I picked up my kids from school the other day and decided to play one of my favorite artists, Taj Mahal, as we drove home. Taj does a beautiful cover of William Bell's classic, "You Don't Miss Your Water ('Til Your Well Runs Dry"). The song was nearly over when my nine-year old son asked me about the lyrics. I explained that the meaning of the song is about not appreciating what you have until it is gone. We talked about it more, and I explained that it's about being thankful. Here we are quickly approaching Thanksgiving, what a perfect time to stop and give thanks to the people in our networks.
As a keynote speaker, author, consultant and dad, I feel like I'm running a mile a minute most days. I'm scrambling to complete client work, prepare presentations, record and edit interviews for my podcast, write and research new articles, reply to emails, and remember to pick up my kids from school. All of the work we do each day can make it easy to forget to stop and be thankful for the people in our lives.
Here's a challenge for you, I'm doing this too. Go ahead and book ten minutes on your calendar each day leading up to Thanksgiving to write a Thank You message to someone in your network. Try to do one person a day, but by all means, write more if you can find the time.
Who Should You Follow Up With?
Begin by reviewing your calendar so far this year. Flip back to January and review who you met with and what the outcome was. I bet you can easily find people you can thank who took the time to meet with you or to speak with you over the phone.
Next, look through your text messages on your phone. Who did you exchange messages with several months ago?
On Facebook, review the private messages you have exchanged on Messenger. Scroll back to the start of the year. Take a look at your direct messages on Twitter from months ago. Who should you follow up with?
There are several ways you can give thanks to the people who helped you this year. The easiest way is to send them an email to say Thank You. You can also pick up the phone and call them directly. Bonus points for taking the time to send them an actual Thank You card.
Here are some more ideas to take giving thanks a step further.
- Surprise someone with an Amazon gift card. The news designs and options are perfect for quick gifts.
- Do you have a photo of you and your colleague? Send them a Thank You postcard using Postagram. Just write a brief thank you message and upload your photo. Postagram will do the rest for just $.99.
- If your contact uses Pinterest or Amazon you may discover they have a wish list. I've snooped this way and picked out the perfect Thank You gifts for people who have helped me. They are always elated when the product arrives with a brief thank you note from me.
- You can support local businesses (I'm in Nashville) by using Batch Nashville (affiliate) to send wonderful and affordable gift baskets of local products like coffee, biscuit mix, and chocolate. Yum!
Regardless of whether you send a gift or not, I hope you take my challenge. I hope you stop for a moment and consider who has helped you this year. Do something nice for the people in your network, provide an introduction, write a LinkedIn recommendation, send a thank you note, pick up the phone and call. Set some time on your calendar to do this now, you will be thankful you did.
Thank YOU for reading and sharing this post. Take the 10 minute giving thanks challenge.
This post originally appeared in The Tennessean Newspaper.