The Appreciation Factor

All things Appreciation: Things to Appreciate and the Ways we look at, Show and Think about Appreciation.


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November is National Gratitude Month

There seems to be a great partnership with #NationalGratitudeMonth and well the month that has Thanksgiving… but as I always say, why share gratitude and appreciation only one day of the year? You should share it every day.

Showing gratitude or appreciation really only takes a moment but the effects can be life changing or at least resonate well beyond the moment you share it.  However words can lose meaning if they’re just words. Be sure when you express your gratitude you do it sincerely, or show it through heartfelt actions.

In honor of National Gratitude Month and celebrating what The Appreciation Factor is all about…

Here are 30 ideas to show your gratitude this month (1 for each day):

  1. Keep a gratitude journal or jot down 1-3 things your grateful for each day  Remember, gratitude starts with you. If you’re not appreciating yourself or the things around, it’s harder to be grateful for other things and/or other people. I love the Happiness Planner there’s a space to provide things you are grateful for each day and/or each week.
  2. Write at least 1 thank you note per week this month
    • Ideas: Colleagues, a provider (e.g., think your exercise coach, Barre3 instructor, personal trainer or even the mailman who always puts your packages under the bench to keep them hidden), your local librarian, a friend who always just seems to be there, and/or family members are just a few who I know would appreciate a heart-felt note.
  3. Create 10 www.kindnessrocks.org rocks and place them around your neighborhood  While the movement started on the beach, I recently found one in my neighborhood (not at all near the beach) and the message was so important for me to read at that time.  That rock now sits prominently on my window sill.
  4. Create a holiday card list  Compile a list of everyone whom may have helped you this year; it can even include your boss.  Getting ready now means you can beat the holiday rush and mail these out either around Thanksgiving or at the very beginning of December to cut through the clutter and make an impact.
  5.  Volunteer  Find and organization that is meaningful to you and see if you can lend a hand. Many groups have annual events that you can help staff. You can also help them with a mailing or make deliveries. How and where you help is really up to you.  *I do recommend that you find an organization that you can stick with – at least for a year or two. The longer you volunteer, the more responsibilities you may be given.
    • Not sure who’s looking for volunteers? Try www.volunteermatch.org which matches you with local organizations based upon your ZIP code and across multiple categories.
  6. Clean up We’ve all come across trash/debris during our day.  Keep a garbage bag in your trunk or backpack and pick up the litter when you see in on your walk or commute. You’re saying thanks to your town/environment by keeping it a little cleaner and greener.
  7. Donate a book(s) to a Little Free Library We’ve all been there. We’re cleaning up our home/apartment and come across books we’ve read and just don’t have the room for anymore. Consider a neighborhood Little Free Library for these gems. The concept is that anyone can take a book and/or leave a book.  Check out the link above for locations that are near you, or ask to create one in your neighborhood or town.
  8. Donate food to a food pantry  Be grateful for your ability to buy or have food on the table by sharing food with those who may need that extra help each month.
  9. “Buy” Make Lunch/Dinner  Keeping food allergies and preferences in mind, make or buy lunch/dinner for a friend. This is even better when it’s a surprise.  It’s different way to say rather than simply sending a note or sharing it verbally.
  10. Donate your clothing/household items   You can select the charity you prefer, but why not give life to your gently used items by donating them. (Just a FYI: Goodwill accepts all kinds of fabric scraps — from the one sock, to ripped T’s they make things from these miscellaneous items and ship them around the world.)
  11. Create a “Honey it’s what you Do” list  Most have heard of a “Honey Do” list where you list chores and tasks you want our significant other to help you with. Instead, create a list of all of the things that make him/her special to you. 
  12. Social shout out In a world that’s become fixated on social media, share your gratitude,  recommendation and/or shout out on social for friends and colleagues to see. Everyone likes to be recognized!
  13. Send a small meaningful gift  Keeping meaningful in mind, find a small token to show your appreciation for a friend, family member, colleague or provider. Pick something that they’ve had their eye one, one that will make them smile and/or something that they like to do. e.g., I have a friend who is addicted to iTunes.  I bought a $5 card for her to buy a couple of songs to add to her collection.
  14. Reach out and touch someone – via the phone So often we text our conversations.  Instead, pick up the phone and make it more personal with a call.
  15. Say thank you  Some things that people do for us may seem like their job or expected. However, saying thank you to the checkout girl, sales associate, or your boss will be noticed and appreciated.
  16. Provide a Recommendation/Referral Provide an unsolicited, positive recommendation on LinkedIn, or offer to be a reference for a new job. Don’t wait to be asked, make the offer instead.
  17. Call out great service to a manager Whether it be in the retail store or at the office, making a point to call out – and be specific as possible – how someone has helped you to their manager is huge. So often managers only hear the complaints. When you are praising their employees, in a small way, you’re also praising their management. It’s a two-fer!
  18. Write a thank you note to a service member Being in combat or in the field can be a lonely, challenging and scary place. They may love making a difference but they miss those here at home.  A note from a stranger thanking them for their contributions can brighten what may at times feel like a bleak situation.  Operation Gratitude is just one organization that can help you can share your thanks with the troops.
  19. Pick/Buy Flowers  Pick a bouquet (if out of your own yard of course!) or buy a small bunch at a florist or Trader Joe’s. Nothing perks up a day like a thank you via flowers!
  20. Help a family member or friend do something they need (even if it’s not something you enjoy) There are always those tasks that no one likes to do, but as their friend or family member, lighten the load and let them know you care by helping them out.  (e.g., raking leaves, cleaning the house (you could clean 1 room) etc.)
  21. Say you’re sorry  Being grateful also means that you care enough to say sorry when you’re in the wrong/have hurt someone.
  22. Make a gift The most appreciated gifts can be those that are homemade. Again, identify something that would be meaningful to the recipient. Do they like the beach? Make a shell collage from their favorite location.
  23. Visit  Like our penchant for texts vs. calling, actual in-person visits are going by the way side. Find time to spend with a family member or friend and truly be in the moment with him/her. *Note this means putting down your phone while you do!
  24. Do the dishes or make dinner without being asked Instead of a trade-off (I cook, you clean), simply take over the clean-up or cooking.
  25. Lighten the load  Offer to take on a colleague’s project if appropriate.  You know you would appreciate the help if it were offered.
  26. Write yourself a “love” letter As I mentioned earlier, it’s important to appreciate yourself. Take 20 minutes to really call out what makes you special and unique from everyone else. (It’s OK to brag here.) It’s a great way to give yourself a boost if you’re feeling less than spectacular – today or in the future.
  27. Tell someone that they make the world a better place What a powerful statement to hear!
  28. Provide a Loan If you’re able, loan someone some money that s/he may need without the expectation of having it paid back. Or loan a tool/book or other object, again without expecting him/her to return it.
  29. Bake something Bake a sweet or savory treat for someone to show how much you care.
  30. Celebrate a tradition or holiday that you may not already celebrate but someone you care about does.  Diversity is important, and respecting and supporting traditions and holidays that are important to those you care about shows your respect and gratitude for having them in your life.

WOW 30 ideas!  Are you inspired?  Don’t fret if you’ve come across this post after November 1st or even months from now.  You don’t need a special day or month to share gratitude and appreciation.  If you read this in mid-November, many of these ideas are easy to do and you can accomplish more than one in one day if your goal is to complete 30.  However, I strongly recommend that you pick those ideas above (or create your own) that are most meaningful to you or things that you’d like to do (or things you don’t really like to do #19,) which show you care.

On December 1st, count up how many tasks you completed.  How many did you cross off?  I bet your outlook on life and attitude in general has improved! I know I’ve attracted great things and am happier when I’ve taken more time to share and experience gratitude for things and people around me.

 

So how about it – who’s joining me in #30DaysofGratitude and celebrating #NationalGratitudeMonth?
Share your ideas and what you did for others in the comments below! I can’t wait to read them!

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Have You Said Thank You Lately?

If not, today is definitely the day to do it.  It’s National Thank you Day!

Sometimes I think that there are holiday’s custom-made for The Appreciation Factor, and if so, this is surely one of them.   As one of the biggest proponents of expressing my appreciation and saying thanks, this day speaks volumes. Of course, for those of you who know me well, we shouldn’t require a “holiday” dedicated to appreciation to be the only time and/or reason to say thanks, but if it helps… I’ll take it!

Does Saying Thanks Make a Difference?

Saying thank you is powerful.  It can bring joy.  It can immediately disarm someone who’s feeling under appreciated.  It can also provide validation for the hard work.  I even read a great article that said showing appreciation to your employees will subconsciously make them work harder for you and increase their longevity at the company.  I know I try harder when a boss has told me that I’ve done a good job.

I think this is why it always puzzles me when these comments come up, “You’re paid to do a good job,” and “They are supposed to do X so why should I thank them?”   I don’t ever think that monetary compensation or the fact that a task/chore is something a person is supposed to do should be a reason not say thank you. Nor do I think that others always intuitively know that you are grateful unless you say something.  People thrive on praise and often strive to feel worthy. Saying thank you or sending a thank you note is a great way to acknowledge their help, and to help them achieve those goals.

 

Thanks Aren’t Necessary…. That’s probably not 100% True

I’m sure you’ve met someone who’s said, “It’s OK, I don’t need any thanks,” but likely it’s not 100% true. If you agree with Dr. Laura Trice (in the TED Talk below), people may say this simply because admitting that they need and want to feel appreciated and praised would be sharing their deep-seeded insecurities/needs.  I would propose that these people would appreciate it if you  shared your gratitude for the help, support, or kind act.

 

On this National Thank You Day, I’m pledging to write and/or say thank you to those who are making a difference in my life, supporting my goals I’m also going to make sure that I go out of my way to thank those for the simpler things, like the stranger who holds the door for you, or the librarian who took a few extra minutes to help find that “must read book”.  So how about it?  Today on #NationalThankYouDay take that extra minute and say thanks.  I KNOW it will make a difference in someone’s day.

And a tip:  If you’re on the receiving end, be sure to say “You’re Welcome.” So often we counter with “No problem,” “It’s OK,” or “Don’t Worry About it,” but whatever we’ve done did help someone and it make a difference.  So it’s better to graciously acknowledge the thanks and move on.

 

Want to Make Your Thank You Extra Special?  

Send a handwritten thank you note. (Always my preferred method of showing gratitude.)  These are some of the cards I’m using these days.  Many have “Thank you” incorporated on the card itself, but if you recall Janet Parnes, the etiquette expert’s advice it’s actually better to NOT have “Thank you” imprinted. So I sometimes use these lovely gold embossed initial cards below that I received for Christmas.

 

 

 

Card Details:

Thanks a Ton:  This cutie is from Red + Wolfe, an eco-friendly paper company that gives $1 per card sold to wildlife conservation. For all of you Bostonian followers, this owner/maker, Rachel Mott sells her cards at SOWA markets and at several specialty boutiques in the South End. (I’m planning to feature her in the blog soon so keep a look out).

 

Thank You with gold embossed starfish: Picked up these gems at #Marshalls.  They’re a part of Graphic de France’s La Petite Presse line.  They are so cute that I almost hated to use them!

 

Gold Hand Engraved Initial K:  Available in every letter of the alphabet, these are from Crane 

 

 

**Need tips on writing a powerful thank you note? Check out this post or this one.

What is the most memorable thank you you’ve ever received?
Do you have a go to card/stationery/shop you turn to when you write a thank you note?

I’m always looking for new options!


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The Appreciation Factor’s Turns 5!

5th-anniversary

Today is the The Appreciation Factor’s 5th Anniversary!  

Wow! Who knew when I started this blog in 2012 that I would still be here 5 years later. Well….I’d hoped I’d still be here, but you know best intentions and all of that. Here we are, 80+ posts later.

When I started out, I knew that I wanted to create a blog about a topic I was passionate about, so it started with talking about the importance of writing Thank you notes. However, I wasn’t sure that there would be enough content around just writing about thank you notes and I decided to expand it to “sharing appreciation,” but truly it became the overarching topic of appreciation.  I also knew that to some degree I couldn’t worry about whether others disagreed with me or not.  As I’ve stated in the “about me” page, I primarily write to share my passion about appreciation and gratitude, but I also want to offer a point of view that you may not have considered, or tips to help you share your appreciation.

I’ve been really happy to find ways to expand on my “how to write”/”why write thank you notes” posts to cover Things I Appreciate, like Día de los Muertosfall, beach etiquette, my fitness quest (still going strong by the way!), New Jersey and many more. You may have also seen two posts where I was fortunate to partner with others.  The first as a guest blogger on The Cutie Life, and more recently where I featured etiquette coach, Janet Parnes.  Both were extremely rewarding and I’m in talks with other bloggers and professionals to do more!

Two other additions to the blog that have become favorites of mine are Thankful Thursdays where I curate stories and/or videos that I feel exemplify appreciation, have moved me, or talk about people making a difference; and the second where I write about showing appreciation, especially in the form of Random Acts of Kindness (ROAKs) and promoting Giving Tuesday.  Both I are causes anyone can do, and both help make the world a better place.
The Future

I hope to continue to share some fresh posts on the topics above, and come up with new ones. Part of the challenge fun about having a blog is that you can come up with new features, approaches or even a new direction.  I hope you’ll continue to come along for the ride as I go into my 5th year, as well as share my posts with others, on your blogs or via Social Media, or not… as I’m content to have you simply read and enjoy them.  I’m appreciative of all of my followers, and really at the end of the day, if I’ve made you think about something in a new way, or supported a viewpoint you already have, then I’ve already done what I’d hoped to do.

 

Content/Compensation Free:

One additional thing that I wanted to clarify.  At times I will promote a brand, site, product etc.  At this time, The Appreciation Factor is not written for financial gain. I write it to support my passion for all things appreciation and writing.  I am not paid, nor do I receive any products to talk about. Candidly I have considered this option and I’m not against this approach as I’ve thought about a post/partnering with a paper company or another service that promoted appreciation, gratitude and thanks yous, but to date, I have not.  Should this ever change, I will absolutely let you know, and be very clear about it in the post.
What this means: Unless I state otherwise, all opinions are mine and I’m not compensated for any links or clicks you make on The Appreciation Factor.  Feel free click without worry and the ability to see that related content on a separate tab. (A pet peeve of mine are posts that take me away from the content I’m reading just to sell me something. Perhaps that’s how one is “supposed to do it”, but it’s just not for me.) I hope this encourages you to click, read, and share to your heart’s content.

 

Please, please, please don’t hesitate to also share your ideas. While I’m always searching the internet and news for stories and topics, I may miss something. Let me know if you see something you think I should share or a topic I should cover. I love hearing from my followers.

 

Best wishes, and many thanks to each of you. Here’s to 5 more years! (Hey I can dream can’t I?)

K

 


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What if You’re Not “Thankful”?

I’ve written posts at The Appreciation Factor about why you should write thank you notes, and provided tips on writing business and personal thank you notes. However I’ve recently been asked about what to do when you know you should write one, but aren’t 100% thankful.

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Customers and Networking Contacts Deserve Your Thanks

It seems to be that time of year, where the question has come up again about how to appropriately say thank you to your customers and networking contacts or (to my horror) whether you should even take the time to send a thank you.

Just today I came across two references on this topic. One referred to the sales benefits you could attain by saying thanks (at all times of the year), and the other was around the topic of whether to send holiday cards as a way to show a business’ appreciation.

In the blog post by Julian Bush on Financenk’s, business development blog, called 4 Ways to increase Sales by Showing Gratitude to Customers he addresses four key areas about appreciation.  This article was totally up my ally as it had overall resounding support of showing and thinking about appreciation at all times.  Bush’s first two points supported my belief that your customers and networking contacts deserve the time to say thanks.  It’s his view that to succeed in business is to show gratitude.

Here are the two points that resonated with me regarding the client and network perspective:

Those who have helped you. 

He recommends taking time each day to send a thank you message via email, text, or Internet greeting card, (See my recommendation for this last one) to those who may have, for example, referred a client or helped you in some way.

I agree, though for me, every day might be too overwhelming and I’d want to ensure that the act of showing my appreciation was meaningful vs. a chore. (It would NOT however, be dependent upon how large or small the act of assistance or kindness was.)Picture1

 

Are you appreciative for knowing someone?

Bush’s expression of gratitude expands to all who positively impact your life. This could be your family, your friends, your customers and colleagues.  He believes that to share this appreciation will attract more of the same assistance and likely reciprocal gratitude your way.

 

 

His last two areas talk to written affirmation of what your thankful for as a whole, and in your daily life. Both are worth a review.

Bush sums up his post with the statement that by taking the time to show gratitude to your clients will reap the rewards of deep loyalty, an increase in client retention and profits. I really can’t argue this fact, as many of my clients have remained close over the span of 10-12 years. I think this partly due to my ongoing recognition of their assistance and simply their support of my business and/or services.

 

Xmas Thank you note

This leads me to the second reference I found today.  I came across this in one of my LinkedIn Groups, Sticky Branding.  A lead contributor, Jeremy Miller, posed the question, “What’s your take on the practice of sending season’s greetings cards to clients.”  While the response ran the gamut of sending personalized cards, to ones that go out at Thanksgiving or New Year’s, the answer was a resounding “YES!”  Again, I’m fully in support.  We should always extend our appreciation to those who have helped along the way.

Each year around this time, I feel lucky as I start compiling a list of customers, clients, network contacts, and colleagues who have been instrumental to my success over the past year.  Just prior to the Christmas holiday, I’ll send out cards (both traditional, non-secular printed cards or an email card (see my post on a great resource) wishing this group, “Season’s Greetings” and a reminder of how much their help, their business or general goodwill to me during the year has meant.  This list truly reminds me of how blessed I’ve been.  *NOTE: I don’t see these cards as taking the place of the acknowledgement I would have sent at the time of the action/assistance.

Thanksgiving TY Note

There were many takes on the timing of these cards. Some proposed the Thanksgiving holiday time – which I agree, is right in line with the holiday’s meaning as we think about it today. Others expounded on the “Christmas” card time frame, still others a New Year’s timing.

While I personally aim for Christmas, I thought the New Year’s group had a point. Perhaps if I delayed my delivery slight, my card could provide more impact. My card/message would be seen/read and break through the clutter. However, I did disagree with the strategy some who’s goal was to send these notes to increase business.  I send my holiday cards as a message of appreciation and thanks.  I’d like to think that no matter my timing, that the sentiment (and yes I do include a personalized 1-2 sentence thank you on each and every card I send) would be received/appreciated no matter when it reaches my recipients mail/in box.

 

 

What you do you think?
Does your business send cards?  Do you personally send notes when someone has helped you or after you’ve completed a project with a client?  Do you see your cards or thank you notes as a way to increase business/used to impact business?  Would you send one regardless of the financial impact they may or may not have? Or is there an impact on your brand or company that you think sending these out may have?


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In Business It’s Always a Great Practice

I wanted to follow up with the 2nd in the 3-part series about Why We Say Thank You, and today I’m focusing on Business Thank you notes. 

I am a big proponent of saying thank you and especially in sending  thank you notes.  I believe that saying thank you is one of the best business practices you can follow.  Thank you notes show that you are professional, you can be humble, they can help set you apart and land that great job you may be after, and they can help build strong, long-lasting relationships with colleagues, customers, prospects and key industry influencers; plus it is expected.

Writing a HW TY Note

When Should We Write Them In Business?

  • After an interview (no matter if it was in-person, on the phone or via Skype)
  • After you have received an endorsement or referral
  • When you have received advice or assistance in your career or on a project (I’d recommend these for those outside of my immediate firm.  Inside the firm a verbal thank you does the trick.)
  • Thanking a customer for their ongoing patronage of your business or services

The Handwritten vs. Typed vs. Email

HANDWRITTEN: This is my absolute top choice with it comes to sending a thank you note.  It shows that you care enough to take the extra time it takes to find a note card or stationary, write the appropriate appreciative sentiments, and put it in the mail.  It will set you apart from many who will quickly jot down an email, because you will be more likely to take more time to think about what you want to express before you write it down than you might in an email. To me this is a win win classy approach.

TYPED I have taken this approach at times where I felt the audience would be more receptive to a more formal approach. (e.g., financial institutions and clients often responded more favorably to the typed note or thank you.)  I’ve also used this version when I felt I needed more space to clarify a point in greater detail than might fit on a 4×6 thank you note.  (I’ll still keep it fairly brief and to the point  — I’ll address some times momentarily –, but it might be more straight-forward, and actually can look shorter if you take this approach.

EMAIL:   I may sound old-fashioned, but I do not believe in emailing a thank you note, especially after a job interview.  I know that some believe that emailing shows that you are technically savvy and aware of today’s electronic practices and in some cases, immediacy of the send is critical.  However, this method most often leaves me with the feeling that there was not a lot of thought that went into sending it, or that I couldn’t be bothered to write or type something and then put it in the mail.

If you absolutely feel that your handwriting is so poor that you message would be indistinguishable or if you’re applying to a company that expressed a dislike for all things paper – then email.  BUT… in no uncertain terms, take a casual approach to the message, (e.g., use slang, use a tone that expresses too much familiarity (if he/she is someone you haven’t known/done business with before.)  You should also never send a mass email or copy and paste the same body message to each of the recipients.  Each messages should be sent to one individual and personalized in the body copy based on the situation and discussion that took place.  They will compare your notes – I can guarantee that!

If you must send a note electronically, consider using an electronic card service like Puchbowl, or Hallmark (you can read more about these sites in my “An Electronic Thank You that even I Can Love” post.

Why Should I write One (Beyond the Above Reasons) aka What are the Potential Benefits?
Here are 3 Great Reasons:

  1. It makes a lasting impression, long after you’ve verbally said thank at the time of the interview, assistance or business interaction.
  2. It can help you build a solid business relationship with colleagues, customers and make a positive impression on prospects, that  extends long after he/she has received the note.
  3. It can set you apart from another candidate if: he/she did not send one, or you both are equally matched and you expressed a point you forgot to mention in the interview.  I can also show your attention-to-detail, especially if you hand write your note, and the other candidate sends a quick impersonal email.
DID YOU KNOW?
Thank you notes are expected by most hiring managers and recruiters.  According to a CareerBuilder.com survey…

Stats

Helpful Tips for Successful Thank You Notes

While I can’t write it for you, nor go into too much detail here in the post, I have assembled some personal tips I like to use and a few I’ve found that were widely accepted and expressed in the articles/blogs/etiquette sites I’ve come across:

  • Send within 24 hours of the event that prompts the thank you.
  • Use a nice store-bought thank you card (not greeting card ) or personal stationary. Crane & Co. and Hallmark make some great boxed cards you can and should keep on hand.
  • Add a “header” If you are typing the note – include your address at the top before the recipients and be sure include the date.
  • Always address the recipient as “Dear Mr. or Mrs. and their last name.  The exceptions, unless you’ve been given verbal approval to call them by their first name – you can never go wrong by being a little more formal here.  It’s also often OK to use a first name after “Dear” if you already know them/have worked with them for some time.
  • Refer to why you are writing to him/her – thank him/her for their time, the interview, the assistance etc.Thank you note
  • Keep the note as brief as possible, but be sure to add a comment, statistic or topic that you discussed. This can help set you apart and/or quickly remind the recipient who you are if they met several candidates over a long interview process. (e.g., you both love a trendy vacation spot, but shared a love for a lesser-known restaurant there… add it.)
  • Include a point you wanted to clarify if you think it could have been misinterpreted, or one that you wanted to expand on.  Keep it brief and better yet, bullet it if you can.  Using bullets can also quickly draw the eye of the recipient for these key points you want to ensure he/she sees.
  • Keep the tone professional, but add a little of your personality and don’t rehash everything that was discussed.
  • Thank them again for their time, assistance etc. before closing the letter.
  • Be sure to let hem know you’d like to keep in touch/see them again.  It shows you enjoyed and benefited from the time you spent together or the help/advice you received.
  • Enclose a business card, or contact information.  If you didn’t hand him/her a business before you left, you can do that now, or minimally include a way for them to contact you again.
  • Sign the note with “Sincerely”, or an “All the best”/”Best Regards” – Use something that is a little formal followed by your full name NEVER sign these with “Love.” Remember these are business notes, not personal ones.

I hope this gets you on your way to writing successful and frequent thank you notes. Remember you can never go wrong in thanking someone.  It can set you apart and can go a long way in bring you much success.

Do you use these same or similar tips?  Have you ever benefited from sending a thank you note?  Are there other instances you think require a thank you note?


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What Will You Do? How will you make a Difference?

No-act-of-kindness QuoteThis week is Random Acts of Kindness Week, (2/11 – 2/15). It’s a week dedicated devoted to doing unexpected things to cheer or assist people. And did you know? The concept is not as old as you may think. Credit for the idea has been attributed to Anne Herbert who scrawled, “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a place mat in 1982.

While I do try to do little things for others on occasion, some on the sly, like leaving a “thank you” note for a co-worker after they have stepped away from their desk, I love that this concept has a week dedicated to celebrating it.

 

Participating is easy and if low on funds, it really doesn’t have to cost a thing

Here are some ideas:

  • Be thoughtful – Is a friend having a tough day? Make a handmade flower or card and give it to her/him.
  • Donate your time/talents – Is there a group that could benefit from your skills or elbow grease?
  • Say Thank you – (Of course a favorite of mine) From your co-worker, to your boss, to the mailman, to the plow driver who helped get you on the road after a storm/blizzard, everyone deserves a thank you at some point.
  • Send a friend a letter/card – Let them know that they were thought of today.
  • Write a thank you note to someone who has inspired you, or helped you out – (Again another favorite of mine) Think of how much of an unexpected, but pleasant a surprise this would be. Plus they’ll notice the effort you took to hand-write it.
  • Call your family, a friend or significant other and tell them that you love them.
  • Say hello and give a smile to a stranger – Your bright attitude may just turn their day around if they are having a bad day.
  • Already shoveling snow – (I know we are in the Northeast) take a moment to shovel or clear off your neighbors’ car/space.
  • Take on a chore or task that a teammate or significant other has been meaning to do but just can’t seem to find the time to do.
  • Share a list of local tips and key stores to someone who is new to your complex or neighborhood.
  • Do nice things and don’t tell anyone about it – Ironically this can seem hard. HOWEVER…the effort tends to be more powerful and you are more humble for taking this approach.

 

Again these are just some ideas, the options are endless

Using the internet you can of course find other ideas for things to do. I particularly like this list from another blogger at And Then We Saved.  Another, more notable idea was the one most recently proposed by Anne Curry after the Newtown, CT massacre. It was the “26 Acts of Kindness,” challenge that went viral on Facebook. The number 26 represented completing one act of kindness for each child and adult that was lost that day.

 

You can also find companies and organizations promoting this concept and week

You can visit the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation that works to inspire people to practice kindness and pass it on.  I also found an article from a mall property owner who is running a promotion to celebrate the week – perhaps there is a participating mall near you?

 

 

Every day

I don’t think that random acts of kindness should only be performed only during this one week in the year. Think of what a kinder, happier place we could have if everyone was friendlier, more gracious, more encouraging and showed their appreciation on a daily basis. Giving, seems to open up something inside of us that allows us to receive more and to give more. It creates a positive and reciprocal cycle. You’d be amazed at what you might receive simply by giving/doing nice things for others.

Why not take the first step and do something nice for your neighbor like picking up their newspaper from the curb and dropping it on their doorstep, or inserting a “good luck” note in your child’s lunch, or tell your significant other how much their recent help for you meant in a hand-written note.  You’ll probably make their day.

 

I’d love to hear what ideas you come up with this week to assist and cheer people — please know that you don’ t have to share the ones you’re planning to keep secret!  And pass this along! Be the one to start a positive ripple effect.

Uh Oh!  I need to run… my co-worker just left her desk and I want to drop off a “thank you” note!