When Thank-You Changes The Universe4 min read
Does anyone remember the first etiquette words that our parents make us say more often than we would have liked to when we were kids? Let me help you out – my words were “Please” and “Thank you”.
Eventually, “please” became easier to say since I usually said it because I wanted to get something. “Thank you” had its own unique challenges. I just could not appreciate some of the situations I had to say “thank you” for.
Can you imagine that after you just got a whopping or served a punishment (usually very excruciating), I had to say “thank you”? Maybe it was to appreciate them for a good whopping – which I really didn’t. Anyway, it kind of looked like all the grown-ups were always trying to make me say “thank you”, even if I didn’t want to. I bet it probably was the same for you.
Maybe that is why as we grow up, it becomes harder to say “thank you”. We don’t want people to control when and how we say “thank you”. Eventually, we end up saying it more infrequent that we ought.
Andy Stanley once said gratitude not expressed is ingratitude. The truth is that unless people know you are grateful, you are an ingrate to them. Who we are today is a sum of all the relationships and interactions in our lives. Saying “Thank you” is a great way of making up for the deficit we have in the benefits we have enjoyed from these relationships.
In case you are not really sure what benefits you may have enjoyed from some of the relationships you have, let me offer you some help:
RELATIONSHIPS THAT DEFINED WHO YOU ARE
- Spiritual – no matter what you wish God could have given you, look at what He has given you. Thank you for that will open your mind to see the new vistas He is opening for you.
RELATIONSHIPS THAT REFINED WHO YOU ARE
- Accountability Circle – it takes courage for someone to be willing to tell us the truth about ourselves. Anyone who agrees to do that has made a commitment to make you better.
- Marital – your spouse sees you for all you are and still sticks with you – that is an award worthy event.
- Parental – They think you are a superhero even when all you did was just come back from work.
RELATIONSHIPS THAT EXPERIENCED WHO YOU ARE
- Work – It takes a lot for the boss to keep the business running so you have a paycheck to look forward to. By giving you feedback, your supervisor is improving you. When your subordinates deliver according to your instructions, they are making you look good.
- Church – Despite their imperfections, most of them easily put up with your imperfect performance and don’t mind sharing space with you every Sunday.
- Social – where would you be without friends and folks who let you unwind and share a laugh?
- Community – they give you an opportunity to be a valued member with something important to contribute.
There you go – something to help you find reasons to say “Thank you”.
So, how do you say “thank you” to people in these relationships?
This is really the fun part. You need to say it in a way that engages them. It doesn’t have to be expensive – it just has to be meaningful. It could be:
1. A Thoughtful Thank-You Note
I once led a team of people who were volunteers for a 9-day residential teens camp. In appreciation, I hand-wrote individual thank-you notes to all 77 volunteers. Each one of them was unique and in some cases, I started with the nicknames I had coined for them while we were in camp. It was a big surprise for most of them as it would have been easier to just buy a box of cards and address it. Make the effort to make it count – they would love you for it.
2. A Gift That Pulls the Heartstrings
Don’t buy what you like – buy what they would like. My CEO likes Skittles so I bought two packs and sent to him. They were not expensive but he appreciated them because he knew someone took the time to note his personal preferences.
3. Speak Through Time & Attention
I know you are very busy so it’s a bit difficult to keep you still. You could just take them out for lunch or just have a good sit-down. Giving them a part of that very expensive time of yours could mean the world to them.
4. Say The Words
You must be wondering why I kept this as the last. It is because it’s usually the first thing we run to. But no fibbing, you probably need to say this more often than you think. Say Thank You – it will freeeeeeee your soul.
Make this your season of “thank you”.
A grateful heart opens up the door for more reasons to be grateful in the future.
This is an excellent way to prepare for a New Year