A Thanksgiving Message

As we think about Thanksgiving, the expression of gratitude can be a powerful professional advantage. The relationship guru, Keith Ferrazzi (Never Eat Alone) reckons there are a fixed number of persons in our circle who determine the extent of our happiness or our suffering. Bracketing the good folks are and nurturing those relationships is crucial to your success.

But how do you make meaningful connections?

When I interviewed Keith Many years ago, he told me that the secret to getting the most out of an association investment may seem incongruent: You must give without the expectation of return.

In our world, gratitude lives in the little things. Do more than just like a social media post. Write a sentence about why you like it. Liberally share your friend’s wisdom on your social platforms. Send them direct messages of admiration and support.

These don’t need to be complicated. “I really appreciate your comments about…” or “Your message touched my heart today,” work like magic.

Encouraging emails are compelling. They should be authentic and can be very brief. “Karen, I enjoyed reading your newsletter. The layout is easy to navigate, and the content had real value.”

It’s that simple.

And nothing beats an appreciative handwritten note. My scrawl is terrible, so I use Postable. The service features a wide array of cards for all occasions. Users can upload their own graphics or pictures for the cover. And the interior message can be rendered in a half dozen realistic handwriting fonts. Using a tool like Postable also lets you keep track of how many messages you’ve sent and to whom. There’s an address book that makes creating cards super easy. And when you compare them to a trip to the Hallmark shop, the cost of sending them is competitive.

Kind words in person are the ultimate in appreciation. I always try to think of something affirming to say to everyone I meet. It’s not difficult to find a positive to talk about. All of us are gifted with least one thing that we are uniquely good at. Be liberal with public praise. Give developmental feedback in private, prefacing it with something like, “I have a couple of suggestions on how you can improve.” Frame them in an uplifting way.

Especially now, we’re all feeling like our world is upside down. Every person carries burdens we can’t see. And we all are second guessing our ability to make a difference. Kindness is the highest form of wisdom. And you never know when a kind word may crucial in a pivotal moment.

When I began my writing journey, I singled out four of my author heroes. I sent them each a fan letter and teed up the question, “If you could give me one piece of advice for a new author in my situation, what would it be?”

That’s led to rewarding friendships that grew deeper than I ever imagined.

Gifted people can show us the way to making our dreams come true. The secret is that they are just like us. We thrive on affirmation. Finding ways to appreciate others and add value to their lives, without expectation, can grow into mutually beneficial relationships that takes everyone to new levels of achievement and happiness.

Think about who has been an important part of your journey this Thanksgiving season. Take a moment this week to thank them.