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  • The Burden of a Timely Thank You

    Thankful photo from ShutterstockI admit it. 

    Saying “thank you” comes easy to me but being thankful has taken some work.

    For some people, being appreciative comes naturally. For others, it takes time and work. We’re all created different, so it goes that we may not all be appreciative of the same things, or at the same time. Regardless, there’s a power to using appreciation to positively impact your life and those around you. By being constantly aware of the good things in your life and the efforts of others, you can hugely impact the quality of your life. When you are constantly and genuinely appreciative, life changes.

    I find it amazing that a simple action like showing gratitude can have such a big impact in life. It makes you a more caring person, to yourself and to others. It makes you a better partner, brother, sister, son, daughter, co-worker, and boss. Simply put, appreciation makes you better.

    Now, you may not have the same experiences with appreciation as I have, but it’s a guarantee that showing gratitude, even when you don’t feel like it, can change your life. So how do you incorporate appreciation into your personal life and in the workplace?

    At the individual level

    Appreciation starts at the individual level. There’s no way you can learn to appreciate others if you don’t appreciate yourself first. And here is how you do it.

    1. Stop comparing yourself to others.

    On occasion, we like to determine our importance or self-worth by comparing our accomplishments to others. Doing so is toxic to your life, as it blocks your ability to appreciate the uniquely gifted individual you truly are. Refuse to feel like a lesser person because someone else is more successful or intelligent than you are. Rather than be jealous, identify what it is that you want to accomplish in life, and go get it.

    2. Make it a habit. 

    Make being appreciative a part of your daily schedule, just like brushing your teeth or working out. Good habits take time, and appreciation is no different. Be appreciative of all the good things that you have in your life, and the people that make it a better world for you. Be appreciative even of challenges, as they are an opportunity to learn something new about yourself.

    You can try having a gratitude list, which reminds you of all the things to be appreciative of especially if you are having a bad day, during which you are less likely to feel grateful. There are always things to be thankful for. Make a list and make it a habit.

    3. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. 

    Many of the times we don’t feel like being appreciative is when we try hard at something with little or no results. At such a point, it feels like your patience is running out, and you are about to call it quits. Realize that it takes a great amount of patience to get through tough times.

    There’s no better time to be appreciative than at the point at which you feel like giving up. [tweet this]

    In life, patience is about keeping a positive attitude while you put in the hard work towards achieving your dreams. Being appreciative helps you remember that all the effort is going to be worth it in the end. If you are going to try, put in the effort and be grateful of the opportunity to even try.

    4. Take every opportunity to express gratitude.

    As you make being appreciative a habit, say thank you to others whenever you have the chance. The world is full of downright rude people, but you can be the brand of good by spreading some appreciation and good cheer around. It doesn’t have to be a big gesture that spurs you to express gratitude; even small acts of kindness are fertile opportunities for showing appreciation.

    5. You have much to be grateful for.

    Look around you. Take stock of everything you have, be it a home, job, family, partner, among other things. Be grateful for all that, because you really do have so much. Billions of people have much less than you do, and would be over the moon to have what you have. You may not have everything, but in the bigger picture, you have much beyond full measure, and that’s more than enough reason to show appreciation.

    When I focus daily on my five daily gratitudes, I include:  having the chance at another day, being able to even see anything around me, the ability to breath, stand and walk without assistance, having a bed to wake up from, and being able to think for myself.

    What practices do you do daily to recognize and focus on appreciation?

    Maria Elena Duron, is managing editor of the Personal Branding Blog, CEO (chief engagement officer) of buzz2bucks– a word of mouth marketing firm, and a professional speaker and trainer on developing social networks that work. She provides workshops, webinars, seminars and direct services that help create conversation, connection, credibility, community and commerce around your brand.  Maria Duron is founder and moderator of #brandchat- a weekly Twitter chat focused on every aspect of branding that is recognized by Mashable as one the 15 Essential Twitter Chats for Social Media Marketers.

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