First off, I have to admit that finding time and creative energy to blog weekly has been a challenge for me. I guess that is part of the intention though, to push myself. So here I am…week 3. Thank you to those who have reached out to tell me you are glad I’m blogging again…blogging can sometimes feel like talking to an empty room. So, thank you for making me feel heard. It makes a big difference to me!
Okay, that actually segways into my intended topic nicely today. On with it, as they say…
When is the last time you thanked someone? Not just a quick, “Hey, thanks!” or the generic thank you note we end up writing after we recieve gifts (unless you are the rare amazing gift thank you card writer, I know maybe 1 person in this category!). I’m talking about a real sincere and specific thank you.
It’s been awhile for me too, so don’t feel bad if this has you thinking and coming up short.
Let me back up for a minute. I had the fun experience this past week to go back in time to my last job and participate as an employer at a student career fair alongside a few of my colleagues. It felt strange to be on the “other side” – but I fell into step with my old colleagues right away, laughing and joking and catching up with things happening. They are family like that – you don’t have to talk everyday to feel connected.
Anyway, after a long day of standing and chatting up students and alumni about my company, I was so ready to sit down (p.s. cute shoes + pregnancy isn’t a match)! As I was finishing up my meal, a young lady with a familiar face tapped me on the shoulder.
“Dre? I’m not sure you’d remember me, but I’m (insert name here) and I was one of your ACAD babies.” (read: she took a freshman 101 course that I taught).
Me: “Oh wow! Your face was familiar but I wasn’t sure since you were here as an employer how I might know you! How are you?”
Her: “I’m great! Actually, that is why I wanted to come and talk to you. I never had a chance to thank you. The whole reason I’m here today recruiting for my company is because of you.”
She went on to tell me that as a result of her being in my freshman 101 course, she came to see me later in her college life to help with a resume. Then I helped her with a resume to get an internship. The internship turned into a full time job where she is happily employed now that she has graduated.
Of course, all of this was so great to hear. There is nothing that makes a career development professional more pleased than to hear someone is happily pursuing a career they love because you helped in some way. But during her story she said something that really stood out to me:
“I figured that you might not always get to hear the success stories of the people you help, and I’m so appreciative of the time you spent with me. It really helped me get to where I am today. Thank you.”
She’s right. It’s so rare in life to get the end of any story. We play a minor role in a lot of peoples lives, and often we are in a different place by the time the story of that person plays out. We don’t know the impact we have on someone through our actions, our words, our referrals, by just offering a friendly smile on a crap day.
But that’s why it’s so important we take this whole “thank you” thing more seriously. My heart grew about 3 sizes when she shared her success with me. It made me feel so good that I had a positive impact on someones career, even if it was just helping her get on track with a resume and internship.
How hard would it be for us all to take time to reach out to someone who made a difference in our life? Did you ever tell someone what they said made a difference? Maybe it wasn’t a life altering thing, but maybe someone’s well timed joke or delivery of baked goods was just what you needed when you felt like giving up.
I am going to take time to be more sincere with my thank you’s. I won’t overlook the power of good manners, but I don’t want to miss the opportunity to sincerely appreciate someone when they have made a difference in my day, and even more so – if they’ve made a difference in my life.
I challenge you to do the same.