Have you ever given someone a compliment or thanked someone and been surprised at how positive their response was? Something that seems so small and insignificant as a kind word or stopping to express thanks can have a HUGE impact on someone.
And if you think about it, it makes total sense. How often has a small act of gratitude made your day? Or motivated you to be even better? Sometimes a simple thanks can make a big difference.
One of my absolute favourite things is recognizing others. In fact, I used to say that my ideal job would be CRO: Chief Recognition Officer. If I could go around and tell people how great they are and how amazing their work is, I would be a happy girl. I used to dream about being like Aaron Eckhart in Love Happens: motivating, high fiving and hugging strangers, celebrating their successes.
This year, I’ve made a conscious effort to act when that voice in my head says “Wow, that was really nice of her!” or “I’m inspired.” Instead of brushing it off and getting on with my day, I make an effort to stop and recognize the source of that joy, comfort, or inspiration.
Telling someone how positively they impacted you or thanking them for their hard work can make a huge impact. First, it will at the very least make them smile and improve their day even in a small way. Second, it will validate what they did and encourage them to keep at it, ultimately benefiting countless others. And third, it will selfishly improve YOUR mood since being generous (with praise and kindness!) releases endorphins.
Ready to spread the love but not sure how? Whether you’re looking to give kudos to someone at work or thank a stranger, here are 3 meaningful ways to express thanks.
While I’d always recommend thanking someone sincerely and in person, these are additional ways to make your message go further or accommodate for distance.
Send a meaningful thank you email.
I used to do this ALL the time when I worked in corporate! Send a quick note to a colleague thanking them for their efforts on a project or task. Mention not only to what they did, but how they did it and its ultimate impact.
For example: “Thank you so much for your contributions to the customer experience project. Not only did you give us great insight about new trends in the market, but you explained everything thoroughly and answered our numerous questions! We’ll be using this information to shape our strategy for next quarter.”
Quick and easy to write, but also structured in a way that gives specific feedback and encouragement. It’s also written which allows them to hang on to it and re-read it.
Want to boost its impact? Copy their boss on the email. This will score you brownie points with your colleague and gives their boss insight into their employee’s performance, possibly impacting their performance review and compensation. Plus, people always like to know how their employees are doing, so you’re doing them a favour by sharing your insight. This can also build your reputation with their manager for that very reason.
Share their message.
A few months ago, I stumbled across the Facebook page for Finding Cooper’s Voice, a blog about a family’s journey with an autistic child. I’m not even sure how I found it: I don’t have children nor do I know anyone with severe autism. But for some reason, Kate Swenson, the blogger behind the page, just spoke to me. Since then, I’ve read most of her blog posts and watch many of her videos.
I’ve since realized that what drew me to Kate’s journey her authenticity. She’s real about her struggles, successes, wins, and challenges. She is open about the highs and the lows. And what she says resonates with where I find myself right now.
Kate’s story is about so much more than autism. It’s about how to get back up one more time after being beaten down repeatedly. How to not take ourselves so seriously all the time. Staying focused on the wins and our end goals versus getting caught up in the daily grind and the setbacks.
To express thanks for the inspiration Kate has given me, I share her blog and Facebook page with others (like mentioning it here!) I’ve shared it with a friend who works as an ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapist with kids with autism. I mention it to family. And now I’m sharing it with you!
I recognize her mission is to drive awareness of autism, so I do what I can to help spread the message. This is a way to honour her goals and express my thanks for what her openness has done for me.
Follow up with a phone call or card.
Recently, my parents gave my fiancé and I a really kind gift that blew us away. I thanked them profusely at the time, but as the day went on, it felt like it wasn’t enough. That night, even though I had thanked them already, my fiancé and I called them together. We told them how much we deeply appreciated their thoughtfulness and how much it meant to us. I don’t think they were expecting being thanked yet again for the same thing. But having the two of us call together and express how grateful we were made for a more impactful thank you.
Along the same lines, you can send a hand written thank you card as a follow up. After receiving a very thoughtful engagement gift from my aunt and thanking her in that conversation, we mailed her a follow up thank you card to reiterate our appreciation.
Recognizing someone pays dividends, and it’s a wonderful habit to cultivate. Using these suggestions, I encourage you to spread some love today!
Leave me a comment below with your favourite feel-good recognition story – I’d love to hear it!