Tag Archives: gratitude

Just Say “Thank You”

2 2 15 thanks

When was the last time you said “Thank you”?

When was the last time that someone said “Thank you” to you?

When was the last time that someone said “Thank you” to you on your job?

The act of expressing gratitude and acknowledgement for performance above and beyond is called recognition – in the workplace, employee recognition.

An acquaintance of mine recently shared something her manager had done that was a beautiful example of employee recognition. The manager wrote a letter of thanks.

I don’t mean a Tweet, an email, or a typed message. I mean a handwritten (in cursive) “thank you” note on paper. A note that was sent via the Post Office.

For her that had to be so much better than receiving a bill or “junk mail.”

How many people write thank you notes any more?

I have a colleague who makes it a point to handwrite and mail a “thank you” note to someone every day.

Does this sound old-fashioned? When did thoughtfulness and a personal touch go out of style?

This colleague has spent a lifetime as an expert on etiquette, especially business etiquette, and in her opinion, gracious thanks is never outdated, whether in the business world or in personal life.

Even if you do not work in a corporate environment, keep reading, there is something for you.

When the recession hit, many companies shrunk their rewards and recognition budgets. This was a stressful time when hard-working employees needed appreciation and reassurance more than ever. While monetary reward programs might call for trimming in hard times, the concept of thankfulness and appreciation is always free. Perhaps when times are tough, companies need to focus on their recognition culture even more.

An employee recognition program is a means of supporting and honoring individuals and teams who contribute to the success of the organization through positive behaviors. Studies show that recognition increases productivity, reinforces initiative and creativity, builds relationships and team functionality, improves customer service, raises employee engagement and improves retention of employees.

It’s one thing to motivate people towards behavior through promised rewards, but better yet to instill a constant sense of “doing the right thing” because it is better for the company, customer and employee. In the end, it is the corporate culture that needs to be shifted so that the underlying philosophy will become firmly established.

To be effective, informal recognition needs to be sincere, timely and specific, and may consist of nothing more than a few well-chosen words of appreciation or praise. Sometimes the best recognition is simple and free. But just because it doesn’t cost, doesn’t mean it can’t have a great impact on an employee. What is key here is fitting the method of recognition to the employee’s likes or dislikes. Believe it or not, not everyone wants to be recognized in a public display! Given in the wrong way, praise can end up being counterproductive. When managers get to know their employees on a one-to-one basis, then they will know how their employees want to be recognized.

So the next time that someone does something for you on the job, whether it is expected or unexpected – take a moment to say those two words that our mothers taught us were magical: “Thank you.” It will only take a moment of your time, but it could be the bright spot that makes that person’s day.

This advice applies not just to managers, but also to co-workers, to entrepreneurs, clients and vendors. It applies to mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles and cousins. It applies when you go to the grocery store, retail store or restaurants. It applies even when a friend does something for you. When was the last time you said, “Thank you for just being you”?

My mother always reminded me to say thank you often. One might feel it in your heart, but unless the person hears it, they are not going to know. “Please” and “thank you” are three of the most magical words.

Here’s a challenge for you this week. See if you can say “thank you” at least once a day to someone. Once you master that, you can go buy those notecards!

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Thanksgiving Memories

11 24 14 Thanks catWhen I was little and the family had a special dinner where there would be more plates on the table, such as Thanksgiving, we had a wooden table topper (the top of a table without legs) that we laid over the kitchen table to create a larger “table.” Five people then squeezed around that larger table in an already small kitchen. I really don’t know how we all fit!

At least I can say that I spared my mother from cooking Christmas dinner one particular year, because she was in the hospital at Christmas, enjoying the hospital special holiday food! It’s all good! She had given birth to me on Christmas Eve, so she told my dad and brothers they were on their own!

My mother kept threatening to retire from cooking for the holidays and one year she finally did. It fell to my brother to host the Thanksgiving dinner. That dining room was so small, they had to have a separate table for the kids in the living room. But there was another problem that my mom told me about: the turkey was terrible! My sister-in-law was cooking her turkey too long and drying it out! So why didn’t mom tell her that and teach her how to do to correctly? I guess to this day everyone is suffering in silence! Don’t do this! If the turkey is not to your liking, speak up! Everyone will be glad you did!

A young woman I know, 30 years old, old enough to know how to cook, and definitely old enough to read, freaked out when she was asked to cook a turkey for a holiday party. “I don’t know how to cook a turkey!” Hello, the instructions are on the label! She bought already cooked meat at the store and took the easy way out. Does this mean she will never cook a turkey and host a Thanksgiving dinner?

I remember the first time that I ever cooked a Thanksgiving dinner. The challenge was to time it so that everything would finish being cooked at the same time. As long as you are good at math, that is not a problem. Just figure out what time dinner will be served, list the cooking times for all items and then work backwards to calculate when each item should be put on the stove. No problems! Of course now that I like to watch the Macy’s Parade on Thanksgiving morning, I am chopping up my ingredients in the living room or during commercials!

One year I was watching the Macy’s Parade on my friend’s TV and eating plantains for breakfast! That was unique! I was in Nassau, Bahamas! Later that day, I ate a traditional turkey dinner at a restaurant in downtown Nassau. FYI, a Bahamian rum drink is not an appropriate side beverage! It was a bit too strong. Stick with the apple cider!

It’s nice that other cultures embrace the American turkey habit and provide tourists with “home-cooking.” Where is the most unusual place that you have ever eaten Thanksgiving dinner?

Another memorable Thanksgiving was when I had first moved across the country and did not know many people other than my co-workers. One of the young men hosted Thanksgiving dinner for the “orphans” as he called them, people who had no family in town and nowhere to go. We had several people from work there and  the spirit of friendship was wonderful. I have had other friends do the same over the years and this is the true meaning of the season.

Wherever you celebrate this week, make sure you take time to think of all the things you have to be thankful for. Did you wake up with a roof over your head? Be thankful. There are people sleeping on the streets. Did you get to eat turkey? Be thankful. Someone somewhere may go hungry on Thanksgiving. Be sure to tell your friends that you are thankful they are in your life. Thank the store cashier for their service when you run to the store for that item you forgot! Right now I’m very thankful for my mechanic, Ken, who is working on my naughty car today!

I always remember that my mom would tell me to say “Thank you” as a child. She was teaching me in the right way, and I always remember her teachings when I need to thank someone. It only takes a moment to say those words. Practice gratitude. It will actually make you feel good, as well as the person you are thanking.

Have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving weekend everyone!

Live Happy – Part Deux

ae420ec5ac8e16745144860a5729b85dThe “Live Happy” people were at it again last week. They are going to do this every month, so get ready for your monthly dose of “happy.”

Unfortunately I missed the one speaker that I was most interested in hearing because I needed to be on the road at the time!

These are a series of 30-minute web conversations with New York Times best-selling authors and experts in the fields of happiness, business and positive psychology. Hosted by Live Happy CEO Kym Yancey, the guest speakers share tips on how to tap into the power of happiness. Listeners interact and post questions.

Research proves that happiness is a major force behind your success in business, relationships and much more. Make a decision to “live happy” and check out the resources provided by the Live Happy organization. Become a Happiness Ambassador!

Here are some nuggets from the past week just for you!

October 13, 2014
Dr. Drew Ramsey – Happier with Every Bite
Author of The Happiness Diet discusses how poor diet and nutrition can cause anxiety and depression. His new book 50 Shades of Kale provides 50 exciting recipes for this superfood.

Brain health begins at the end of your fork.

Change the architecture of your brain by picking healthy food.

Some foods actually contribute to depression, such as soda and the trans fats in processed food.

Dark chocolate gives a mental boost!

“I witness people transform themselves every day-from tears to smiles, chaos to calm. We all have the power to build happy, vibrant lives. Since every molecule in your brain begins at the end of your fork, that’s where I like to start.” – Dr. Drew Ramsey

October 14, 2014
James Pawelski – The Positive Portfolio
Dr. James O. Pawelski, Director of Education and Senior Scholar in the Positive Psychology Center and Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania is widely published on the topics of positive psychology and philosophy.

Don’t wait around for happy to happen.

Happiness = human flourishing = a deep sense of well-being.

What’s in your Positive Portfolio? The Positive Portfolio is a collection of items that give you love, happiness and confidence. Think about a strength or positive emotion that you want to cultivate. Gather pictures, emails, music, etc. that help cultivate that strength or positive emotion. Focus 15 minutes a day on your “Positive Portfolio.” Add frequently to your Portfolio.

Bring mindfulness to your life; bring in the good happening around you.

Sometimes you wake up happy, and sometimes you have to wake up your happy!

October 15, 2014
Judson Laipply – Discover Your Happy Senses
Judson is a motivational speaker and dancer, best known for his performance in the Evolution of Dance viral video clip. In 2006, it was the #1 Most Viewed All Time Video and #1 Top Rated Video on YouTube.
The Evolution of Dance

Happiness is a decision, an attitude, a way of life.

Don’t hope for things, decide for things.

Make people happy and flood people’s brains with dopamine so that they remember what you say.

You cannot light another’s path, without lighting your own.

The more we share happiness, the happier we are.

The flame we have together is bigger than two individual flames.

Our words are powerful, It’s ok to day, “Yes, I am going to have a good day!”

Vocabulary lesson for the day: Perspicacity-Understanding how our perception affects our reality.

If you perceive the world through the lens of “I’m going to be happy” you can find things to make you happy.

Purpose and passion are hard to have without the other. “Pur-passion!” They feed on each other.

We have 5 “happy senses” – “pur-passion” (purpose and passion), play, harmony, perception and gratitude!

Giving isn’t giving until you give to someone who could never pay you back.

October 16, 2014
Michelle McQuaid – Wellbeing in the Workplace
Michelle is a best-selling author, workplace well-being teacher and playful change activator. She is passionate about translating cutting-edge research from positive psychology and neuroscience into practical strategies for health, happiness and business success.

Prime your brain before you go to sleep to cue up your morning habits.

During the day, make sure you get up frequently and move around, get up and drink water, create an inflection point to refresh yourself.

Inject a moment of positivity to short circuit that downward spiral that can happen at work. A jolt of joy = anything that puts a smile on your face.

You have a choice in how you feel and how you show up.

October 17, 2014
Mary Jane Ryan – The Happiness Makeover
MJ Ryan, a personal change expert and executive coach, is the author of How to Survive Change…You Didn’t Ask For: Bounce Back, Find Calm in Chaos, and Reinvent Yourself.

Accidental acts of happiness help us to become happier.

Accidental acts of kindness help us to become happier.

Gratitude is an “and” experience. No matter what is going on in your life, you can always appreciate and enjoy.

What can you still appreciate despite the difficulty and negative circumstances?

It’s not permanent; it’s not personal; it’s not pervasive.

We catch our feelings from our friends.

Give a smile to someone else today.

“We can be happier because we can grow and change until we take our very last breath.” – MJ Ryan

Do I “Have” To?

8 4 14 i-get-to-image-280x186“Awww, Mom, do I have to?”
Mothers hear children whine about picking up their toys.
Adults moan on Sundays, “I have to sit in traffic driving to work tomorrow.”
We all complain, “I have to clean the house.”

Do you “have to” or do you “get to?”

Some children own only one toy.
(I found a very poignant photo gallery of children with their toys or lack of toys.)
Some adults take a bus to their jobs, and many adults are unemployed.
Some people are homeless and live on the streets.

Wouldn’t it be better to say: I get the toys I want!
(and yes, adults have their “big toys” too!)
I get to drive my car! (and I can afford to put gas in it!) I get to go to work and collect a paycheck!
I get to clean the house that keeps the rain off my head and that keeps me cool and out of the summer heat.

It’s all a matter of perspective!

One of the most powerful ways to change the “vibration” of your day is with an attitude of thankfulness. Wake up in the morning and think about all that is going right in your universe. That you had a bed to sleep in, a shower to wash in, a computer or smart phone to read your email and this blog on!

Rejoice that you get to take another breath, live another day and make it a grand adventure. Make it your intention today to be thankful that you get to do all that you do. And while you are at it, you get the opportunity to give someone a smile and brighten their day.

This week we get to have another shot at our dreams!