Almost Timely News, November 27, 2022: Gratitude, Thanks, and Contrast

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Almost Timely News: Gratitude, Thanks, and Contrast (2022-11-27)

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What’s On My Mind: Gratitude, Thanks, and Contrast

A little something different this week for the USA Thanksgiving holiday weekend. While everyone else is out binge shopping or dealing with turkey hangovers, let’s talk about gratitude and giving thanks. I’m sure you’ve waded through the emails from every company you’ve ever had contact with, and the piles of insincere thanks from them. I’ll start by being a curmudgeon: corporations cannot give thanks.

What? How can I say that? It’s simple. Corporations cannot give thanks any more than robots can, because gratitude is an emotion, and emotions are the domain of the living. Your dog has emotions. Your fish has emotions. You have emotions. But a corporation isn’t a living entity. Anything without a central nervous system cannot have emotions, and corporations don’t have those.

Gratitude, in our context as marketers and business folks, can only come from other living beings. So your company’s CEO can express gratitude, but the institution cannot, not in a real, meaningful way. You, as a marketer, can be thankful. I am personally thankful to you, that you’re paying even the slightest bit of attention to me at all.

Okay, now that we’ve gotten the curmudgeonly part out of the way, let’s talk about gratitude some more. For years, I had trouble with the concept of gratitude. It was too abstract. Be thankful and grateful for what you have? Sure, that makes sense. But how do you bring that to life? Writing it down in a journal? Talking about it with friends? Those activities felt… performative. They felt like they were being done to showcase or highlight what I had, and didn’t feel like thankfulness or gratitude.

When I think about thankfulness, about gratitude, I think about feeling relieved. Someone does something truly nice for you – how do you feel? If it’s something I needed help with, something I wanted respite from, I feel relief. Whew. Thank goodness someone helped me. Stranded on the side of the road and someone helps me change a tire? Relief. Thanks. Gratitude. Someone gives you a gift that’s heartfelt? Joy. Eagerness. Wow, look at this – this actually means something. When you give your dog a treat? Relief. Happiness. Eagerness. Maybe a little greed – hey, got any more of that?

But the emotions are real, acute, heartfelt. You FEEL something in that thanks, in that gratitude.

Thinking abstractly about your life and being grateful? I don’t know about you, but that exercise never made me FEEL anything. It was like reviewing lines in a spreadsheet.

So here’s the hack that I found, the thing that makes me feel something. I think about the contrast. I think about whatever aspect of my life, and I think about the time when I didn’t have that, or when I nearly lost it.

For example, I spent the last week caring for my elderly parents who were COVID positive. Watching how hard the disease hit them, sapping them of their strength and energy, sending my father to the hospital for a few days (he’s almost fully recovered, thankfully) – that highlights in sharp contrast my own health. I am thankful and grateful for my health because I see a living, sharp example of what the absence of health looks like, feels like in people I care about.

When I think about prosperity, I think of the time four short years ago when I didn’t have any. When I started Trust Insights with Katie, I cashed out a healthy chunk of a retirement fund to pay the bills for the year, and I was living far below my means to make it through the year, to make ends meet without my family being heavily impacted. Those days are in the rear view mirror, but they are a sharp contrast to today, when the company is doing much better, when I don’t HAVE to calculate how much to spend at the grocery store.

When I think about friendships, I think of the friendships I’ve lost, the people along the way that I’ve parted ways with, amicably and not so amicably. I think about what went wrong, and how much I valued those friends, and I feel that sense of appreciation, of relief, that the friends I have today are still with me.

When I think about even the basics, I think of my friend Ann. She lives in Kyiv, Ukraine, and for the last 3 days, she’s had no electricity at all. Russians bombed the power stations in her part of the city, and there’s no way to know when they’ll get electricity back. And it’s literally freezing there. That I have heat and light, and she doesn’t – gratitude even for the basics. (donate to Ukraine 🇺🇦 through United24 if you’d like to help)

Gratitude requires contrast, requires the opposite of what you have so that you understand its value and importance. When you have contrast, you feel so much more than a rote recitation of the things that are present in your life because you know, remember, or feel what their absence is like.

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ICYMI: In Case You Missed it

Besides the new Google Analytics 4 course I’m relentlessly promoting (sorry not sorry), I would recommend the episode of In-Ear Insights this week as Katie and I discuss how much to ask for in salary negotations.

Skill Up With Classes

These are just a few of the classes I have available over at the Trust Insights website that you can take.



Get Back to Work!

Folks who post jobs in the free Analytics for Marketers Slack community may have those jobs shared here, too. If you’re looking for work, check out these five most recent open positions, and check out the Slack group for the comprehensive list.

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What I’m Reading: Your Stuff

Let’s look at the most interesting content from around the web on topics you care about, some of which you might have even written.

Social Media Marketing

Media and Content

SEO, Google, and Paid Media

Advertisement: Google Analytics 4 for Marketers

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What makes this different than other training courses?

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Tools, Machine Learning, and AI

Analytics, Stats, and Data Science

All Things IBM

Dealer’s Choice : Random Stuff

Advertisement: Ukraine 🇺🇦 Humanitarian Fund

If you’d like to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, the Ukrainian government has set up a special portal, United24, to help make contributing easy. The effort to free Ukraine from Russia’s illegal invasion needs our ongoing support.

👉 Donate today to the Ukraine Humanitarian Relief Fund »

How to Stay in Touch

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Required Disclosures

Events with links have purchased sponsorships in this newsletter and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

Advertisements in this newsletter have paid to be promoted, and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

My company, Trust Insights, maintains business partnerships with companies including, but not limited to, IBM, Cisco Systems, Amazon, Talkwalker, MarketingProfs, MarketMuse, Agorapulse, Hubspot, Informa, Demandbase, The Marketing AI Institute, and others. While links shared from partners are not explicit endorsements, nor do they directly financially benefit Trust Insights, a commercial relationship exists for which Trust Insights may receive indirect financial benefit, and thus I may receive indirect financial benefit from them as well.

Thank You!

Thanks for subscribing and reading this far. I appreciate it. As always, thank you for your support, your attention, and your kindness.

See you next week,

Christopher S. Penn

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