Expressing Thanks and Appreciation: It’s Not Just for Thanksgiving Anymore

by Diane Berenbaum

Ever notice how a few simple words of thanks or appreciation can really make your day? I'll never forget the words of gratitude I received in the early 1980's as a newly hired marketing analyst at an accounting firm. After finishing my first project, the senior partner not only acknowledged my effort, but also told me that he saw great potential in me. I felt like a whole new person after that short conversation.

Simple words of appreciation and encouragement can not only make someone's day or affect someone's career. They can also change a life.

Take Bob Danzig, for example. Bob spent his childhood in five foster homes, always seeking love and appreciation. When he was nine years old, he met a new social worker; one that would change the direction of his life. She looked at him directly in his eyes and said, “Bobby, I want you to always remember these words:  You are worthwhile.” 

No one had ever said those words to him before. After he shared that with her, she knew he needed to hear them again, so she made a point of saying them every time they met. They became an affirmation of appreciation that he would repeat over and over again in his mind.

After graduating from high school, with no family support, he took a job as an office boy at his local newspaper, the Albany (N.Y.) Times Union. The office manager called him into her office after he had been in that job for six months. She said, “I have been observing you, and I believe you are full of promise.”

These two positive messages gave him the courage and drive to pursue his dreams.  And, sixteen years later, he became the publisher of the Albany (N.Y.) Times. Seven years after that, he became the nationwide head of the Hearst Newspaper Group and vice president of the Hearst Corporation. He credits much of his success to those simple phrases of appreciation.

I first learned the story of Bob Danzig from www.walkthetalk.com, a site that offers inspirational books and DVD's. You might want to take a look at their book, The Simple Truths of Appreciation, which has beautiful photography and thought-provoking quotes and stories. You can learn also more about Bob Danzig at his website (www.bobdanzig.com).

Perhaps Bob's story will encourage you to choose to make a difference in others' lives with just a few sincere words. Sharing thanks and gratitude is easy, and it can mean so much. So, why don't we do it more often? Now's a good time to make a conscious effort to offer words of appreciation. You never know; they may just change someone's life.
 
Diane Berenbaum is a long-time contributor and former editor of the MAGIC Service Newsletter. She has more than twenty-five years of experience as a consultant, coach, and facilitator. Diane is the co-author of How to Talk to Customers: Create a Great Impression Every Time with MAGIC® .
 
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