I love Thanksgiving because gratitude is such good medicine. We just need more than one day a year to get in the zone!
My dad always told me, “When I give, I expect nothing in return, not even a ‘thank you.’ I give because I want to, for my reasons, because it feels good.”
I have tried to follow my dad’s credo, but sometimes giving thanks is easier than getting it.
A “thank you” is recognition. It comes in many forms, especially at work, and sometimes we fumble with what to say in response.
Consider these “thanks-getting” scenarios. Which phrase sounds like something you would say?
1. Your boss singles you out at a staff meeting and praises your cost analysis.
- It really wasn’t that hard. Anyone here could have worked up those numbers.
- I really enjoyed the assignment and am happy my analysis is useful.
2. A coworker compliments your “look” for a presentation you’re about to give.
- I hate being the center of attention for these talks, so I just grabbed something I wore at my job interview.
- Your compliment really makes me feel better. I was unsure about how to dress for this occasion.
3. A peer in another department recognizes your consistent willingness to find middle ground to get things done.
- It’s no big deal. I just can’t stand to see projects stall.
- It’s very nice of you to notice my efforts. I like to help things move forward.
4. Your team gets together to salute you for organizing the MS charity walk and the amount you personally contributed.
- It was really all of you that made the event successful. Everyone contributed as much as they could, so this salute shouldn’t be about me.
- You’ve really touched me today. I never expected this from you. I will never forget this moment. Thank you.
5. A coworker new to your department picks up the check at lunch to show his/her appreciation for the support you gave during his/her transition.
- I can’t let you do this. There was nothing special about the help I gave you. Please let’s just split the check.
- This is such a surprise. I was happy to help you get acclimated to our department and appreciate having you as a colleague. Thanks.
Thanks-getting circles back!
To deflect, side-step, or discount someone’s words of gratitude is the same as rejecting them.
It’s time to stop fighting it. You do nice things just as others do. For every “thank you” you give, there is someone who’s got one ready for you. When we deflect the thanks-giving gestures of others, we discourage the culture of gratitude that we so desperately need, especially at work.
Every time we accept a “thank you,” we turn it into a gift back to the giver.
It’s not for us to decide whether or not we’re worthy of someone’s gratitude. It’s their gift to us. Our obligation is to accept their “thanks” graciously.
So now it’s my turn:
I am so grateful for the heartfelt support you’ve given me. You’ve touched me by reading my posts and thinking about the ideas I share. I’m heartened when you talk to me through your comments here, on Facebook and Twitter, and in person. I’m so fortunate to be able to give and get so much through this blog. You have enriched me in so many ways. Thank you.
What have been your experiences with “thanks-getting?” How can we all get better at it? I love hearing from you!