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It is the holiday season. This is a time when it’s easy to get distracted and lose sight of the bigger picture, the meaning of the season. With presents to wrap, a turkey to baste, and a home to decorate, many of us fall so deeply into our own lives that we forget about others outside of our “bubble.” Our attention turns away from clients, co-workers, and acquaintances. Make an effort to remember them this year!

One great way to let someone know that they play a meaningful role in your life is to send a thank you card. I prefer the handwritten type, because it conveys more meaning and personalization. It’s fine to keep the thank you short, but make sure it is genuine and heart-felt. People can sniff out insincerity from a mile away!

So, who do you send a thank you card to?

Reach out to everyone who has helped or supported you this year. Did the security guard have to let you into the office after-hours when you forgot your laptop? Did one of your team members take over some of your work when you were home sick? Did a client decide to renew a contract with your company?

All of these people deserve a thank you. Not only is this a nice gesture, it helps bolster your relationship with that person. People love to be thanked and your simple thank you card could have a profound effect. There is a legendary car salesman named Joe Girard who sold a whopping 13,001 Chevy cars between 1963 and 1978. He holds a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s greatest salesman. How did he do it? In addition to being a genuinely nice guy, Joe sent each of his customers a thank you card every year during the holidays. This kind of personalized appreciation went a long way (obviously!) and customers returned again and again to Joe and also recommended their friends and family members to him.

That’s the power of a simple, heart-felt thank you.

Try it out this year. Who do you appreciate? Who has made a positive difference in your life? Take the time to tell them Thank You.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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be grateful, show gratitude

Last month’s newsletter was on the importance of gratitude, but I wanted to give you five quick ways you can show it. During the holiday season, it is easy to feel overwhelmed with a long list of things to do—buy presents, prepare food, clean the house, shovel the driveway, etc.—and it’s easy to forget our manners in the shuffle.

Think about the wonderful people around you and remember why we celebrate this time of year. Be grateful for those people and show them your appreciation when they open their home, share their food with you, or buy you a present. Here are five easy ways you can show your gratitude:

  1. Say (and write) thank you.

Even if you act grateful (enjoying your meal, praising the gift someone gave you, etc.), it’s still nice to hear the words Thank You. They are worth a lot, especially when said with meaning. And don’t forget the power of a handwritten thank you note. It’s a gesture that shows that you cared enough about the other person that you took time out of your busy day to write something thoughtful.

  1. Listen

Too often, we are so busy with all the thoughts in our own heads that we miss what others are saying. Show the person across the table from you that you are grateful for their presence. Sincerely listen to what they have to say before jumping in with your own story or opinion.

  1. Extend an invitation and follow through

If there is someone at the office (or perhaps an old friend or relative) with whom you’d like to connect, reach out to them! Too often, we become comfortable in our own cozy bubbles and forget the people at the peripheries of our lives. It’s as simple as asking someone to lunch or a quick cup of coffee.

  1. Lend a hand

Whether it’s cleaning up the dishes after a friend’s holiday party or offering to help your secretary prepare for the next office get together, it’s always nice to give others support by helping out.

  1. Acknowledge others’ successes

It could be a co-worker, it could be your son or daughter—practice showing gratitude to others by acknowledging their good work. You could do this publicly (i.e. in a company meeting or when you’re gathered together at lunch) or privately. Share a specific example of what that person did or accomplished and let them know you appreciate their excellent work.

It is not difficult to show gratitude, but sometimes it does take conscious effort. Practice being mindful this holiday season and focus on the positive aspects of your life, rather than the negative ones. This way, gratitude will be at the top of your mind and saying things like “thank you” or “I appreciate you because…” will come naturally.

Happy holidays! I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog.

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