Don’t Forget to Give Thanks for the Hard Stuff Too

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    In my last post, I discussed the positive effects of gratitude. During this time of Thanksgiving, it is easy for us to be thankful for the things in our life that we love and enjoy. However, how often do we show gratitude and give thanks for the things that were difficult for us or for things that were unpleasant? It reminds of the commonly used notion of Feedback as a gift. As much as it is, it can be hard to realize it when the gift you are receiving is negative or unflattering.

    There are so many things that occur throughout our days that may seem unpleasant and negative. Especially in the field of Human Resources. We often find ourselves handling some of the most negative things in business. These situations are often intermingled throughout our week or our day with the more positive side of working with people. Throughout this dance of moving from the positive to the negative, the HR professional maintains the correct emotional composure and makes the job seem easy despite the number of people who say, “I could never do that.” or “How do you give such terrible news?” And I would bet for many HR pros, there may have been a time, when they said the same thing.

    So today, I would like to give thanks and show gratitude for the difficult things that developed my ability to move through the HR moments a little better than I would have years ago. I also give thanks to challenges that I was given that helped me grow and develop my skills in other things as well.

    Here’s a short list of what I am grateful for:

    • I am thankful the first termination meeting I had with a former peer. Shortly after being promoted, I realized I had to terminate a respected peer who was often able to get stellar results. Unfortunately, the results weren’t always achieved by following the rules. That meeting took an hour and it was painful for everyone involved. Afterward, I got the gift of great feedback from a seasoned HR professional who served as a witness.
    • I am thankful for two trainers I encountered at a conference years ago, for pushing me out of my comfort zone and making me practice for hours the art of coaching verses managing. The art of asking verses telling. And for reminding me that it is okay to have fun at work and celebrate success.
    • I am thankful for the promotions and/or jobs that I didn’t get. These forced me to look inside of myself to see what I needed to do differently.
    • I am thankful for every piece of feedback that I was given especially the ones that evoked that defensive protective emotion.

    What do you have on your list?

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    Sheri Mazurek is a training and human resource professional with over 16 years of management experience, and is skilled in all areas of employee management and human resource functions, with a specialty in learning and development. She is available to help you with your Human Resources and Training needs on a contract basis. For more information send an email to or visit Follow me on twitter @Sherimaz.