Skip to content

Work Life Lead: Say Thanks Every Day

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been writing about the strategic importance of Gratitude to the Five Actions of Gratitude - blogpixleadership of organizations. The practice of gratitude can be described in terms of Five Actions:

Say Thanks

Give Back

Make Welcome

Honor Others

Create Goodness

For the next several weeks, I am going to take each one of the Actions and describe how to practice it, and the value and impact that can come from a consistent discipline of being grateful.

Let’s begin with Saying Thanks Every Day.

Saying Thanks Every Day

To Say Thanks Every Day requires a change of perspective for most of us. I came to realize that my giving of thanks was perfunctory at best, and often insulting. I’d say “Thanks for the red tie. I have one similar to it.” Somehow I missed the intention of the gift, and only saw it as another possession that I’d have to take care of . Graciousness was not evident in my response. I had that sort of mindset that thought I deserve better gifts than I received. I was ungrateful, and it hurt those who were giving to me out of love and kindness.

To be grateful is to recognize the impact that other people has upon our lives. It may be their love for us, or their affirmation of some talent that we have, or the access that their friendship gives us to someone who helps find success in life.  Regardless, it is a person who is giving to us in some way that we should be thanking. The more aware we become, the more reason to say thanks.

I want to make one practical suggestion about Saying Thanks Every Day. If you try to depend on being inspired, you’ll never fulfill the potential that resides in this activity. It is better to develop a discipline of gratitude. Here’s an simple exercise that you can use on a weekly basis.

The Circle of ThanksCircle of Thanks Picture

Take a moment to join me in a little exercise in giving thanks.

Take a piece of paper (Or use the guide that I’ve prepared ). Draw a circle in the middle of it like the diagram here show. Let it cover about half of the space on the page. At the top of the circle, on the inside, write family, on the right, friends, on the left, influencers, and, at the bottom, write work. Around each of those words, write names or initials of people who matter to you, or those who are close to or whom you are associated with through work or some organization. For the influencers category, write down names of people whose work or life story has impacted you in some positive way.

In the middle of the inner circle write down those acts of kindness or impact that these people have done to make a difference that matters in your life and work.

All I’m looking for are a list of names of people and reasons to say thanks to them. It is just that simple.

If look on the diagram, you’ll also see tow headings: Who To Thank and My Response.

This exercise is designed for weekly use. The list of the people you need to thank at first maybe quite long, and then a manageable one for a week.

The second list identifies what your response should be.  It could be a simple as writing a note of thanks. Or it could be more elaborate like preparing a surprise party for this person. The point is to become intentional about giving thanks, rather than simply spontaneous.

Try this for a few weeks, and let me know how it works.

The Impact of Saying Thanks

When we say thanks, there are two things that are accomplished.

The first is recognition for the act of kindness that the other person did. This recognition changes the relationship between the two people. It strengths the bond of caring or in a business of collaboration.

The second effect is that it opens us up to see possibilities and opportunities that we could not see before. We couldn’t because when we fail to appreciate the gifts of others, we fail to see beyond our own self-sufficiency.

As Thanksgiving Week in the US begins, take the Circle of Thanks, fill it in and take it with you to dinner and share with your family and friends just how important they have become to you.

Say thanks in a genuine and authentic ways, and your Thanksgiving Celebration will be a special part of each year.

About the author

Dr. Ed Brenegar I'm a leadership speaker, writer and consultant who is a mentor and catalyst for change. I assist leaders and their teams in the transitions required to succeed in today's complex organizational environment. I live in Western North Carolina. I'm involved the Boy Scouts, a charitable leadership training group called Lessons In Leadership, an ordained Presbyterian Church USA minister, and am the host of the Say Thanks Every Day social network.

Be Sociable, Share!

Posted in General Leadership, Leadership Q + A, Work Life Lead.

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .