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Don’t Just Give Thanks, Say Thanks

This week we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving here in the United States, “giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year” (says Wikipedia) — or at least for the pumpkin pie.

As we give thanks this week, let’s also remember to say thanks — particularly to those we work with. Not just because it’s a nice thing to do, but because it may make the difference between someone finding meaning or misery at work.

Consider this:

“Millions of workers, even those who have carefully chosen careers based on true passions and interests, dread going to work, suffering each day as they trudge to jobs that make them cynical, weary, and frustrated. It is a simple fact of business life that any job, from investment banker to dishwasher, can become miserable.”

That’s the setup for one of my favorite Patrick Lencioni books titled The Three Signs of a Miserable Job(By the way, Pat also contributed to our Good Advice ebook earlier this year — download your copy for free here.)

One of the three signs Pat identifies is irrelevance, or feeling that your work doesn’t matter. We’re all wired to want to make a difference. To make an impact. But no matter what you do, at some point, you’ll get caught up in “the grind” and lose sight of the important role you play. That’s where a sincere “thank you” can save the day.

Think back over your own career and I’ll bet that at least a couple of distinct moments come to mind where, when you were teetering on the edge of irrelevance (the feeling of irrelevance, that is), someone expressed appreciation for your work and you regained your balance.

Do you have one of those moments in mind? I know I do. I immediately think of an email I received from a client recently, where she wrote, “You are a gift from God to us!!!!!! THANK YOU for your help!!!!!!!” I promise you that made my day!

No matter how much you love what you do, there are always going to be certain elements of it that are, well… work. Receiving a heartfelt “thank you” — being reminded that your effort made a difference to someone — lifts you up and propels you forward.

With that in mind, this is our assignment (yours and mine) this week: Say “thank you” to someone whose work matters to you. At least as far as we’re concerned, let’s not give them reason to question their relevance!

If you enjoyed this post, here’s another post inspired by Pat’s book: Three Signs of a Miserable Life.

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