so handwritten notes I love it's how I started my company, say with gratitude, I, I had kids draw pictures. And I turned them into thank you cards that I sold to individuals and companies. But I love handwritten notes because it provides a connection point between you and the recipient of the note. So it's a way to not only appreciate somebody but actually connect to them on a deeper level. So whereas you know, writing in a gratitude journal, you might be the only one that sees that a handwritten note to people can see it or maybe even more in the workplace. You can use it a couple of different ways. One could be if you start to learn, who in your company likes words of affirmation, right, we talked about the five languages of appreciation. If you find out who likes words of affirmation, then you can make it a point to write a handwritten note to those people and know it doesn't need to only be the boss. I think if you're creating a culture of gratitude, I think everybody should be involved. If you're trying to figure out like, hey, I want to start this gratitude at work thing, not sure where to start, handwritten notes, I think can be a great place to start before you kind of fine tune your your appreciation, tools that you want to use. The kind of latest research shows from the authors of the five languages of appreciation and workplace that almost 50% of workers choose words of affirmation as their first way that they like to receive appreciation at work. So it's a great place to start. Of course also, you can easily write handwritten notes to your, your your patients to appreciate them. We talked about appreciating your customers patients, more is more than just a transaction, like make them feel good. And there's a company that I interviewed the HR had a few years ago, I love what they do every week, like once a week, they would, as a team, they would get together at lunchtime for about an hour. And they would write handwritten notes to their customers. And I liked it two reasons. One, they were expressing gratitude to their team, or excuse me, to their customers, but to they were bonding over the act of writing gratitude notes as a company. So just imagine there's a few people in a room, they're grabbing lunch, they're writing notes, they were being creative, they were putting stickers on the notes. And they were able to kind of chat with their the co workers on a level that they don't normally do, because they're normally just focused on work. So they got to know their team, on a deeper level, just having these conversations as they were writing note to their customers. So it could be a great way to, to bring your team together to just bonding over the act of writing handwritten notes.
And here's the question that I think a lot of business owners are going to want to know. And you may, you may have an idea of what I'm going to ask here. But what does this do for the bottom line of a company? So you're spending this time you're bringing in people from your company? How does does this improve the bottom line? Will this help the company make more money?
Yep. So that one statistic that I mentioned that 79% of people left a job because they didn't feel appreciated at work? Turnover finding new workers as a high cost of business for a company. So anyway, the Yeah, the the research is showing that. Doing things like infusing gratitude at work, appreciating your team, connecting with them on a more deeper level. So a lot of people feel disconnected at work, because they've got a lot of emotional stuff, you know, in their lives are overwhelmed or stressed. But when they get to work, they don't chat about any of that. So there's a lot of research now that shows workplace loneliness is high. Six, up to 61% of all US employees are lonely. So lonely workers and workers that don't feel appreciated, they're disengaged, they're not as productive. They're calling in sick, they're stress. They're thinking about leaving their job, or they're actually leaving their job. And connecting with a team and showing appreciation to your team can change all of I don't know that there's actually hard numbers that are out there yet, but just know that there are studies have shown there's productivity increases, turnover decreases, sick days decreased. So all of this leads to companies that can actually save more money.
Yeah, no, I understand that. Yeah, that makes sense. But I had to ask that question, you know, because people are going to be like, Well, this sounds great. But what's it gonna do? Yeah, it's
the biggest probably, you know, obstacle in doing something like this, because a lot of businesses are like, well, you know, I know if I spend, you know, $100 on Facebook ads, I'm gonna get this exactly. Yeah. Right, and $1 for dollar return. And for something that's more of a soft skill like this, you might not exactly have that data, but just know that there's a lot of money being lost due to low productivity and high turnover. Yeah. And with appreciation and connecting can really solve a lot of this. Yeah,
no, that makes perfect sense. And now, before we wrap things up, I want you to one more time. Yes. Do you mind repeating the five languages of appreciation in the workplace?
Yeah, the five languages of appreciation are words of affirmation. Quality time. So that's the second, the one that second most popular quality time. So two people basically, spending time together like you and I are acts of service. So that could be like helping somebody with a time sensitive project. Tangible gifts. So that could be somebody that actually likes to receive a gift. And that's how they like to be appreciated. The thing is, they're the best you can make the gift. It doesn't have to be expensive, but the more personal, you can make it the better. So a gift of a pair of socks with my cat's face on them is better than handing me a Starbucks gift card because somebody that knows I'd like my cats has done their homework and that would be a really meaningful gift to me. And then physical touches the last one That's not seen very much in the workplace that's like, you know, high five pat on the shoulder for obvious reasons. Yeah, yep. Yeah, that one is usually not somebody's primary way they like to receive appreciation. So the first four are the ones that most things, you need to focus on those four languages. Right,
right. And speaking of gifts, you actually have a free gift for our listeners. So it's gratitude. toolkit.com. Can you talk a little bit more about that?
Yeah, that's really a toolkit with a bunch of goodies. So what'd you get there? I wrote a book called The Grateful entrepreneur, which I know you mentioned in the intro, that you get a digital copy of that book, that's all about creating meaningful relationships at work. I've got something else that I created called the grateful deck, which is 120 questions to start meaningful conversations, great to use to start meetings at work to just get to know your team a little bit better. And then I've also got 47 ways to practice personal gratitude, and 29 ways to use gratitude to grow your business. So that's all in this all digital downloads in the gratitude toolkit.
Perfect. And that's awesome. So if you want to go a little bit deeper into what we've spoken about today, then you're going to want to check out that gratitude toolkit. And again, it's www dot gratitude toolkit. All one word.com. All right. So is there anything that we didn't touch upon that you want to hit on? Or is there something that you want the listeners to their big takeaway here?
Yeah, big takeaway, I think, is just to start now, do something, compliment somebody flash somebody a smile, do something different. If you want to go a little bit deeper than that, write a handwritten note. And do those three, do the three things that I talked about in the journal, do it for your note? Who do you appreciate? Why do you appreciate them? What would your life look like if they weren't in your life and read that note to them, it's even more powerful than just handed it to them is to read it to them, the connection will be amazing. And the one thing one thing that we didn't hit on, that's kind of near and dear to my heart. Do some of this unplugged. So don't you know if somebody is talking to you Don't be on your phones, pay attention to them. That's a form of gratitude, a form of connecting is just listening. So I if you want to start a gratitude practice, think about doing this, like write your note without like, put your phone in a different room, you'll be more engaged. And you're going to think more clearly. So yeah, that's a I think a good good takeaway for that for the audience. Yeah,
that's great. I love it. And now, I have one more question. It's a question I asked everyone. Okay. That's knowing where you are now in your life. And in your career? What advice would you give to your younger self?
Oh, that's a great question. Lots of advice. I could give my younger self. So I was thinking about this, I would say, and this is I was trying to think of what am I still working on? Because and there's a lot but I was I'm gonna go with don't take things personally. So good. Something I still work out. I don't think I'll ever be like completely perfect with that. But yeah, if I could give my younger self that advice. Because I do take things personally, I'm sensitive. If somebody you know, I could have 100 compliments, and one naysayer, and I'm focused on that naysayer, I think it's human nature. And I take it personally, but but I think like, we don't know, like, at least for me, personally, I know I'm doing good in the world. And I'm changing lives. And I need to not be sensitive and not read social media sometimes and take that own advice of unplugged right and just hanging out with the people that I love. And I know that love me and, and, and really, I think just continue to connect with other human beings in a meaningful way. Get rid of the technology. Don't let negative comments bring you down. Because then it can affect your day, your week thing that affects your performance at work that affects how you relate to your loved ones. And so yeah, so don't take things personally. Advice that I would give my younger self but I would also continue to take that in my older self.
Yeah, I love it. That's so good. And now where can people find you? Where can they connect with you,
too? your main website is saved with gratitude.com you can always email me Scott at Scott colby.com. And then even on Facebook, my most probably active social media platform at Scott Colby.
Perfect. And we'll have links to all of this over at the podcast at podcast at healthy, wealthy smart.com. So you can always hit up the podcast website, and one click will take you to all of Scott's info. So Scott, thank you so much for coming on the podcast and sharing with us how to have gratitude and how to infuse that into our workplace in our jobs. So thanks so much. Thank you, Karen. My pleasure. Anytime and everyone. Thanks so much for listening. Have a great couple of days and stay healthy, wealthy and smart. Thanks for listening. And don't forget to leave us your questions and comments at podcast dot healthy, wealthy smart.com