gratitude | Behavior Matters! - Part 2

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Today I’m Grateful For: Groundhog Day

Being from Minnesota and the fact that we are receiving yet another few inches of snow (we hit our average snowfall for the entire season around the 1st of January) I am very grateful that Groundhog Day is just around the corner. While not much into the actual predictive measures of a groundhog seeing it’s shadow to predict how long winter will last…the date itself brings the promise of Spring.

I am very ready for it (as is my snowblower).

The power of a “thank you”

Thank You

The power of a simple “thank you”

I just received an e-mail “thank you” from a client that we did some work for earlier this month.

It was short.  It said some nice things about the work we did.  It said other nice things about how he wanted to work with us again.

In all, it probably took two minutes to write and…


It was unexpected and unsolicited.  It showed appreciation and fed into my drive for achievement and recognition.   It touched on specifics of the works we did.

So with a couple of minutes effort, this person just put a smile on my face (and my employee’s face).  What a powerful simple act that we too often overlook.

A well thought out thank you can do wonders for you in what it can do.  I’ll relate another story from a long, long time ago…

The first incentive compensation communications project that I worked on would not be called one of my most favorite projects.  Time lines were extremely tight, the industry I was working in was new to me, the project scope kept changing and morphing, and the client was very demanding and brought an “East Coast” demeanor to the project (for a kid from “Minnesota Nice” this was pretty harsh).

I ended up working on Christmas and New Years (going to bed at 1:00 AM News Years Eve only to wake up at 3:00 AM to work on the project).   The stress and long hours that I put in were definitely not compensated for and in the end I was not only exhausted physically but worn out mentally and in every other way possible.

I swore that I would NEVER work on another project like this ever again!

I DOUBLE and TRIPPLE swore that I would NEVER work with this client again!

HELL, MY WIFE SWORE that I would never on another project like this again!

But then…when the project was done and all the deliverables delivered…I recieved one of the nicest e-mail thank you’s I’ve ever received from the “East Coast” client mentioned above.

It highlighted the fact that he knew that this wasn’t an easy project, that the scope had changed, and even that he could be hard to work with.  It also went on to state that while the process was challenging, the final product that I ended up producing was the best that they had seen and had gotten great reviews from his internal customers and the sales force.  He thanked me for the hard work and passion that I had put into his project.

It made my day back then…and made a little chink in clear “never working on this stuff again” promise I had made to myself.

Needless to say, it took another 9 months and somehow forgetting about all the stress and long hours and other painful stuff, but I signed up to work on the project the next year…the thank you note having done much to sway my opinion on that.  I’ve  worked with this client every year since (and yes the projects have improved – it’s amazing what planning and actual expertise can do to make life easier) and incentive compensation communications is our biggest product now representing over 60% of the work we do.

It in effect changed my life…

All because of the power of a “thank you.”

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences with thank you’s – leave a comment below.

Today I’m Grateful For: Silent Moments

The winter brings with it some of the most beautiful days – with the snow falling gently down, coating all of the world in a white covering. Sometimes on those days, when the air is brisk and you stand outside, you hear the sound of silence. In the city, this can be a most wondrous and magical thing. A moment of silence in which you hear only your own heart beat.

Today I Am Grateful For: Heat

With the temperature at -14 degrees this morning – I am very, very thankful that our heater is working. We have had three service calls on it this year so it might be ready to be replaced but its a great old boiler that just needs a little love. Anyway, I’m glad its working now.

Today I’m Grateful For: Timberwolves

I am a huge Minnesota Timberwolves basketball fan. I have been a season ticket holder for a number of years. I’ve seen the good and the bad (actually a lot of bad). But through it all, I have really appreciated the organization. The team might not always win, but the customer service I’ve received is top notch. It feels nice to know that I’m not just a number but that they know my name and the name of my kid…so thank you Timberwolves organization.

Oh and let’s win a few more games!

Today I’m Grateful For: My car window being unstuck

There is a sense of justice in the world. As I wrote about yesterday, my car window was stuck open in the middle of winter in Minnesota…and I was grateful that it happened when it did for a number of reasons (see below).

But I’m even more grateful today!

I was on the way to bring the car into the local auto repair shop that is located a couple of miles down the road. I was getting the kids bundled up and the Au Pair ready to take the other car to the shop so that I would have a ride home instead of walking two miles in 18 degree weather.

If you’ve ever tried to get a 1 year old and a 4 year old ready for the snow, you know this is not always easy – so after 10 minutes of haggling, we were ready to go when I realized that the car keys for the 2nd pick-up car were in my wife’s purse with her at work. Ok, unbundle the kids and readjust plan. Now I’ll pick up my wife at the end of the day and we’ll get the 2nd car and drop off the broken window car after that.

Here is the good part…

On the way to pick up my wife, with the plastic taped over the open window, I gave the window button one more try…and to my amazement, up it went!

So I’m grateful that I didn’t have the keys for the 2nd car when I was going to take the broken window car in. I’m grateful that the window miraculously fixed itself. I’m grateful that I saved a few hundred bucks that I am now going to give to charity (Worldbuilders through Patrick Rothfuss’ blog – you should check it out).

All in all – just very grateful!

Today I’m Grateful For: My Car Window Being Stuck Down

Pulling into the parking ramp before my Rotary meeting today, my car window went down but it didn’t come back up…and I’m grateful for that. I know you are thinking “Huh? Have you gone bonkers?” But here is why I’m grateful…I could have been driving down the interstate at 60 miles per hour in the 18 degree weather we have (I wasn’t). I could have to park my car on the road and get the snow plow coming by and sending a foot of snow into the car (I don’t). I could have been at the airport and had to leave my car with window down for a week (I’m not). Thus, in the big scheme of things, this could have been a lot worse and I’m grateful for that.

Its all in how we frame things…as the quote on the bottom of my e-mail signature line says, “”There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Shakespeare

Today I Am Grateful For: Snowblowers

We had 17 inches of snow drop on us Saturday. Combined with wind gusts that created drifts that were a good 3 feet high, I can honestly say that I’ve never been more grateful for a snow blower…

Today I’m Grateful For: Dan Wilson

Ok, this might seem like a strange one…Minneapolis musician Dan Wilson (formerly of Trip Shakespeare and Semisonic) has some really great music out there.  Not only his music, but the songs he’s written for others (i.e., Dixie Chicks).  It is music that I listen to often.  I find a connection with his lyrics and they inspire me in a way to work harder at this writing stuff (he is a great lyricist).  Anyway, I am on the road today…which means that I’m in a hotel in New Jersey – far away from all the comforts of home.  So it is nice to be able to play a little music and feel a connection back home.  It eases the discomfort of travel and makes these types of trips a little more bearable.

Here is one of my favorite songs…

What are you grateful for?  Let us know, leave a comment.

Today I Am Grateful For: A Crying Baby

I am thankful for my crying baby at 4:30 AM.


I had gotten up to let the meowing cat out at 3:30 AM – again.  Needless to say I wasn’t too happy.  Then I couldn’t fall back asleep – now I’m even less happy.  I end up tossing and turning thinking about what I have to do today and how I need my sleep and I’m getting more and more frustrated.   And then to top it off, our 11-month old baby starts to cry…

I go down to her room and pick her up out of the crib and she immediately starts to calm down – the crying subsides.  I hold her and rock her for 10 minutes and she is fast asleep on my chest, her hand outstretched over my heart.  She is breathing in and out peacefully as we sway back and forth in the rocking chair.

All the frustration and bitterness that I had earlier is gone.  I am looking down at her face as she is sleeping and a wave of peaceful joy passes through me.  Finally, after a long time, I place her gently back in her crib sleeping soundly.

Thank you, thank you, thank you….

What are you grateful for?  Let us know by clicking on “leave a comment” below.

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