Guest Post by Melinda Clark
Most preschoolers have already experienced the reality that saying "thank you" is an essential step to getting what they want. Yet somewhere between preschool and a corporate leadership role, many of us seem to forget how important it truly is to say "thank you." While there are many reasons that a thank you is powerful, here are just three:
Saying "thank you" reminds us that many others have contributed to our success. Any accomplishment or completed project is a result of the investments our donors and others have made, whether in us directly, or in the project itself. When we stop to recognize those around us who have collaborated with us, we remember that we are part of a team rather than lone operators. The most widespread vine still needs a trellis or foundation to support its growth. Gratitude protects us from the arrogant conviction that we are the only ones to get things done.
Saying "thank you" also lets us remember how many people have invested in us over the course of our lifetimes. Whether donors or supporters, parents or professors, spouses or receptionists, many others have invested in large and small ways to allow us to do what we're doing today. Taking time to express gratitude to others lets us be honest about the fact that our skills and experiences are due to the investments of others. (Maybe an elementary school teacher who cared in extraordinary ways? A CEO who allowed us new opportunities?) Remember the vine that needs the trellis? If a trellis is missing slats, it will not be nearly as effective in supporting the vine. And even if it were effective, it will not be as attractive. Even the most self-made of self-made men and women benefit from others, and saying "thank you" is an honest expression of our indebtedness.
Saying "thank you" acknowledges the contributions of individuals around us. Nothing generates as much emotional and relational equity as expressing gratitude for the work of colleagues or the meal a spouse prepared. From our teenage children to the janitor, everyone is motivated and encouraged when their work is noticed and appreciated. When we take the time to practice gratitude, we discover reasons to celebrate even the most curmudgeonly co-worker. His presence makes a difference, and his absence would be noted. When we express gratitude, we are acknowledging that other individuals, no matter how similar or how different, are unique and valuable.
Of all people, we who have known much grace should be quick and ready to say “thank you” to others. God has been kind to us, and his kindness is often expressed through those around us. Take a look around today. Who is working alongside you and contributing to your success? Who in your past invested in you in ways that have shaped who you are today? Pull out a note card and just start writing: "Thank you for...because..."
Saying "thank you" is powerful.…
Melinda Clark grew up in another country, married her best friend after college, has five children and one dog, loves good coffee and a good book, has been transformed by the Gospel and is passionate about inviting others to follow Jesus, and is fascinated by how similar and how different we are as human beings. She has served as Selah’s CEO for seven years.