My life is a ‘Thank You Card’ to all the people who have made me who I am.
I recently changed jobs. It has been an exciting transition thus far. Thanks to LinkedIn, many of my contacts have been made aware of my career moves, and they have been sending congratulatory messages. Interestingly though, I found that instead of simply saying, “Thank you” to them for their good wishes, I have been thanking many of these persons for their contribution to my growth. Expressing gratitude, saying “thank you” is so very important.
While I was in university, I faced financial challenges. I was encouraged to write a letter to an organization, asking for assistance with paying my fees. I did. I received a small grant from the organization, and followed up with a letter expressing my gratitude to three persons who were instrumental in securing the assistance for me. I thought that would have been it. I was surprised when, months later, I received a call from one of the persons I had thanked, advising me that they had followed up with the university, realized I still had fees outstanding, and because I took the time to tell them all thanks, they were going to cover the remainder of my fees. I was blown away and superbly grateful. They all told me that my letter of sincere and humble gratitude made a huge impact on them. There are many lessons I learned from that experience.
Saying “Thank You” is more than just being polite. It is an important part of maintaining relationships. Expressing gratitude showcases the value we place on people and the relationships you share with them; whether personal or professional. When we let people know that we appreciate their efforts, it can actually encourage them to help and support us again in the future.
Remembering to say ‘Thanks’ establishes a more positive perception of you. This can help keep you in people’s minds, and can open more doors for you. We have to nourish our relationships, because in this day and age, your network is currency. Truthfully, I have been extended many opportunities in my life, because people see me as being gracious and always grateful. I have always considered favourably those young people who have told me thanks for my contributions, and those organisations who take the time to thank me for supporting their work.
Positive psychologists posit that saying thanks is beneficial to self. If we are all honest with ourselves, when we do something good, we want to be acknowledged for it. This need not be any grand gesture, but simply two powerful words; Thank You. See, even if you are paying someone to do something, or it is their job, you should still express your gratitude.. Gratitude makes you feel good!
Being appreciated motivates us in work and in life. Several studies have shown that at work, team members are more motivated when they feel appreciated and are thanked for their work, than when they just receive pay raises and perks. Of course, these incentives can be used to say thanks, but bosses and team leaders should always express gratitude for contribution of each member of the team. I know I always feel great when my boss sends a message to say, “Great job guys. Thanks for everything.” It costs you nothing and takes minimal effort. Even if it is not a handwritten note, get into the habit of expressing gratitude for things done.
Expressing gratitude acknowledges our dependence. To make the world go round, we all need to work together. When people offer to help us, they have to make that independent choice. They were not obligated to us, and so we ought to be grateful for the gift, help, opportunity or support.
Saying thanks is a sign of respect. The act, which costs us nothing and often requires minimal effort, affirms to others that they are not taken for granted. Even if someone is just supposed to be doing their job and are being paid to give service, expressions of gratitude still matter. So, when the waiter provides great service, when the cashier smiles with us, when the helper comes, when you bump into the garbage collector on your way out, remember to say thanks. “Thank You” makes for a more pleasant world.
One of my favourite books is Oprah Winfrey’s ‘What I Know For Sure.’ Oprah spends an entire, beautifully written, chapter on gratitude. The book inspired me to start a Gratitude Journal. Following in Oprah’s footsteps, each day, I take the time to write three to five things that I am grateful for. It has been a truly rewarding experience. I see life more positively than ever before. I revel in the ability to pause and think of all the blessings that surround me in friends, family, opportunities, and memories. If you follow my tweets, quite often you will see me simply say, “Grateful.” If you are not doing it yet, I think you should try a gratitude journal. It doesn’t need to be in a physical notebook, but you can use whatever note-taking app on your phone or tablet.
Gratitude is truly magical, and there are many ways of expressing it. It can be done verbally, you can send a hand-written note or signed card. You may choose to send a quick email, e-card or tweet. Sending flowers, chocolates or a little gift can also go over well. Importantly, you can express gratitude by giving of your time to those who have helped you and others.
There is a disabled man who asks for help money at the intersection of Oxford and Half-Way Tree Road. One day, while I waited in traffic, he approached my car and stretched out his hand. I didn’t have any money to give but I had bottles of water in my car, so I asked if he wanted one. He was so thankful, it warmed my heart. He even told me, “God bless you ma’am.” That made my day. Every time I pass there, I look for him and give him something. He is always so grateful. His “Thank You” makes me feel good, even though I am really only doing a little bit.
Expressing gratitude is more than good manners. It can help to strengthen our social relationships. Gratitude can motivate. Many of the persons I have to tell thanks today, had no clue the impact they were making on me. They’re often surprised when I tell them thanks. The thing is, we should never take the little things for granted. We are all the sum-total of our experiences, and people afford us these experiences. We should always go back and say thanks. GB Stern once said, “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to any of us.” I agree with her.
Thank you for stopping by my blog. Thank you, in advance, for sharing!