I was sitting in a production meeting, and all around the zoom room were long faces.

We could have been talking about some life-threatening topic or the illness of a loved one, and the mood would have been the same. Yet, I just shared with the team how well the review of the latest work with our team of producers and investors went.

“The clients are ecstatic! Congratulations, everyone!”

All I got were crickets!

Chirp! Chirp!

I just shared amazing news; why the long face, then?

Because even though we had made great progress, we still had a long list of unresolved challenges. You know, the usual stuff: additional requests from the team of producers/directors, delays in animation due to late voice recordings, problems recruiting in some departments, etc. This sounds familiar, I am sure.

Let’s admit it; animation production is difficult! There is no perfect walkthrough of this process; this is no science; this is alchemy. We are turning lead into gold! As we work on our productions, we often lose sight of our privilege of making animation for a living. Once our mindset shifts to seeing every situation as a problem, we start looking for what will go wrong – the next problems, the possible issues, and the subsequent unplanned changes. This leads to something very insidious: we stop celebrating the small wins!

Should good news today be overshadowed by the potential problem of tomorrow?

Of course, not!

Are we so dead-focused on making the delivery and rushing to the finish line that we lose sight of enjoying the process? Unfortunately, YES.

The cure to this ailment is quite simple: Gratitude.

Would you be capable of listing 5 things you are grateful for right now?

Your mind just went numb, didn’t it?

No worries, your gratitude needs some exercise. Make it work more often; like a muscle, it’ll grow! Here are some scientifically proven benefits of gratitude:

For individuals:

  • increases happiness
  • nurtures a positive mood
  • more satisfaction with life
  • lower risk of burnout
  • improves physical health
  • builds intrinsic motivation
  • improves sleep
  • less fatigue
  • helps develop patience, humility, and wisdom

For groups:

  • increases positive group behaviors
  • strengthens relationships
  • may increase team members’ effectiveness
  • can increase job satisfaction!

But how? I am already so busy I don’t have time for “gratitude”!

Let me ask you this: How much time do you spend every day complaining about your life, colleagues, and job? Don’t judge yourself. We all do this. Replacing old habits with new sets of behaviors will help you increase your daily dose of gratitude:

  • Journaling:
    • Keep it simple; write a few lines at night and/or morning. Write down what went well and what did not, and highlight what you learned and what you are proud of yourself for!
  • Telling someone you appreciate them.
    • Pick anyone around you and send them a quick note. It’ll benefit them and you in the process.
    • Our co-founder, Virginie, used to make “Gratitude Post-its attack,” where she would leave messages like “You rock!”, “Your team needs YOU!” on post-its and stick them on people’s screens for them to find the next day. You bet the smile on their face upon discovering these mini-bursts of thoughtfulness!
  • Meditation:
    • Try guided meditation or a simple breathing exercise you can do at your desk in the morning.
  • Make a celebration!
    • Why wait for the end of a project to throw a party? You’ve hit 29% of completion in your department. Throw a small party with your team! Why wait for the big rounded number celebration?
  • Start your day with a task you love:
    • This will remind you to have positive and enjoyable daily tasks, giving you the motivation and positive mindset to tackle mundane items on your to-do list.
  • Make a Completed-today-list.
    • Instead of a to-do list, write down a “Completed-today-list” and the end of your day. It’ll remind you how much work you have achieved, boosting your self-worth and self-confidence.

Gratitude is a practice. As you try these new behaviors, don’t judge yourself for feeling silly. I’ll be honest; I felt the same. It took me some time before I felt grateful. With time, you can do it too, and the positive impact on you and everyone around you will be undeniable!

Give it a try. Apply generously.