Whether someone is just doing their job, volunteering or exceeding expectations, gratitude goes such a long way. Genuine, intangible, heartfelt gratitude and appreciation. It is the most powerful form of recognition that anyone can provide. And it’s incredibly wonderful to be on the receiving end. The positive energy, aka positive vibes, are so strong it is sometimes possible to see the physical effects. It ignites others. And most of all, it feels great for everyone involved.
This morning I had the privilege of spending time with a very good friend, Jeff Ansell, who does communication and media training. Jeff knows that every time I talk about the tragic death of my mother and sisters, I have trouble controlling my tears. In order to prepare me for my upcoming book launch, Jeff offered to pull out the big guns and provide me with some anti-crying strategies. No guarantees of course, but at least the tears will be less immobilizing.
I picked Jeff up at 6 am so we could drive downtown together and beat the traffic. The first thing he did when he saw me was to thank me so much for picking him up. (He is helping and training me, and he’s thanking me. I would have picked him up in North Bay!) But that sweet and sincere “thank you” set the tone immediately. And then I watched as Jeff spread his magic throughout the early morning hours. We stopped for breakfast and he thanked the parking attendant, he thanked the host at the restaurant, he thanked the waiter, he thanked the chef. He doled out continuous, genuine, intangible, heartfelt gratitude and appreciation by saying thank you (really saying thank you) and smiling at each and every one of them. He did it so naturally and so sincerely, I don’t even think he realized the effect he was having on these people. But I did. They smiled back. They obviously felt his gratitude for them and for what they did, despite the fact that they were just doing their job.
He appreciated them. They appreciated him. It was like watching a gift exchange.
I can say with complete confidence that not a day has gone by where I haven’t thought about my family who I lost almost 40 years ago. And I can also say without any doubt, that both Barry and I are where we are today because we have valued and appreciated so many people along the way. An invitation for dinner, a ride somewhere, a cup of coffee, an old table and chairs . . . no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, we were grateful. We said thank you. The feel good kind of thank you. Because we meant it.
Having each lost so much as children, we learned early on that you never take anything for granted. We truly appreciated and valued anything and everything that others did for us. Gratitude was always our underlying attitude. And now that we are in a position to give back, we love the genuine thanks and appreciation we continuously receive. Giving, getting, appreciating, thanking . . . it’s a continuous positive cycle.
When someone says thank you and really means it, their gratitude makes its way right into your heart. I think we are incredibly lucky to understand and appreciate the value of gratitude in life.
It continues to amaze me that there are people like Jeff who thank others profusely for the smallest things, and sadly, there are others who will take and take without ever feeling grateful.
Ungratefulness breeds greed and jealousy.
Gratitude breeds abundance.