Giving Thanks

Give ThanksThanksgiving is upon us and it’s always a great reminder to give thanks in our lives.  I try very hard to give thanks every day of the year but this week really puts it on notice.  I am a huge believer in the power of gratitude and I believe in giving thanks not only for the blessings in our lives but also to give thanks to the people in our lives.  Do we say thank you enough to the people who really matter to us?  I hope we do.  Do we say thank you enough to those people on the peripheral of our lives, postmen, wait staff, nurses, retail clerks, mechanics etc? Probably not, but we need to.

Here are a few ideas for giving thanks:

1. A handwritten note: I cannot say it enough…taking the time to write a note in your own unique and special handwriting, is a gift all by itself.  Throw in beautiful stationery and you’ve really made someone smile.  It doesn’t take a lot of effort to write a note of thanks from the heart.

2. Give a great book: When you read a really good book do you think of the people in your life who would enjoy the book as well?  Then make it a habit to either pass along the book or buy a new one for someone who would really benefit from the message in the book.  I love to give books as gifts.  Include a thankful message inside the book and it’s the perfect way to give thanks.

3. Pay it forward: We were recently in our favorite brunch spot, The Farmer’s Table, and we learned that the folks before us bought our breakfast.  This was such a treat! We decided to keep it going and buy the next person’s breakfast as well.  In line at Starbucks, or drive through at McDonald’s, make yourself happy by paying for the person or car behind you.  When you have a really great wait person…tip a little more, especially during the holidays.  This is a great way to give thanks.

What are your favorite ways to give thanks?

Don’t Forget to Say Thank You

thank youThank you for reading my blog post today, I really appreciate it.

In this crazy, busy society that we are all living in now, I think there are times when we forget to stop and say “thank you.”

Ok, confession time.  I LOVE the book, The Secret.  eek! Did I just admit that publicly? Yes, I did.  That book changed me and changed the way I perceived the world and my future.  I either write down or recite (in the car) what I am grateful for every single day.  It is so important to me.  Plus I have specific instances where this practice of gratitude and intention has brought me an abundance of blessings…in fact, I am married to the man of my dreams all because I set my intentions on meeting him.

I will save that sappy story for another time. Thanking someone for doing a favor for you is showing gratitude to that person and it is a positive action.  I truly believe the more gratitude you show and the more positive action you put out, the more wonderful things come your way.

Lately, I’ve been sort of blown away by the lack of thank yous in my life.  In the last month, I have directly found jobs for two people and neither one thanked me for the favor nor did they tell me they got the job…someone else told me.  I find this so strange…not that I particularly need a thank you, but I’m so surprised they didn’t think it was appropriate to thank me. I would never allow someone to do a favor for me without not only thanking them in person but also sending a handwritten note.

I deal with people every week who don’t say thank you for anything I do for them and then they wonder why I am less eager to help them in the future.  It’s just common decency really…be nice and say thank you.  I find that a simple thank you in the office keeps relationships running smoothly.  The minute you take someone for granted or the job they do for granted, the relationship becomes strained.  This isn’t important only in the office, this can easily happen with those people closest to you.  Spouses, children, parents…we can’t take them for granted either. A thank you goes a long way!

 

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” Meister Eckhart

 

Pick Up or Get Up

In a recent blog post, I talked about the ‘reply all’ function and why I believe people need to pick up the phone or get up from their desks and talk to people instead of emailing.  Trust me, I’m guilty of this all the time.  I email folks when I could just pick up the phone and get the answer or result I am looking for instantly.  Email is easier and less invasive.  I’m learning, however, if I want a quick answer or if what I need to discuss is complicated, it is far easier to pick up the phone or walk to that person’s office and ask.  Sure, I know there won’t be a paper trail or a ‘cover your ass’ trail but it is more productive to get a quick solution…isn’t that what we are all trying to accomplish anyway?

Several years ago, I heard a Walmart executive talk about Mr. Sam’s rule for making decisions…basically something to the effect of, “Don’t make a big decision from your desk chair.” The executive went on to talk about how he had a store manager that needed to be fired. The store employees were complaining, store sales were down and so was morale. This executive could have easily fired the store manager from his desk chair that day. Instead, he got up, flew to the store and met with the store manager face to face. He learned that the store manager’s wife was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and the store manager was simply doing everything he could to stay afloat. The executive didn’t fire the store manager, he got him the help he needed and the time to be with his wife. This story stuck with me for all these years and has always reminded me to ‘get up’ and ask questions in person.

Another reason it’s good to talk in person is because tone is a very difficult thing to interpret in an email. I have the annoying habit of using way too many exclamation points in my emails (and texts, tweets, etc!)…mostly because I am trying to reflect my fun nature in the tone of my email. If a person doesn’t use exclamation points, or happy faces then sometimes tone can be misinterpreted in an email. Tone is rarely misinterpreted in a phone call or face to face conversation. There are times when you mean to inflect a stern tone in an email and the receiver misses the point all together. I promise if you pick up the phone, they won’t miss the tone at all from your voice.

Next time you start to write that email; try to pick up or get up. A few things will happen, for one, the person might actually appreciate talking to you because it is more personal than email, two, your message will be clear and concise (hopefully) and three, it’s always good to get up from our desks and walk somewhere!

Reply All…Let’s Not!

ive-never-been-held-hostage-but-ive-been-on-a-group-text-feb05Have you ever been on one of those never ending ‘reply all’ emails?  Absolute agony.  People, it is 2014 why can we not figure out how to properly use the ‘reply all’ function? To me, reply all simply means “cover your ass” because that is usually why someone uses the ‘reply all’ function.

Just the other day I explained it like this…person A. (let’s call him Jack) Jack needs an answer to a question and so he emails the 8 members of his team hoping that someone in that group will know the answer.  (Jack could also pick up the phone or {God forbid} walk to someone’s office but I will save that for another blog post) Perfectly fine for Jack to email the 8 staffers but here’s what usually happens next.  Person B. (let’s call her Sally) Sally immediately replies all with the answer to Jack’s question thus winning the make believe game in her head that you must be first to reply all! Then person C. (…Bob) Bob also replies all with the answer just mere seconds after Sally and so on and so on. Meanwhile person H. (YOU) gets out of their meeting and has 48 emails in their inbox…WTH?

In this instance, NO ONE should reply all.  Jack is the one who posed his question to 8 people, only Jack should suffer the 8 email responses not the other 8 people.  Now I know what the reply allers will say “But how do we know if Jack got his answer if we don’t reply all?” That is Jack’s problem, not anyone else’s.

Once ‘reply all’ starts it’s contagious thus making one simple email turn in to several.  Who has time for that? Aren’t we all aspiring to “Inbox Zero?”

Here’s another ‘reply all’ scenario.  If you are putting 50 email addresses in the T0: or the CC: area you are doing it wrong! And guess what this leads to? Someone replying all accidentally to all 50 people in your email. Disaster.  This is a nightmare situation for the 43 people who didn’t care one lick about the original email to begin with.

Reply all is a very delicate tool, one that must not be taken lightly.  Today we feel empowered to email anyone, anytime and that has lead to poor email etiquette in my opinion.  I myself am trying to pick up the phone more or talk face to face with people because I believe (much like the handwritten note) people appreciate human contact more than another email in their inbox.

The next time you get the urge to reply all…stop and either just hit reply or pick up the phone and say “hello.”

Here’s a great article about how to mute reply all emails.