Saying Thank You in 2021
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In my opinion (and that of many others), 2021 was a sprint compared to the marathon that was 2020. I honestly can't believe it's already November, and as a writer, I'm at a loss for words trying to put the last 11 months into perspective.
That being said, this is the time of year when I conduct the most of my contemplating and reflection on the previous year. After all, the days leading up to the holidays are the ideal time to put on some soothing music from your Spotify or Pandora collection, take a deep breath, and reflect on the year that has passed.
The fact that 2021 came after the most extraordinary (if not apocalyptic) year of our collective life is what makes it so special. We all needed to pick up the pieces, compose ourselves, and go ahead, whether we operate a company, labor on the front lines, or anything in between.
That's exactly what we did, or at least attempted to accomplish.
So, in 2021, how can we express our gratitude? So, here's what I do for a living:
1. Make a list of everyone who has influenced your personal or professional life in a favorable way. You'd be shocked to learn that if you just recall various moments from this year, your list will include some surprising names, or even individuals whose names you may not recognize.
For example, I think of the lady who answers the phone at 7-Eleven every morning and greets me with a smile and a joke, ensuring that I have a good start to my day. Those encounters are always enjoyable, and I am grateful for the 100 or so times it has occurred in 2021.
2. Go through your list of persons and think of acceptable ways to thank them. Whether it's a long-time personal friend, a new business client or colleague, or someone from 7-Eleven, you should go through your list and think of various methods to express your gratitude. It may be as easy as striking up a discussion and expressing your gratitude, or it could be as elaborate as sending a thank you note along with a gift card or a customized gift.
3. Be genuine and empathetic all of the time. It's not always necessary to wait until Thanksgiving or the holidays to express gratitude, particularly after a year like this. I've tried to make it a point to tell folks how grateful I am for the ways they've helped me this year. At the same time, I'm sure there were some details I overlooked along the road.
As a result, now is a great moment to take stock of your accomplishments and ask yourself, "Did I do enough to say thank you this year?" Return to your list, consider the question, and provide an honest response. There's a good chance you'll need to make up some distance, and now is the time to do it.
Finally, expressing thank you (and meaning it) is a simple but effective way to really pay it forward to those who inspired you in 2021.
You never know, it may simply lead to great sentiments being spread all around, and for that we should all be grateful.