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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: 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.

Today I Am Grateful For: Imagination

How boring would this world be if we did not have imagination?  How limited would our opportunities be if we couldn’t dream?  I am grateful for the fact that we have an imagination – one that can inspire us or grant us a few moments of escape.  I am grateful that others can share there imagination with me and I’m better for that sharing.

Dream big…

What are you grateful for today?  Click on “Leave a comment” below and tell us.

Today I Am Grateful For: Sunshine

It is mid October and we are having fantastic weather here in Minnesota.  I am very grateful for that as it appears that it is about to end.  This gratefulness reminds me that I need to get outside and enjoy today as much as I can…see you later, I’m going for a walk.

Let us know what you are thankful for in the “leave a comment” section below…

Today I Am Grateful For: Opportunity

The real motivator for me has always been the opportunity that exists out “there.”  In other words, the possibility of what could be.  Regardless of where or what or who, I am always intrigued and moved by what might be.  I know that today can always be better than yesterday.

Share what your thankful for – click on “leave a comment” below – we’d love to hear from you.

Today I’m Grateful For: Being born in America

So much of life is based on circumstance…  I am very grateful for being an American and having all the possibilities that that offers.  We often take it for granted the freedoms and privileges that we have.  I got to have  a meeting with a U.S. Senator yesterday to talk about higher education and hopefully help shape some laws that are being introduced.   What a great opportunity.

What are you grateful for today?  Let us know by clicking on “Leave a Comment” below.

Today I’m Grateful For: a hug and kiss from my 4 year old

I’m trying an experiment – for the next week I will post a What I’m Grateful For statement every day.  Building off of my earlier post and one of the comments, this seems like a way to build on this idea.

This morning, my 4 year old son ran up to me as I was heading into the office and said, “Papa, I want to give you a hug…and a kiss.”  One cannot start out the day any better in my opinion…

What are you grateful for today? Click on “Leave a comment” below and let us know.

Start each day with Gratitude


A few months back I read/heard a line that went something like this, “start each day out by stating what you are grateful for.”

I thought I’d try it…really, there was very little cost to me (a minute every morning while I brush my teeth) and it made sense – think about those positive things in your life in the morning and you will probably feel better about the day ahead.

It brought me back to work on Appreciative Inquiry and Management.  David Cooperrider from Case Western Reserve University developed this model of management interaction in the 1980’s and 1990’s (see here or here) that is based on the assumption that organizations change in the in the direction of their inquiry (i.e., if you  inquire or focus on the positive you will find or grow more positive in your work – the opposite is also true – if you inquire or focus on the negative, you will find or create more negative elements in your work).

By starting each day with a positive affirmation of what I appreciate, it has helped me view things in a more positive light.  Some key things that I’ve found in this:

1.  I immediately feel a greater sense of calm. By thinking about what is good in my life, I tend to find that much of the worry about deadlines or budgets or workload get pushed aside and I physically feel a calm come over my body.

2. I feel rejuvenated.   The act of being grateful tends to rev me up.  It makes me feel like I want to work harder to achieve more.

3.  I tend to be more appreciative throughout the day. My morning gratitude exercise helps me focus on positive things throughout the day – I tend to be more aware of them and grateful for them.

So I welcome you to try this little experiment for yourself.  Take a minute each morning when you wake up to just say thank you for the things that are going well in your life.  If you are like me, you will find that this little activity can have really positive effects on your entire day.

So thank you for taking time to read this and for letting me expound on my little touchy-feely side…

I would love to hear from people (click on the comment section) and find out if they tried this (or something similar) and what it does for them.

Thank You!

Thank You and Happy New Year

We would like to take a moment to give our thanks and best wishes to our blog and twitter friends. 2009 has been a challenging year for many of us and we are sincerely grateful for your RTs, comments, tweets, and readership.

2009 marked our venture into the social media world and what a ride it has been! We have learned from our hiccups and enjoyed our successes but none of it would have been possible without you. Thank you for being a part of the conversation and helping us spread the word about What Motivates You!

We are looking forward to 2010 being a fantastic year and hope the same for you. We wish you and families much peace, hope, and joy now and in 2010.

Happy New Year!

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