While hosting the last of a five part series of group coaching discussions, one of the participants, a member of the senior staff for our local school district shared the following story:

When I was an Assistant Principal, one day I walked into my office. Much to my surprise, there was a large jar of pickles on my desk. I knew I hadn’t placed them there. When I picked up the jar, I noticed a note from the Principal attached which said, “You’re the real dill!” I was blown away by how such a small, simple and thoughtful show of gratitude could touch me so deeply. 

I was so inspired that since then, I’ve made it a point to show gratitude to my fellow employees at least three times a day. In fact, I set three alarms on my watch as reminders to stop whatever I’m doing and show someone on our team my gratitude for their work. For example, yesterday when my three o’clock reminder went off, I went down to our cafeteria and thanked one of our custodians for keeping the school so clean and nice. We ended up sitting and talking for awhile. We had never spoken before and it was wonderful to get to know him.  

It’s amazing to me that one simple act of gratitude changed me and my appreciation for everyone around me.

This is a completely true story including how I heard it but I’ve left out names out of respect for those in my coaching group. And much like the individual that shared it, I was truly taken by how one act of kindness can have a ripple effect like the one he described.    Whether you work in the for-profit world or nonprofit arena as many of my clients do, I’m certain you can learn and apply much of the above in your organization. A wonderful act like this could have a huge impact on your fellow staff members, customers, donors, volunteers – and of course your family (they deserve it too!!) Here are a few concepts to keep in mind as you live your gratitude:  

Keep it Thoughtful yet Simple: From my many visits to Publix, I know picking up a jar of pickles isn’t too tough or costly. And writing a nice note such as the one above probably took all of five minutes, if that. The point is that “the giver’ in the story did something thoughtful, creative and truly memorable! This is just one idea – there are tons of others out there… 

Be Intentional: I’m not a big fan of the “fake it till you make it” approach and I guess one could ask, “wouldn’t it be better if he did these three acts of gratitude from his heart instead of by his watch?” I look at it differently. From my conversation with this gentleman, I can attest to his authenticity. Moreover, I look at his use of alarms as reminders to step away from the hustle of the day and do what’s most important to him. We all get caught up in our moments so there’s nothing wrong with being extra intentional about an act of goodness.

Share It: He told it to us and I’m telling it to you. Why? Because it touched his heart and soul and he was moved to share it. As I said above, an act of gratitude doesn’t need to be big or flashy, just meaningful to the individual that receives it. That’s what makes it memorable. And if it is memorable and thus shared, think of the Exponential Magnitude of Gratitude.  

Do you have any interesting or memorable way that you share your gratitude? Share them with me at robert.grabel@yournonprofitnow.com and I’d be thrilled to share them with our community of readers. 



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