The Power of Thank You (the personal power tool that costs £0!)

The Power of Thank You

Have you ever been in the situation where you have held open a door for someone and they sailed through without saying a word? Or how about letting someone in front of you in a line of traffic and they make no sign of acknowledgement. Or, as happened to me recently, you spend an entire day preparing a feast for a dinner party to have someone turn up empty handed, they eat your food, drink your wine and never say thank you, not even a text!

Annoying isn’t it? It can make your blood boil, and have you noticed the unpleasant sensation it leaves you with afterwards? The only thing greater than the power of thank you is the sour taste a lack of thanks can leave.

The power of thank you is seriously underestimated

Some employers make the mistake of thinking that things such as money, extra holiday entitlement, or promotions are the only ways to keep staff happy. Of course these are great to receive but it all costs money and eats into profitability if they are the only tools used.

There are plenty of things leaders can do that cost absolutely zero £.  The first of these is the all too obvious but much underused words of ‘thank you’.

Human beings respond much more positively to praise.  If you actively look for what is good in a person or what they are doing which is spot on if not surpassing your anticipations, then actively bring attention to this by acknowledgement and a thank you, that person will respond in a favourable way. The power of thank you is the warm glow it gives a person.

You don’t need awards or anything over the top by way of a thank you.  Just stop and consider how good you felt when someone took the time to notice something you had done or achieved and then went out of their way to come up to you and say something great about it.  How did that make you feel for the rest of the day? It’s that feeling you should be instilling in those you are responsible for.

The power of thank you costs zero £ but a few moments of time

Even when you’re busy there is always time to glance up and outwards to review how your team members are doing and, if you are a good leader, how their morale is.  Some may need more encouragement than others, some may not trust their own regard for themselves and some may need support and help.  But how are you going to know this unless you take the time? Acknowledgment and thanks are extremely powerful, especially when times are stressful or tough.

It is very easy and often the norm to watch employee’s performance and pull them up on what it is that they are not doing or are doing imperfectly.  While this may be regarded as positive feedback because it will help them improve, it quite often isn’t and doesn’t.  Criticism and having what are perceived as negative points raised can be viewed as an attack on their personal identity and I’ve never known a person respond well to it.

Of course, sometimes it is necessary to address performance issues for the overall good of the team and company, however first look for the good and start with that.  Think carefully about the more negative issue you need to raise and how you can do so without attacking their personality and always finish with a positive phrase or aspect directed back at them as a person.

You’re human, they’re human – treat them as you would yourself – with positive regard and humanity. Use the power of thank you constructively and enjoy the smiles you get in return.

(Oh, and thank you for taking the time to read this article)

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Positivity – Positive action and thinking leads to success

Today Is a good Day

Linked with motivation, resilience and patience I have found positivity is essential to complete the full success compass. To be fair it probably underpins the other 3 and is a must have in your armoury.

Most successful people state positivity as their ‘must have’ attitude in their lives.  They, as well as I believe that a positive outlook and state of mind leads to positive outcomes.

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.”  Willie Nelson

But how do you develop positivity?

Suffering from PTSD depression episodes does mean I know all about how negative things, thoughts and situations can be.  Even if you don’t suffer from depression there are times when the entire planet, life, energy, and success can seem entirely pointless. The negative chatter that goes on inside your head about how ‘things are too tough to attempt, it’s not going to make a difference, I’m a failure/fraud, it is never going to work’ can powerfully take precedence over any other thinking and will scupper any plans or goals you had.

You must develop a positivity shield – it really is simple and quickly becomes second nature.

Every time you have a negative thought immediately think of an opposing positive one.

‘Ugh, it’s wet damp and cold’ : ‘tomorrow may be sunny’

‘I’ll never make my deadline’ : ‘I am working towards my deadline and still have time’

‘There’s not enough money’ : ‘how can I creatively use the money I do have’

It really is that simple.  Even in the darkest of situations there will always be something that you can juxtapose with a brighter idea.  It may not be true but just thinking about the positive possibility can have an affirmative effect and change the result for you.

Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.
Lyndon B Johnson

Positivity can be learned

I promise you it does not take long before everything you think about, plan or act upon immediately draws out a positive thought or idea from you without you even consciously thinking about doing so.

I was reminded of this only recently.  I returned from a trip to Rome, having eaten as much Gelato as I could (Italian ice cream which is divine), feeling much heavier as my uncomfortable trouser waistband testified to. The very next day a vomiting virus hit me which laid me low for 4 days, unable to eat, with many trips to the bathroom.  Without skipping a beat, my immediate thought process piped up with ‘well at least that will shift the extra weight you put on!’.  Every cloud has a silver lining….

It is also a great weapon to have in front of you when you meet negative people.  You know the type I mean – the ‘it will never work’, ‘what on earth are you thinking’, ‘be realistic’ brigade.  Don’t listen to them, they are not you and don’t know what you are capable of.

When you practice the very small things I have suggested with your own Success Compass, remembering to use all four facets all of the time, in tandem, with everything you face, do or try I guarantee that you will begin to fly along your path and have the vitality, grit and endurance you need to achieve absolutely anything.

Remember: You are whatever you tell yourself you are.

This article is part of my success compass series; you can find the other articles here… The Success Compass , Staying Motivated , Resilience and Patience

The Success Compass – Honing your softer skills for success

The Success Compass

In the past few weeks I’ve given you the strategies and tools on how to work out your purpose, target your big shiny goal and how to plan the tasks to accomplish your dream future.

Why you need softer skills to succeed

There are other ‘softer’ skills that you need to have and/or develop in the background if you want to stay on track with your main strategy and these I am going to deal with in the coming series of articles.  I call this the Success Compass.

Just like a compass there are 4 key skills which, when joined and used together, make you almost unstoppable in anything you choose to accomplish in life no matter what the situation or circumstances:

  • Motivation
  • Resilience
  • Patience
  • Positivity

These softer skills combined are key to successfully navigating life’s tricky waters. Sometimes you may need one of these at a time or, as most often occurs, there will be an amount of overlapping to make you truly remarkable and let you stand out from the crowd.

Sounds simple?  Well it is, and it isn’t.

Softer skills need developing

We may think we have these softer skills within us already (and many of us do) but you never truly know to what depth they run until you are really tested.  Take it from one who has been tested to the extreme, you are not going to appreciate how much of each you have within you or how crucial it is that you can bring them to the fore and use them in the most difficult of circumstances, until the situation where you must call on them arises.

I discovered that though blessed with all four points in my compass there was work I had to do on each to hone them to the level where they really helped me move forward, upwards and onwards.

Just like an unused muscle that is suddenly called upon, the stamina you have in each of these softer skills can be pretty feeble. However, if appreciated now, while they are not needed to any great level, and exercised regular you can develop each skill into strong, resistant, life enhancing and, even life-saving, skills.

I am going to take each of the Compass skills in the following articles and suggest some simple, non-time-consuming ways in which you can develop them, so they stand you in good stead in the future, whenever you decide you need to apply them.