A simple thank you


Saying thank you goes such a long way and yet it’s a strange thing in that we don’t seem to say thank you very often, or as much as we used to.

I remember reading once that when Jackie Onassis would go to an event, she would try to write a thank you note on the same evening because she knew herself in that if she didn’t do it that night it might not get done, and she recognized how important it was to say thank you to those she had been invited to spend time with.

You have the gift of 86,400 seconds in a day, have you used one today to say thank you?
— William Arthur Ward

Last night I attended an event at someone’s private home, I am always so impressed by those who open their homes to strangers, to welcome people into their home as if they’re long lost relatives. There is a graciousness and kindness about it that creates warmth and connection on a level that is different to that if it were held in a public space.

In my bid to say thank you, I always try to either send an email, an e-card like Paperless Post, or to send a handwritten note. For me, writing a note is a complete joy, I love the exercise of first choosing the notecard design, then writing the words. Not only do I enjoy recounting the experience I’ve just been through, I am able to reflect on it and consider what I really appreciated about the occasion. I’m then able to share that with the person I’m writing to. It always surprises me, even though I’ve been a note writer for over 30 years how much joy the person I’m sending the note to receives. It perhaps ‘costs’ me 15 minutes of time (using 900 of my 86,400 seconds), but the upshot is it really doesn’t take long to say thank you, and the connection it creates is magnificent. The number of subsequent amazing conversations I’ve had as a result from either sending notecards or receiving them is incredible.

I see the impact in my own professional and personal life, and I’ve witnessed it with clients too. I recall meeting a journalist a couple of years ago who works for a large newspaper. He explained how news is different to how it used to be. Now it’s a 24x7 business, and he reminisced the way it used to be. He explained he used to go home around midnight after the last edition of the paper had been printed and he knew that there wouldn’t be any follow up until the next morning. Now he said, he and the team work through the night, often pulling 24 hours or more if a story breaks, making sure every last detail is recounted accurately and clearly. We are all very aware, times have changed. Change is ok and good for many reasons, yet with change comes new patterns and challenges. Back to the newspaper, he and his team are often exhausted and he shared that it would make the world of difference to them if someone somewhere in the paper would just email, or even write a thank you note to say, “We know you’re working so hard, we see it and we appreciate it, thank you.” He continued, yes it’s my job, but the act of someone saying thank you for what we are doing would change the way we interact and it would inspire and motivate us further, giving us the encouragement, and sometimes courage to keep going.

There are so many experiences on a daily basis where I confess I have the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ and I fail with flying colors, yet I will never stop encouraging myself and others to keep saying thank you.

Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it all into words is all that is necessary.
— Margaret Cousins