The Art of Thanks

It’s a small word that can mean so much. “Thanks” is one syllable that, sadly, occasionally catches us off guard because we don’t hear it as much as we could — or should.

I think it could be used far more in the business world, and I think everything in its wake needs to be tied to it, too. What does that mean?

“Thanks” implies that we’re grateful for or appreciative of something. And if we appreciate something, shouldn’t we treat it like gold? “Thanks” shouldn’t be a word uttered because someone else is watching you, it should be used liberally. It should be the salt in our life, enhancing the ordinary and making situations that much more delicious and worthy of savoring.

How often have you received an email — say, at the office — which asked for something and, when you replied with the information, the response you received was something like, “Well, what does such-and-such mean?” or “What about [insert unrelated request here]?” How often have you wanted to reply and say, “You’re welcome,” before moving on to their next question? Passive-aggressive, yes. But also human? Sure.

“Thanks” is often forgotten by those at the top. They’re there, therefore others will worship them regardless of whether they ever thank anyone. Right? Wrong. At least in my opinion.

“Thanks” is also forgotten by those at every other level, myself included. Why? Are we really that busy? No. We simply don’t think.

…or maybe we do. “Thanks” is frequently pushed aside and replaced with “great” or “awesome” — anything that doesn’t allude to the personal, or which may link two people together in a meaningful way. Heaven forbid.

“Thanks” can make a day. No “thanks” can break a day. It can inspire someone to do better, be better, try harder and — when not used sarcastically — can inspire consistency from the person you’re thanking. Ignoring a chance to thank someone can deflate them; their efforts haven’t been properly acknowledged, so why would they give the same effort moving forward?

Tonight I am thankful for the thanks I’ve received, and for the reminder that it’s good to not only give thanks to others, but to treat them as though we continue to be appreciative of their time and efforts. The opportunity to thank someone accompanies everything we receive, and with every expression of thanks comes the opportunity to grow that connection into something more. Define “more” as you will, but so long as we define it somehow, the art of thanks will be alive and well.

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