Actionable Steps You Can Take Throughout the Year to Enhance your Gratitude Mindset
As we step into the holiday season, it’s important to take a moment and focus on all that we have to be thankful for. We invite you all to take a moment to reflect, celebrate the people in your life who you are grateful for and check-in to make sure you are practicing mindfulness during this busy time of year. We sat down with Sue Yannaccone, President & CEO, Anywhere Brands and to get her insights on the actionable steps you can take throughout the year to enhance your gratitude mindset.
Sometimes it can be difficult to find time to lean into gratitude or gain perspective during a busy day or week. How do you find time in your busy schedule to practice mindfulness and create that necessary balance in your life?
Sue: Instead of adopting a viewpoint of being beholden to finding balance, which asserts that all things are equitable, I instead try to blend my responsibilities and expectations. This requires a regular assessment of current priorities in my life, that sometimes means more time is allocated to work responsibilities and other times a shift to prioritizing my personal life. Regardless of the priorities, it is important to identify what is important for you and what drives you to find success. This helps me to be at ease, even during the busiest of times. If I am staying true to my ‘why’ then I can be grateful for what is accomplished.
Gratitude is often described a beneficial “practice” because it’s something people can incorporate into their daily lives and be intentional about. Can you recommend some actionable steps or words of inspiration that can lead to feelings of thankfulness and gratitude?
Sue: To appreciate the things we have and the people around us, we first must take inventory of the things we value. This means being aware of what brings you happiness and what leads to success; it can be behaviors, habits, outcomes, or physical things. And when challenges are presented, how can you find gratitude for that experience? I like to find the benefit of the challenge. It is then important to express that gratitude out loud, in a journal, through meditation or by thanking someone.
Lean In & McKinsey recently came out with the Women in the Workplace Study for 2022 which revealed that, “having a manager who cares about their well-being really matters to women—it’s one of the top three factors they consider when deciding whether to join or stay with a company.” As an authentic business leader, how do you encourage your employees to prioritize mindfulness and positive well-being?
Sue: Women generally are empathetic beings. This means that we can understand the feelings and perspective of others. Because of this, we of course would expect that others around us are able to respect our perspectives and want to protect our well-beings. As a leader, I spend time to understand my employees and am mindful to address them if I think they need support. Also, I think it is important to lead by example, especially when protecting our own well-being. If my employees need a moment, I encourage them to do so. I want them to be empowered to articulate to their leaders when they need an activity or break that benefits their performance and well-being.
Positivity is contagious. While balancing your roles as a business leader and mother, how do you promote a positive workplace culture at Anywhere? Secondly, how do you inspire a positive mindset in your daily interactions with your daughter?
Sue: I approach being a leader and a parent in the same way, it is important to respect and lean into the strengths of the people you guide. No one is ever going to think just like me or do exactly what I want. So rather than being heavy handed with how I want things done, I set clear expectations of what I want the outcome to be. This allows space for my team to operate in a manner that works for them. This is also true of how I parent. I believe that this approach yields a culture where people want to do their best because they are individually respected.
Lending help to a cause greater than yourself – and one that you’re passionate about – adds meaning, purpose, and connection to your life. Can you please share a few of your personal experiences where volunteering, on any level, provided you with a sense of fulfillment?
Sue: I have had great fulfillment with the What Moves Her initiative, as I am constantly approached about how our work has helped individuals find confidence, courage, or professional growth. I started What Moves Her because as I rose in the ranks of my career, women would reach out and ask for career advice. At the time I didn’t feel as if my advice was uniquely valuable, as I just kept my head down and did the hard work. But at some point, I did raise my head and realize that I was one of the only women at the table. Once I knew that others in fact needed support and encouragement, I realized that I could share my blueprint for success so others could use it as a guide to find their way to the table.
One way to extend altruism throughout the year is to make small acts of kindness for others a part of your routine. Around the holidays, it’s particularly important to look out for those who might be experiencing loneliness. Can you share a few examples of smaller actionable gestures that can be impactful?
Sue: I have an open-door policy. This means that if I see someone that needs support, I am there to give it. Sometimes that has meant having a house full of children during the ‘at home schooling’ period of Covid, giving rides to people who need to get somewhere, offering a seat at my table during the holidays or extending a listening ear to someone who is struggling. The holidays are a time filled with great joy but can also be filled with despair for many. Therefore, being empathic to how others are feeling is important. A general rule that guides me, especially during the holidays, is to give more than I receive.
Broadly, the meaning of gratitude points to anything that brings people together, yet honors people’s unique differences and preferences. More specifically, connective gratitude means presenting something meaningful that will resonate and track with all parties involved. To your mind, how can we better support women of color and other underrepresented women in the real estate community?
Sue: It is incredibly important to consistently and constantly be looking around the room you sit in and assessing if the right people are in the room. This mean assessing if the room is diversified, if it represents the people we serve and if unique perspectives are represented. Also, it is important to be intentional about recruiting people into the room, reaching out and pulling in.
At What Moves Her, we celebrate the idea of ‘lifting others as you rise.’ Do you have any final sentiments or ‘pearls of wisdom’ on the topics of authentic leadership, practicing gratitude and instilling a positive mindset for the next generation of female leaders?
Sue: Authenticity is something you grow into. The more you honor your own strengths and value, the more you will be comfortable with who you are and what you can offer. Part of this journey is finding gratitude for that person, unique from anyone else. Once we stop trying to be someone else, we can grow to be our very best.
Now it’s your turn
More sustainable happiness lies in the everyday moments that connect us to others, foster compassion and gratitude, and help us see ourselves as part of a larger whole. What are you grateful for this year? Please share your examples of smaller actionable gestures that have been impactful.