How to Practice Gratitude During Performance Review Season (E46)

As Thanksgiving approaches, remember to practice gratitude in the office too


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Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude. Amidst performance review season, it can be difficult to be grateful in the office. After all, performance reviews are often uncomfortable and not uplifting. But I want to encourage you to see performance reviews differently! Here’s how you can look for glimmers of gratitude, even among the negative feedback.

Using the 2-to-1 Ratio for Integrating Feedback

If you’re like me – or most people – it’s not hearing feedback that’s hard for you. It’s what psychologists call “integrating” feedback that causes us the most stress.

We often get fixated on the negative feedback we receive, and disregard the positive feedback. It’s no surprise we all feel so stressed out about our jobs! No matter how good our manager is at telling us about our positive performance, we often completely ignore what they say.

To help me and my clients deal with this, I’ve developed what I call the 2-to-1 ratio for feedback. I make a conscious effort to give feedback that is always two parts positive for every one part negative. I also try to receive feedback the same way. For every piece of area where I need to improve, I look for two areas where I am displaying my strengths and doing good work. It sounds easy, but there techniques I use to help me see my strengths (or that I use to help my clients see theirs).

Give Positive Feedback a Face and a Name

Too often we receive feedback and don’t think about the human impact of our good work. For example: if your boss tells you that your help on a budget reduction project resulted in the company hiring 10 new people, you may dismiss this positive feedback too easily. Think about the 10 people who now have jobs in part because of work you did. Those 10 people can help put Thanksgiving dinner on the table because of you.

Strive to look at how you made a difference in another person’s life. Your accomplishments are so much more than saving money or completing a project on time. Your good work creates a ripple effect in the corporate pond that translates to many wonderful outcomes.

When you brush these off and negate them, your missing an opportunity to see how important you are, how special you are. Thinking of the person or people you helped can make you bring this positive feedback closer into your heart and mind, and be grateful for it.

Strengthen Your Strengths

There’s a dichotomy in the professional world about what we should work to improve: should you focus on making your weaknesses better, or strengthening your strengths? As you can tell by the header of this section, I believe that strengthening your strengths is a crucial part of your career.

Pretend your boss gave you feedback that you are excellent at connecting people and networking. How can you really hear this feedback and take it to heart? Try using what I call the “Jerry Maguire technique.”

In that movie, you might remember the line “you complete me.” That’s what I want you to do in the office. Look around for someone whose weakness is your strength. Maybe they struggle to get people excited to join their projects. You already know your boss said you’re good at that!

Connect with another person at work and offer to help them by using your own strengths. Teach them if they’re willing to learn. Using your strengths – whether it’s accounting and budgeting or planning the perfect holiday party – will help you get even stronger at these strengths. It will also help others in the process. You’ll flex the muscles you have and do good work at the same time. You can look back on that feedback and see how it’s true, since you helped “complete” another person in your office.

What About Negative Feedback?

It’s really hard to be grateful for negative feedback, I know. It hits you like a punch in the gut. It’s a reminder that though you may dream that you’re secretly the best, there are still areas you’re not.

Everybody has areas for improvement, and everybody feels bad being reminded of them.

It feels like our failures are suddenly broadcast in neon lights during the performance review, blinding us to all the good we do. That’s why I employ the 2-to-1 ratio, to help reduce the brightness of those neon lights. We can also do one other thing to help us be more grateful for negative feedback.

Psychologists call this “reframing.” Instead of taking negative feedback exactly as it is, work to reframe the feedback in your mind. Instead of thinking about these areas as your failures, think of them as your areas for improvement. In your mind, put up the flashing lights and orange construction cones. Give yourself permission to consider these parts of the “work in progress” that you, your career, and your life are.

When you think of your negative feedback as areas for improvement, you give yourself the power to make them better. Your weaknesses become opportunities to become even more proficient and powerful than you already are. They’re an exciting challenge that you can focus on between now and your next performance review. Do you see how different it sounds when you think about negative feedback this way? Who wouldn’t be grateful for more opportunities and exciting challenges to improve their career and life? I know I’m always grateful for those!


So there you have it: four ways you can work to take feedback from your latest performance review and be grateful for it. When you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, hold these in your mind and be grateful you have another year to work on them.

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It's Time for a Better Career Change!

Don't Put Your Happiness on Hold!

Start Now!