The student "talked about how he never would have been able to afford tuition, how the work they had done had enabled him to go to school and how he was trying to pay the help he received forward and he was just really grateful for the work that they do," says Grant.
After meeting the scholarship student, the amount of money the average call center employee raised in a week shot up 142 percent and the number of minutes spent on the phone went up 171 percent.
It works for all sorts of professions. For example, when radiologists were shown a picture of a patient alongside an x-ray, diagnostic accuracy went up by 43 percent, says Grant. "You now know you're not just sort of looking for a fracture you are trying to help a living breathing human being."
The more people can "connect those dots" between the work they do on a daily basis and who is benefiting from it, "the easier it is to find resilience and maintain our motivation," says Grant.
Keep a journal of your contributions to other people
One way to become more in tune with the impact of your work is to keep a journal of contributions, he says.
Grant references a study he worked on that had two groups of employees keep journals. One group of workers wrote down what they were grateful for each day. The other wrote down three contributions they made to others each day.
"What we found was that attending to gratitude made people happier. It certainly made them more satisfied with their jobs. It didn't affect their resilience though," says Grant. "What really boosted resilience was focusing not on contributions received from other people but rather contributions given to other people," says Grant.
Focusing on what you do for somebody else is active, it increases confidence and determination, says Grant.
"Pausing to take a little bit of time to reflect on those contributions that we make every day even once a week is enough to strengthen our ability to focus and to invest effort in what otherwise might be a difficult and stressful job."
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