My Thank You Note Challenge
When’s that last time you wrote a thank-you note?
I’m not talking about those “thanks for your business” emails that are generated automatically or the smiley icon you use on a text to someone.
I mean a real, honest to gosh, sincere thank you note.
Well, if you haven’t done one of those in a while, you might want to reconsider because researchers have shown that the simple act of writing a sincere thank you note has all kinds of physical and psychological benefits, both for the sender and the person who receives it.
The studies were done at the University of Texas, but we don’t really need science to tell us that showing appreciation for someone feels good. That’s why we applaud at concerts or shows. We clap and cheer because we enjoyed the performance then we feel even better when we see how much the performers appreciate being appreciated, right?
Think about the last time you received a really nice, personal thank you note from someone. Didn’t it feel great? And didn’t you feel like doing something for the sender or someone else in return? And what about when you’ve sent a thank you to someone?
Didn’t it feel good to have acknowledged them?
Writing thank you notes seems like such a simple thing to do but the researchers discovered that certain ideas keep us from doing it. For one, we feel self-conscious. We get too self-critical about coming up with the exact right words to say.
And expressing appreciation feels a little vulnerable for some folks. They worry about the recipient’s reaction, that for some reason they won’t even like the note.
So, the researchers had a group of students send out thank you notes then checked in with the people who received them. They found that not only did the recipients feel terrific and really touched at getting the thank you notes, they also thought that the sender was a wonderful writer, very articulate, and heartfelt.
The people who got the notes felt even closer to the sender than they had before. Many of them immediately wrote thank you notes back.Literally, there are no downsides to writing and sending these notes. We’re all into talking about things being contagious these days, right?
Well, the generosity of thank you notes is definitely contagious. It encourages generosity in others and that generosity has ripple effects we won’t even know about.
So, here’s my challenge for the week. I’d like us to start a contagion of thank you notes. I’d like each one of us to write and send just one thank you note per day to someone you appreciate. It can be an email, but I’d highly suggest you take the extra effort and handwrite it and mail it.
We get emails all day long but isn’t it more special to open a nice note from your mailbox?
Your penmanship doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to make it a three-page letter. Just a short and sweet note that is sincere. And for heaven’s sake, most of us are not born writers so don’t worry about using brilliant words or fancy language.
Just express yourself.
There are no rules here but one key to writing a good thank you note is to be specific. So, instead of just writing, “I’m glad you’re my friend” you might say, “I’m glad you’re my friend because you always make me laugh and feel better about myself”.
Or instead of “Thank you for the birthday gift” say something like “Thank you for the beautiful vase. It will fit so well on the bookcase in my bedroom and I’ll think of you when I see it.”
Again, don’t stress about it. Just do it. Write one thank you note per day, stamp it, and stick it in the mail.
As my challenge, I’m asking you to do this every day for oneweek, though you may find that it feels so good, you want to keep it up.We’ve got so many people tuning in to these video blogs that I can’t write to each and every one of you.
So, here’s my thank you note to all of you:
Thank you for sharing this time with me. I know you’re all working to stay positive and optimistic in this tough time we’re going through.
Knowing there are people like you in the world gives me a lot of hope for our future. I feel like we’re a team and we can conquer anything. There’s no one else I’d rather have as teammates.
Thank you for being you,
My Thank You Note Challenge
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