By: Kathryn Rickmeyer; Reporter for The Nashville Post & Nashville Scene
In our new series, Voices of Gratitude, some of our favorite local leaders tell us about how gratitude impacts their lives and how they share it with the people around them. As a company that believes in the importance of acts of gratitude, we’ve invited prominent and admirable business leaders to tell us about maintaining relationships, feeling appreciated, and what they’re most looking forward to.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company’s background.
I am a reporter for FW Publishing. I write for two of our publications — Nashville Scene and Nashville Post. I don’t have a set “beat” like most traditional reporters. I write about everything from technology startups to politics to local food and beverage businesses. However, there is a common thread in all of the stories I write — they all aim to do one of two things: inform and explain or highlight a success. Too often journalists highlight a problem, but never highlight the solution or successes. They sound the alarm and leave. I believe it is our job to not just highlight issues but show how they are solved.
Why do you think gratitude is important?
Research has shown that companies and individuals get better results from positive reinforcement than negative. Gratitude shows people that you value them and their work. When people feel valued, they can reach their full potential.
How do you use gratitude in your business life?
After every interview, I send a handwritten thank you note to the interview subjects. Without their voice, knowledge and expertise, I cannot write a story. I don’t have a story. I want them to know that they play a crucial role and are as a part of the process as I am.
What’s your best piece of advice for maintaining business relationships?
Kindness costs nothing but pays big dividends.
How do you recognize that your work is appreciated? What actions from others make you feel most appreciated?
My interview subjects and readers are the people who have shown the greatest appreciation for my work. Each time my interview subjects share the article we collaborated on together on social media or a reader likes or shares my story, I feel validated. My purpose and the story is recognized. I’m also a sucker for a thank you email, text or handwritten note. Words of affirmation are my love language!
How can others start integrating gratitude into their daily life?
I think just acknowledging someone for their work or who they are via a simple text, verbal recognition, a sticky note or a high five is important.
How do you practice gratitude in your personal life?
In my personal life, I am quick to buy small, inexpensive thoughtful gifts just because. Don’t wait for a holiday like Valentine’s, Christmas or a birthday to buy a gift. In many cases, an “out of the blue” gift means more because people know you genuinely were thinking about them and weren’t buying it just because it was a holiday.
What’s a good example of an act of gratitude or kindness you’ve been a part of?
I recently wrote a story on a local Ukrainian market that people were shopping at to show support for Ukraine. The story went viral and when I went back to the market the line was wrapped outside the door. Someone asked me, “Are you the girl who wrote the article?” I told them yes and more than half the line told me they had come to shop there because they read the story. I got to see the impact that my story had firsthand. It gave me chills and reaffirmed my place in life as a journalist.
What’s something you’re looking forward to?
The next story, of course!
What’s one thing you’re grateful for right now?
I am extremely grateful for the relationships I have formed with my sources and interview subjects. They give me the opportunity to do what I love. They remind me of why I became a journalist in the first place. Journalism has the unique ability to magnify joy, solve problems, highlight success, share knowledge and connect people.