When I attended Jack Canfield seminars I learned about having “an attitude of gratitude”. While this may sound hokie as hell, it can make a huge difference in the lives of more people than you know, including your own.
How many people do you see go through a checkout line without thanking the cashier. How many people do you see being given great service at a restaurant without thanking the server. How many people do you see at the airport thanking the attendant scanning their boarding passes?
Now, I'm not talking about the simple “thank you's” we seem to reflexively utter when someone does something for us, I mean a real thank you.
What's a real thank you sound like? It might sound like this…
“Thank you for opening the gym on time each morning. Many of us are on a time crunch and are trying to squeeze in workout before work. You being on time allows us to do that. Thanks for that.”
A real thank you might sound like this…
“Thank you for having what I know was a difficult conversation. I appreciate you taking this seriously, and taking immediate action.”
How to Thank Someone
It can be uncomfortable, at first, to thank someone in this fashion. I've thought about thanking someone like this, walked past without doing it, and then had to tell myself to “man up” and go thank that person. However I've found that with practice it becomes a lot easier. So how do you practice this?
First, get specific. Just saying “thank you” is great, but remember many of us say it reflexively. It doesn't have the power it once had. Instead, thank someone for a specific action they took, whether on your behalf or otherwise.
Second, when delivering your thank you, look the person in the eye. That's how the person knows you're serious.
Third, don't turn it into a back-handed compliment by adding anything additional like “time will tell” or adding “but …”.
Finally, don't stick around to get a return thank you, but also don't just blurt it out and run away. Take a pause after and then take off.
The Impact of a Thank You
Imagine if you received a thank you like what I've just described! How would that affect your day? How do you think it affects someone else's day?
Now imagine that your thank you helped that person feel better about him or herself. Knowing that she was appreciated, and told as much, she then smiles more which makes her happier. Because she's happier her attitude affects others around her, making them a bit happier, which in turn makes others happier.
Is this bullshit? No, it's not. I could get into how hormones affect relationships and all that, but seriously, who cares. All we need to know is that showing appreciation will make you feel better, and it will make the other person feel better as well. The impact of that affect will spread a lot farther than you know.
Opportunities For Thanking Someone
I could list out all the times we could potentially deliver a true thank you, however I'm not going to do that. Here's why. I believe that we all know, instinctively, when we should thank someone; I believe we just aren't used to doing it, so we don't.
To begin your journey to thank you mastery, at the end of your day take 2-3 minutes to reflect back on how the day went. Write down who you believe deserved a thank you, and why. For now, don't write down if you thanked them or not, just write down their name and why they deserve the thank you. Try to find at least one person to add to your list.
Try that out for a week and let me know how it went in the comments below. You are now on your way!