Remember that bit in Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts asks ‘why is is easier to believe the bad stuff about yourself than the good?’
We can all relate, right? because it IS so much easier to remember the bad over the good. To dwell on the mistakes, the screw ups, the ‘not quite there’s’, the negative comment, the less than enthusiastic reception, the missed deadline – you get the picture.
It’s not a character defect – this is just human nature. Psychologists call it the Velcro/Teflon effect – whereby our brain’s are biased towards ‘remembering’ and storing negative information 5 times more than positive info. In other words, we remember the bad stuff 5 times more often than the good stuff.
Psychologists call this the Velcro effect – negative thoughts, memories and judgements stick on our consciousness more than the good because our brain is trying to store that information to see if it can avoid those things happening again (our brain’s primary function is survival, not happiness). The good stuff is seen as less pressing to our survival, so slips out of our memory like it’s Teflon coated.
Fortunately researchers have found that we can counteract this by holding positive thoughts and memories in our conscious awareness for just a few seconds. Which is why spending time each day focusing on what’s gone well and what you have to be grateful for is such a powerful yet simple practice to adopt.
So I do love the idea of giving thanks – being reminded of what you’ve got in your life to be grateful of and shift our attention away from the brain’s habitual focus on the negative, and consciously onto the good.
But as it’s Thanksgiving weekend this week in the US and there seems to be so much pain and fear in the world right now, I wonder what it would be like if we took it further – reached out beyond our own thoughts and shared some of the thanks we have to others?
I’m an introvert – so I err on the side of less is more when it comes to communication. Which I’m find with most of the time – but there are occasions when I kick myself for not reaching out and telling people MORE how much I appreciate, love and am thankful for them. I feel it in the moment but once it’s passed….more often than not I leave the deeper, more heartfelt ‘thank you because….’ unsaid, unwritten and un communicated.
I don’t think I’m alone in this.
I KNOW I’m not alone in this.
But what I do know is that whenever I do reach out and share my gratitude with another person, magical things happen:
- Smiles crack wide
- Conversations begin
- Connections are made or are deepened
- Bonds are forged.
So my question is –
What if you were in the Big Flipping THANK YOU Business?
I once reached out to a coach a adore but had never met, just to say how much I admired and was thankful for her work in the world.
A few months later she invited me to guest post on her site.
I messaged another coach to thank her for a podcast episode that touched my heart and made me question how I’d been approaching a tricky situation in life.
it started a conversation that eventually let to a collaboration.
After an intake session with a potential client that had resonated so deeply with me I felt like her experiences as a new coach echoed mine in an uncanny way, I emailed her to thank her for her courage and for placing her trust in me even though I was a complete stranger enough to share her story. She later became a long term client.
Not all of the times I’ve expressed thanks to people have resulted in business benefits for me. But that was never the point. I also don’t think it’s coincidental though that so many of them have.
Business is about connection. Connection is built on heart to heart, soul to soul contact.
What could be more heart and soul sharing than telling someone how much they mean to you – especially to those who might not realize it. What a beautifully simple and powerful way to make someone’s day/week/month.
What would life be like if you reached out more and told people why they meant so much to you? What you admired about them? What you were grateful to them for?
What would your business be like?
How powerful a gesture would it be to tell a client, past or present, how grateful you were for their courage and passion?
How great would it feel to reach out to a peer and thank them for their inspiration and support?
Why not use this as a template to get you started?
I wanted to reach out and tell you that I think you’re …..(insert superlative here – awesome/inspirational/) you are.
The (post you wrote/talk you gave/course you ran/meal you cooked) touched me.I admire your (compassion/courage/wit/downright sassiness) and I’m so grateful to have the chance to experience it.
In short – I just wanted to reach out and tell you that, in case you weren’t already aware of how much you’ve touched me and how grateful I have to have you in the world
Or go freestyle and write what ever is in your heart.
One last tip. Don’t do this in the hope of achieving any particular outcome for yourself – other than the feel good experience of showing others how much they mean to you. Show your gratitude without holding onto the outcome. (even though I bet nothing but good comes from it – the trick is in putting the focus entirely on the other person. No agenda. No expectations).
I Made Something For You – Just To Say Thank You
I’ve made a set of thank you cards that you can download to print of use as images – just to say thank YOU.
You can print them off or save them as images – perfect to send in emails to your favourite clients, peers or even your grandma!
Just pop in your details below to get them sent to you right away.