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

by Lynette Silva

Post-it Note reading "Express Your Gratitude"Recognize This! – Simply expressing appreciation and gratitude to others can change perspectives for the better.

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. 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.

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.

“We are all humans just trying to live this rollercoaster 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?

Lynette Silva

About Lynette Silva

Facts and stats run through Lynette Silva’s veins. She uses her wealth of data and knowledge to help customers build strong business cases for the power of thanks to increase employee engagement, retention, productivity, and performance. In her role as senior recognition strategist and consultant at Globoforce, she’s also a frequently requested speaker and session leader. Lynette holds a B.S. and M.S in History Education from Boston University.

5 Responses

  1. Dloi Courtney says:

    Giving thanks is a Christian teaching, as are acts of kindness. And like the body of teachings Of Jesus, these two are almost magical in their effect on those who give, on those who receive, and those who observe and who go and do likewise. Thank you for reminding me, and others, of the eternal truths of these teachings.

  2. Martin Morici says:

    Thank you for your insight and wisdom of the sheer power of human appreciation ! It envelops our lives in every way and affects all those who we encounter on our short bumpy journey on this earth .
    We all must be cognizant of others and truly express our humanity in the form of appreciation
    Marty Morici
    Executive Vice President of
    Colliers international

  3. darla mcleod says:

    this is very good.Should be published in schools and everywhere

  4. darla mcleod says:

    I read without gratitude one cannot be happy some time ago,and have observed it to be so since.

  5. Ms says:

    As an airline pilot I’m often humbled and amazed by the gratitude and respect that is expressed toward the flight crew for the safe flight. It never gets old to hear it and it reminds me to try to practice the same humility in my life.

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