Just think how much parents give up for their children and what soldiers sacrifice for their country. A lot, right? So why do we pause only one day each year to express our appreciation? After all, do you think that saying thank you one day a year — Mother’s Day or Veterans Day —is sufficient given the magnitude of their contribution and sacrifice?
Do you treat holidays like these as a momentous occasion or just another date on the calendar? Do you mull over the best way to say thank you or treat it as a check-off item? Most important, do you express your appreciation throughout the year or feel that showing gratitude annually is adequate?
You Don’t Need a Special Occasion to Say Thank You
Think about the teacher who believed in you, the coach who inspired you, the pastor who gave you hope, the mentor who showed you the ropes, the friend who stood by your side, the volunteer who gave their time, the employee who went above and beyond, or the police officer who kept your family safe. The list is endless.
These folks represent all the good in the world. They brought out the best in you, they benefitted your community, and they served their country. In every case, they made a big difference in your life and in the lives of others.
It’s not enough to send a card or stage an annual award program to display our appreciation. We should make a concerted effort to express our gratitude throughout the year — not because we feel obligated to do so, but because it’s the right thing to do.
What happens when you fail to express your appreciation?
Miss a chance to spread cheer. Every time you fail to show appreciation, you miss an opportunity to make someone’s day.
Rob people of their just reward. Money isn’t always the primary factor that motivates people. People are compensated through meaningful work and by making a difference.
Disincentivize exemplary behavior. When you fail to thank people for their contributions, they may stop trying.
Discourage similar behavior. When you showcase good deeds, you incentivize others to emulate that behavior.
Lose talent. According to research, 46 percent of respondents have left a job because they felt underappreciated. Moreover, 29 percent of respondents said that they’d willingly give up a week’s worth of pay for more recognition from their employer.*
Take a Moment to Make Someone’s Day
There are many ways to show appreciation. For example, you can compliment someone in public, send them a handwritten note, write a glowing review, send a letter of commendation to their boss, contribute to their favorite charity, or reach out long after their deed was performed to express your gratitude. Be creative. Be generous. Be sincere.
It doesn’t take a lot of money or effort to express your gratitude, but if you don’t make the time, it’s not going to happen. If you think they already know how you feel — they don’t. If you think they don’t care about your praise — you’re wrong. If you think you have more important things to do — shame on you. Remember, most of these folks gave tirelessly of themselves. They may not know how they changed your world until you tell them.
“I don’t have the time” is not an excuse for someone who made the time for you.
Of course, you can put this activity off for a day…and then maybe another. But before you can say “lost opportunity,” you may have put it off for a lifetime. The folks you wanted to thank may have moved away, and you lost touch. Or you may think it’s awkward to thank someone for a deed they performed long ago, so you don’t. Or when things finally slow down and the time is right, you discover that the individual you wanted to thank passed away — and you lost the chance forever. You missed the opportunity to tell them how much their kindness and generosity meant to you. And you lost the chance to make their heart smile. So, if you don’t think an annual holiday is adequate to express your gratitude — you’re right. Take a moment each day to recognize these heroes for all they’ve done and for who they are. After all, they deserve that…and more.
Check out Frank’s new book, The Path to a Meaningful Life.
Do You Think One Day’s Enough?
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