What’s in a thank you?

This question has been on my mind a lot lately at work, for a million reasons. The pre-season for taxes is the most challenging time for me, and I’ve had to learn to ask many people for help on various projects, which leads to me thanking them for lending their time, skills, and support. Until this past weekend, I really didn’t think much about how I thanked people – I just knew I was thankful and I expressed my feelings.

Last Saturday our Rockford tax site opened its doors for the first time, and we were thanked for our services from one taxpayer in a unique way: they shoveled our sidewalk for us. While the gesture was something we do at our own homes all winter long without giving it a second thought, having it done for us as a token of appreciation was incredibly touching. That thank you meant more to me than receiving tangible things as a token of appreciation.

Last night another taxpayer wanted to offer their thanks for our postcard reminder service by paying for our postage. Like the shoveling, I don’t really think much about stamping an envelope or sending something in the mail, but having it put back on me as another showing of one’s appreciation was one of the nicest gestures I’ve seen.

Sharing a thank you shows compassion, acknowledgment of another’s work, appreciation, and very importantly in the workplace, teamwork. If we don’t have others to thank, or if we never are thanked, we most likely aren’t positively influencing anyone. Working together, at the tax site in the large projects or in the small daily tasks in life, is critical to everyone’s success in the workplace and in life.

I have been asking myself over and over again, “how do you say thank you?”. I wish I could wear a pedometer of sorts to track how many times a day I say thank you or express my appreciation through a note, action, etc. Would seeing the number of thank yous at the end of the day make me feel better or worse about my job and myself as a whole? Would it lead me to live my life as a thankful person? The answer for me is yes. Being aware of this can help me to reach out to thank others for things I would normally take for granted, and can cultivate an environment of thankfulness, regardless of the situation I am in. How can a thank you fit into your schedule today?

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