Giving thanks

‘Tis the season to be grateful. This time of year, we’re often thinking of the things, and people, for which we’re thankful. I’m fortunate to have a long list: my children, my husband, my family and our home, just to name a few.

But what does it mean to be thankful in our careers? Do we stop to take the time to appreciate the lessons we’ve learned and the people who taught us along the way? This time of year has me thinking about, and being thankful for, just that.

Here are my top five lessons that I’m thankful for learning so far in my career:

###Go hard or go home
This one extends outside of the professional world and dates back to my middle and high school years on the track team. My coaches, Mr. Schlotman and Jill Tranter, pushed us to always do our best in every race. After all, why show up at all if you aren’t going to give it your all? I try to approach every workday the same way. I come in ready to work hard and do whatever it takes – whether it’s writing, meeting critical deadlines, listening or offering suggestions – to help move the needle for our agency and our clients.

###There’s always room to grow
It’s not always easy to hear you could have done something better, written something a little stronger or communicated something a little more effectively. These “growing pains” are the best opportunity to learn and become a better professional. It’s why I am always thankful to work with people who I know will inspire me to do my very best.

###Be kind
I have been fortunate to have amazing bosses who have shared (and are sharing) valuable lessons and new skills. One of these lessons was the importance of kindness. Jim Hanni, one of my past bosses, is one of the kindest people I know. Every day I worked for him, he was kind, open and valued others opinions. He taught me that kindness is (and should be) a fundamental element of success. If you can pause to listen to others, and give others a helping hand, you can learn a lot in the process.

###Believe in others (and yourself)
Again, back to the impressive bosses I’ve had. I’ve learned that the best leaders are comfortable standing behind you and helping push you along a path to success. No one embodies this more than Annie McManis. I wanted to work for Annie for almost five years, so I was pretty excited when I finally got the opportunity a few years ago. The hype didn’t disappoint, either. Annie is one of the most generous, giving and talented people I know. She showed me the value of supporting and empowering others to inspire them to achieve big things.

###Get involved
My first boss in PR, Robin Klaene, exhibits every trait I’ve already listed: hard working, kind, empowering, talented. She also gave me the single most important piece of career advice: get involved. She encouraged me to become active in PRSA, where I’ve met colleagues, gained my APR, made friends, found jobs and learned new trends and insights. Becoming involved in any professional society – whether you’re in advertising, marketing, design, public relations or a completely different field – can have a huge impact on your career.

I’m extremely thankful to work with many fun, smart and insightful people whom I learn from every single day. We all work with people who teach and help shape us into effective and impactful professionals. Today’s an opportunity to reflect and thank a few who have helped shape your career so far. Who would you thank?

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