The Undeniable Power of Thank You

Two of the most powerful words in the world are also two of the most underrated words: Thank You.These magic words can make all sorts of things appear, they can make frowns disappear and even transform a person’s entire day.

These magic words can make all sorts of things appear, they can make frowns disappear and even transform a person’s entire day. Using these two words can undeniably make a huge difference in your life. As my grandmother frequently reminded me, it doesn’t cost you a thing but the fruits of saying thank you are so bountiful.

A few questions come to mind as I ruminate on this:

  • Why is something so powerful and impactful so rarely used today?
  • Is society straying away from feeling and expressing gratitude?
  • Are we just too busy and preoccupied with our lives and their myriad distractions to say it and mean it?
  • Have we lost such a fundamental and powerful phrase in today’s world?

I’m not sure I have all the answers, but I wanted to write this blog, sharing the power and thrill of genuinely expressing gratitude and simply saying “thank you.”

I believe my parents did a great job instilling the importance of using manners, from simple phrases like please, thank you, and you’re welcome, to gestures like holding the door for others and allowing them to walk through first. My wife and I, as new parents, put a lot of emphasis on manners as well. In our household, however, we call them magic words.

I’m not sure where the term “magic words” came from, but I do know that when we use these words, magical things happen. Our three-year-old daughter is catching on quickly, but when she forgets on occasion (as three year old’s are wont to do) we gently remind her by saying, “Sienna, do you want to try that again using a few magic words?” or “You may get what you want sooner if you add a few magic words!”

Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

The truth is, magic words, and simply using good manners genuinely makes life better. I know that’s a broad, somewhat vague statement, but ultimately people want to feel appreciated and when they do, anything is possible.

Here are a few business-related stats about the power of “thank you” that will blow your mind:

  1. 69% of employees report they would work harder if they felt their efforts were appreciated.
  2. 50% of employees believe that being thanked by managers not only improved their relationship, but also built trust with their higher-ups.
  3. 81% of employees report they are motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work.
  4. 79% of people who quit their jobs cite “lack of appreciation” as their reason for leaving.
  5. 93% of employees say they’re more likely to stay with an empathetic employer.

These stats are in business but as anyone who knows me is well aware, they fit right into my philosophy on life. Whether at home or at work, there should be no difference. Work/life balance is not something to strive to attain, rather it’s work/life integration that we should all focus on …but we’ll leave that for another blog!

That being said, the stats above are clear indicators that the power of thank you is both real and tangible. I want to share an awesome piece from my life that many people don’t know but it’s something I’ve been doing for a while and will continue doing, not only because it makes me feel awesome, but more importantly because it makes others feel the same.

Whenever I’m in the presence of a service man or woman, I’m always compelled to approach them with my thanks and praise. From police officers, fire fighters, and paramedics to military personnel, teachers, and volunteers, I can’t tell you how many fantastic people I’ve met by politely approaching to give them a few magic words of thanks.

Last week, my father was hospitalized for a blood clot. On my way into the hospital, I saw many paramedics and I got to thinking about the many stresses and complexities of their jobs. I pulled up next to a male and a female paramedic who were sitting in their vehicle and asked if they had a minute. Surprised, they turned and said, “yes.”

I said, “I don’t know you folks, but I just want to say, I’ve witnessed what goes on in this hospital, and thinking about what you go through day in and day out, I just want to say thank you on behalf of all the people you help. One of those people is my father and I can’t express how much that means to me and my family. I know sometimes you get shit on, but I want to let you know that your efforts have made an enormous difference.”

They were shocked. You could see it in their eyes that they needed to hear that. It instantly changed their body language and mood. It felt like drinking a morning coffee. I was able to change someone’s life for the better just by giving them praise and it didn’t cost me a thing. It’s a wonderful feeling. It felt like I’d filled up their gratitude tank for the day.

“Thank you” goes a long way, and I believe if we used it more often, our world would truly be a better place.

I always end my blogs with an Ask or a Give. My Ask today is to call or approach two people who have positively impacted your life and thank them. Let me know how it goes!

Tony Gareri

CEO & Culture Enthusiast

Drawing from firsthand experiences, Tony addresses how a culture evolution can lead to improved business results and happier work environments.

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