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How to Give Thanks (and Mean It)

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Image via Alex_F/Shutterstock.com

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches in the United States, I want to spend a few moments discussing how to give thanks.

I’m not talking about how you get ready to eat more than you usually do, spend time with relatives you don’t see that often or veg out in front of football game after football game.  I’m not even talking about giving thanks for all the things you’re grateful for (although that’s always a good idea).

What I’m talking about is how to give thanks to the people in your life – at home, at work and in the community – who deserve it.  When you stop and think about it, you probably come in contact with dozens of people on an average day who deserve your thanks.

If you’re like me, you probably say, “Thank you,” throughout the day because it’s the polite thing to do.  It’s usually kind of mindless though isn’t it?  It’s often just another conversational transaction in the course of the day.

So, this week, I invite you to join me in giving thanks to others so that they actually feel your gratitude.  It would be interesting to see what happens if you set the intention of mindfully thanking at least one person each day for a week.

Here are some quick thoughts about how to do that:

Pay Attention  -  Mindfulness comes down to paying attention to what’s going on right now.  That’s a great place to start if your intention is to give thanks to another person so they feel it.  You have to pay attention to what they’re doing for you.

Slow Down – What would happen if you took 10 to 15 seconds more in one of those countless conversations during the day to slow down long enough to offer a deeper word of thanks?  It seems to me that it’s definitely in the sweet spot of something that’s relatively easy to do and likely to make a difference.

Connect – They key to connection is to actually be with the person you’re with.  Look up from your phone.  Make eye contact.  Smile.

Be Specific – Thank that co-worker, cashier, family member, barista, cop who gave you directions or customer service rep with a few words about the great things you notice about how they do what they do and how that makes you feel.

Smile – I know I mentioned this already but it’s worth repeating.  Smile.  It makes everyone feel better.   Even if the person you’re thanking is on the other end of the phone, smile.  They’ll feel it.

So, are you with me?  Will you commit to giving thanks so the other person really feels it at least once a day this coming week?  If you’re in, I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas and experiences here in the comments.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Image via Alex_F/Shutterstock.com

Executive coach Scott Eblin’s goal is to help you succeed at the next level of leadership. Throughout the week, he’ll offer his take on the leadership lessons in the news and his advice on your most pressing leadership questions. A former government executive, Scott is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and is the author of The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success.

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