Last week, we began our thankfulness in our coalition series. Thankfulness begins with reflection and recognition and then leads us to taking specific action. One of the reasons we often struggle with practicing thankfulness is that we think it needs to be something big in order to be meaningful. Think about the times when you have received thankfulness from others. Were these big, monumental actions or were they small gestures that made a big impact? One of my favorite recent examples relates to my daughter (who is in Kindergarten). In one of her classes, she was asked “What are you thankful for right now?” Her response was “My grandma and grandpa are coming to visit.” When I shared this with my parents via text, they were incredibly touched. This was a very small action that made a big impact. Join me in exploring three ways that you can practice thanksgiving all year long.
Send a text or email
If you think of something that you are thankful for about another colleague or partner, take just a few moments to send a quick text or email. This gesture may take less than a minute and yet can be really powerful in providing encouragement and gratitude. Although we cannot pay money to most of our coalition leaders or members, when we take the time to say thank you for specific things, we are giving them something that is often more important than money. We are demonstrating appreciation, value and enhancing the relationship. In our coalitions, relationships are everything. When we practice being thankful, we are building and sustaining relationships.
Write a hand-written note
Since I was a young girl, my mom always taught me the importance of writing thank you notes and I have tried to continue this practice. This initially only focused on thanking those who gave me gifts. However, I have discovered that many people have given me a “gift” of their time, talents and energy and I want to thank them as well. I don’t know about you, but I remember the hand-written thank you notes I receive and find that it makes me even more grateful and builds the relationship with that person. I remember writing and sending a hand-written thank you note to a colleague who was incredibly surprised and honored. He told me that he had never received anything so thoughtful. Wow! We have an opportunity to practice thankfulness and make a big impact through a small gesture.
Say “thank you”
When we practice reflecting on thankfulness, we are more likely to be able to recognize opportunities to say thank you. Depending upon the person, saying thank you may be best in a one-on-one or small group setting. For others, you can say “thank you” in a larger group setting. When we pay attention to the positive and say “thank you” it can go a long way to foster gratitude in us and strengthen the relationship with those we are thanking. When we say thank you, it’s important to be sincere and specific. For instance, if someone says, “Thank you for being so great!” it doesn’t have nearly as much impact as “Thank you for giving your time and insight to develop this community resource on helping people become nonsmokers.” In a recent virtual meeting, I asked the group what they were thankful for and many of them responded with specific examples of working together as a team and supporting each other to make a difference in the lives of the people we are serving. Hearing a specific “thank you” from those working together created an environment that supports continuing to work together.
As you think about these three ways to say thank you, which one will you try in the next couple of weeks?
One of the concepts that is connected to thankfulness is Emotional Intelligence. Download my free resource on Emotional Intelligence and Coalition Building!