I’m a big fan of thanking or acknowledging others who have supported me in some way. I have done this via conversations, written notes and being able to fortunately include them in the “shout out” sections of my book series. Learning to thank others was a trait or manner my mom taught me at a very early age, and as soon as I learned how to write. At first having to hand write thank you notes to people wasn’t something I fully appreciated the context and importance of, but overtime, I came to value and want to do this without prompting.
Was my adoption of handwriting thank you notes a habit? Yes, it certainly became one, and I’ve never broken this habit. In fact, what I find amazing is the impact my notes have on the people who receive them. An impact with the loveliest of consequences. What I mean by this is that the brief time I take to write my thank you notes, allows the recipients to know that I truly care about what they have helped me with. Of course, you can thank someone verbally, but putting in the extra effort to express your gratitude in writing is more impactful and can provide a last memory effect. An effect that in present day time, not many people are the benefactors of, as so few people take the time to thank people in writing.
My habit of thanking others via writing takes place both via an electronic method, but I am a firm believer that the handwritten method absolutely increases the impact and meaning behind your note. I also like how you can personalize your approach to thanking someone based on the type of note or card you are writing. Consider your note or card being part of your personal brand, and another way of expressing who you are, and want to project to others. You can have some fun with doing this, so don’t shy away from being creative with your actual physical note style approach.
When I was recently writing a handwritten note to thank someone last week, it got me thinking about how this isn’t a topic which regularly comes up on conversation. Although I think it should, hence why I’m putting a spotlight on it today. The impact from a handwritten note can far exceed the power you might think that it has, and I have seen this occur time and time again. In full transparency, I don’t write my handwritten notes to have them be other than a polite way of expressing my gratitude. I also don’t have expectations post writing my notes, but I have certainly been pleasantly surprised by how people have gone out of their way to thank me for sending them a thank you note.
There is a chance we might not always recognize another person who should be acknowledged for the help they bestowed upon us (e.g., a teacher, coach, relative, friend), perhaps because it was part of their job to do so. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t thank them for doing their job well, and it could simply be a verbal acknowledgement, but a written one is always better. When I have spoken to people about the power of thanking someone who has given them a chance personally or professionally, I often also hear excuses about why they haven’t done this, or that they are not strong at communicating their sentiments either verbally or in writing. Upon hearing these excuses, I point out that given the amount of technology we have access to help us with this, especially the written part (e.g., Chat GBT for one), I feel it’s a weak reason for not thanking someone. Alright, I’m going there…a bit lazy or perhaps selfish too.
Now to get back on a positive track, I would like to challenge you with considering whether there are people in your life who you should be either verbally or sending a handwritten thank you note who have helped you, or given you a chance? I’m certain there are, so let’s pause for a moment to reflect upon constructing a mental note of who is on this list. Now that you have this list, consider how someone giving you a chance may have changed the trajectory of where you are now. Does this person, or the people who have supported you to help you to navigate to where you are know you are grateful for their support? Independent of your response, below are some suggestions to consider your next steps forward in thanking others.
- With the “mental list” you have come up with, consider taking this to the next level, writing down this information, and having it serve as a repository of who has given you a chance.
- Having a list of who has helped you will be enormously supportive on days when you may not be feeling the “love”, or you feel as if no one is on your side. I assure you, there have been plenty of people who fall into this category.
- Let’s think of logistics for a moment. Do you have a thank you card or cards you can send to someone? Do you know where to source them from? Do you have a stamp or stamps you can leverage to complete the process of mailing your thank you card if this is a requirement?
- Your thank you note does not have to be a novel. In fact, keeping your note on the shorter side might be harder to do, but the important factor to focus on is being able to authentically express your gratitude for the support from the person who gave you a chance. Whatever your definition of this means.
- Commit to a timeline for either speaking to or sending out your either written acknowledgement note of thanks. In the absence of this, you will find it too easy to procrastinate on doing this. A pro tip I have for doing this is to commit to spending 15-30 minutes a month with conveying your gratitude (e.g., in person, or perhaps via a micro video), sourcing your thank you materials, writing and sending your card out.
- After crafting your list of who to thank, commit to coming up with a list of people you can give a chance. The length of the list is irrelevant, but it should be a “living” and on-going list that you keep.
- Consider what your criteria is for what you can do to help give another person a chance. It doesn’t have to be a monumental opportunity or chance, as even minor chances that are given can have a seriously positive impact on another person.
Now that you have had an opportunity to reflect upon both being grateful and being proactive to thank someone who has given you a chance, remember that you will likely gain more joy and benefit from giving someone else a chance. So, don’t be shy with doing so, and be as overly generous as you can in this area too, as you never know what impact it will have on another person’s life or profession.
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