Sunday, November 25, 2007

JWN: I'm Thankful for You

Life and Times of JWN
JWN Ghana

I'm Thankful for You

Every week I read an email tip from Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone (a JWN favorite book) and founder and CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight. This past week the tip was fitting because it talked about gratitude and how important it is to give thanks. Keith reflected on a previous Thanksgiving where he scrolled through his phone en route to his planned place of celebration and started calling friends and thanking them for being in his life. The tip challenged to give it a try. Me being the impressionable young man that I am did it.

I rocked my rolodex's world. It was amazing. It was truly an energizing experience because it feels good to tell people they matter to you and that you care about them. It's also fun to hear their reactions because they are always positive. In many of the instances I just left a message because people were busy with their respective gigs. This allowed me more time so I just called more and more people because I knew that when they listened to my message later it would make them smile. And, after last week's Life and Times of JWN (click here if you missed it) you know that I love smiles.

You may say, "I don't want to bother someone on their holiday." Well, the kind of friends I like to have are those that want to "bother me" on my holiday. Life is about the relationships you have and relationships don't take holidays.

Keith described giving thanks as a blessing to yourself because of how it makes you feel. How often do we tell the people that make such a meaningful impact on our lives just how important they are to us? Unfortunately, not much. It comes back to the principle of appreciation. Everybody wants to feel appreciated. Giving thanks is a way to fulfill that need we all have (whether we admit the need or not).

NOTABLE: The beauty about giving thanks is that it's win-win. You make people feel great and you feel great doing it.

ACTION PLAN: Get in the habit of giving thanks. How?

1) Send an email to three people a week. This is the easy one that you have no excuse to not do. How long does it take to write a few sentences in an email? You don't even have to lick a stamp.

2) Write a personal note to one person a week. It can be to a friend, family member, employee, client, or whoever strikes your fancy. Tell them that they are an important part of your life, that you recognize that, and appreciate them for that.

3) Make some phone calls each week. Scroll through that contact list on your cell phone and call the first person that inspires a warm memory to pop into your head. Don't second guess it, just push send. Tell them you were thinking about them and that you are thankful for having them in your life. Sound corny? Well, make five of those phone calls and then write me an email about how you felt after you made the calls. It's not that corny anymore is it?

4) Step 1 is good, but steps 2 and 3 are the best. They are more personal. Emails are a cop-out when it comes to giving thanks. I'm biased, but it's true. Again, don't second guess yourself, just do it. I guarantee you will make your friend or associate's day. If copping-out is for you, know that I still support "email thanks." Kind words should never be left unsaid.

Don't know who to thank? Look around you. Who is in the photo on your desk? Who took the photo on your desk? Who is the background on your computer or cell phone? Who did you have dinner with the other week? And, you can never thank your mother enough (or your father).

I like to thank a VIP or a loyal reader with a personal note and a VIP sticker every week. Want one? Email me your address and wait patiently for a thoughtful (and well written) note from yours truly.

Get in the habit of giving thanks and learn to appreciate what you have. We are only on this planet for a limited time and our relationships are what make each day really special. Go try out that action plan. Call who you count on and tell them how you feel. You'll be happy you did it.

Appreciatively yours, ~JWN