The Power of a Simple Thank You

I wrote the post below awhile back for the Phi Delta Theta Blog –  After reading it again, I thought it would perfect for my running project as thanking others is a big component of the project.  Those who participate will have the opportunity to thank important people in their lives.  I’ve found that a simple thank you has the power to make others and yourself feel great.

I had a really good day the other day.  It was one of those days that caused me to think about those people in my life who somehow made an impact on why the day was such a good one.  It would have been very easy for me to just go about my business that day, but I felt compelled to sit down, take 15 minutes, and send an email to a former professor, thanking him for sparking one of my interest. Now, I’m not writing this post to gloat about my good deed, rather, the response that I received from the professor made me think about how easy it is to make somebody’s day.

Response from my email – “Thank you so much for your email.  I cannot express how much your kind words meant to me. You made my day.”

It’s easy for many of us to forget to thank the people that have helped us out along the way, but “Becoming the Greatest Version of Yourself” is dependent on the support, assistance and guidance of others – You know, the whole “One Man is No Man” thing.  Your greatest version includes the ability to identify the people who have been positive influences in your life and makes it a priority to let them know this.  While written thank you cards are a nice touch, I believe that a thank you can be given in many ways: Phone calls, emails, text messages, Facebook/Twitter posts, etc.  I also believe that the most impactful thank you does not involve a gift.  The power of the written, typed or spoken word brings more meaning than a tangible gift.

So here’s my challenge to you.  Sit down today, make a list of five people who have been of positive influence to you, and thank them.  Here’s where you can start:

  • Thank your parents – Think of the selflessness your parents have given to allow you to succeed.  I believe this deserves a thank you. If your parents have not been supportive in your goals, thank those who have.  While I can’t speak from experience, I’m going to go out on a limb and state that there is no greater feeling for a parent than when his or her son or daughter says thank you.
  • Thank a professor, educator or mentor that has sparked an interest in your life – Educators are some of the most underpaid and undervalued people in our world, yet they commit themselves to seeing others succeed.  Think about those teachers in your life who went the extra mile to help you learn or find direction. My wife used to work in a Greek-life office on a college campus, and I vividly remember the days when she would come home and read me the kind words of others.  It energized her and helped her realize that what she was doing added value to others.
  • Thank a colleague or a fellow Phi Delt – No matter if you’re in the workplace or the Fraternity house, there are people around you who encourage your success.  If you have colleagues, thank the ones who have helped you grow professionally.  If you’re still in college, thank those peers who have encouraged you to get involved in something that’s important to you.
  • Thank somebody who constantly provides a service to you – Think of how many times each week another individual is providing a service to you.  Whether it’s your Starbucks barista, the guys at the shop who change the oil in your car or the waiter/waitress who makes great effort to keep you happy during your lunch hour, I can promise that you will make somebody’s day if you go out of your way to say thanks for their great service.  It doesn’t happen often in their world.
  • Thank your wife, husband, partner or significant other – The people who we take for granted the most are generally those individuals who are by our side the most.  The day-to-day grind many times gets in the way of life’s greatest purpose, building meaningful relationships.  Make an effort today to show your significant others that you are grateful to be with them.

I can promise two things from completing this exercise.  You will not only make somebody else’s day, but you will also make your own day.  That is the power of a simple thank you.

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