The Power of Thanks Is in Us All, If We’re Willing to Share It

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Apr 10, 2015

I benefit from my job in the same ways most people do. I earn a paycheck that pays for a roof over my head and food in my belly.

But because my company is focused on creating cultures of recognition and appreciation through the Power of Thanks, I also benefit from both being encouraged to share my gratitude for my peers and their work in a direct and meaningful way as well as receiving similar recognition myself.

And then there’s a third benefit of the work I get to do.

Noticing the contributions of others

Call it a side effect, if you will. I’ve noticed that being immersed in a culture of recognition has turned me into a far more appreciative person in all aspects of my life, at work and at home. It’s impossible to train yourself to pick up your head out of your own little world to notice the efforts and contributions of others at work and then not do the same at home, too.

Often, without realizing it, I’m far more complimentary of the people I interact with as I go about life – grocery store cashiers and personal friends, gas station attendants and family members – who they are doesn’t matter so much as the humanity they represent.

We are all built needing to hear praise and appreciation from others. I’m just glad I’ve learned skills to do that better.

But let me be clear. Really valuable recognition (from the perspective of the recipient) isn’t a casually tossed off, “Hey, thanks! You do great work. I appreciate it.” No, really valuable recognition takes into account what you know about the other person, their circumstances and the unique value or difference they bring to the scenario.

Stories of gratitude

I’ve started to keep my eyes peeled for when I see this kind of recognition occur. One new outlet I particularly like that highlights these kinds of stories is the Huffington Post Gratitude page. Filled with stories from around the world and various scenarios, it’s impossible to leave this page not feeling uplifted about our capacity to lift each other up through gratitude, appreciation and thanks.

One such story recently appeared, sharing the appreciation of a flight passenger to her pilots. The text of her message is below:

Dear pilots of the plane taking me home,

In light of the very recent tragedy in the French Alps and the loss of those poor 150 people, I feel the need to reach out to you and extend a compassionate hand. At the end of the day, we are all humans just trying to live this rollercoaster of a life we have been handed. I understand an event so horrific as this one affects those with your responsibility more than others, and maybe sometimes a kind word, random but heartfelt, can make a difference. I’m hoping to create a ripple effect and spread some compassion and understanding.

Thank you for taking me home. Thank you for doing so safely. Thank you for allowing me to live the life I do in Spain and split my time with my family in England too. You make the excitement I feel now to see my family possible. I hope you get to see your families soon. I’ve had a wonderful flight and hope you have too.

You’re making a massive difference and you’re the reason I can smile tonight.

Take care and spread love.

Kindest regards, Bethanie.

Smoothing out the wild ride

“We are all humans just trying to live this roller coaster of a life we have been handed.” So true, but I do believe we can smooth out that wild ride when we put a little effort into noticing and valuing the people around us.

It’s that human connection that matters most, facilitated through the simple act of saying “thanks.”

What’s a powerful message of gratitude or thanks you’ve heard recently?

This was originally published on the Recognize This! blog.