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Express Gratitude

Do you say “thank you” enough at work? How about at home? Think about recent situations when you expressed a form of gratitude to another person. It was probably because they gave you something (a birthday gift), did something nice for you (paid for lunch) or helped you out (completed one of your tasks so you could meet a project deadline). When it comes to each of these scenarios, it’s always appropriate to thank one another because these are the situations in which it would be considered rude to not express gratitude.


But what about saying thank you for the small things, the things that the people in your life may do for you all the time? We tend to take those “little things” for granted, and although we’re not expected to verbally communicate our thankfulness for these things, imagine what would happen to our relationships if we did!


Generally speaking, showing gratitude is an easy and productive way to improve relationships. People at work want to feel valued, both for the work they do and for the time they put into doing it. At home, too, our loved ones want to know that their contributions matter to their family members. Taking the time to thank someone for doing routine tasks, completing mundane chores or for simply being cheerful goes beyond the gesture of saying thank you. It says, “I appreciate you.”

BENEFITS OF EXPRESSING GRATITUDE

Heartfelt, genuine gratitude is an important communication gesture because it’s memorable. It motivates others to continue the positive behavior you’re recognizing in them and in turn, it cements someone’s impression of you as being the kind of person who acknowledges the good in others.

At the office, a simple thank you can go a long way with an employee, co-worker or senior leader that you work with every day. It shows that you sincerely appreciate them and how they’re contributing to the company’s positive culture and overall success. People want to feel like they are part of something and that their work is important. Telling them how grateful you are for their work helps them achieve a personal level of success that continues to drive them forward.

At home, your spouse may make the bed every single day, no questions asked and no two thoughts about it. It’s just something they do as part of their routine when they get up in the morning. One day, say “thank you” to them for doing that. And be specific! For example, let them know that because they make the bed every morning, you’re able to use that time to get an early start on making breakfast for the whole family to sit down and enjoy together.

Being thankful for small things makes a huge impact. It’s unexpected, which makes it even more rewarding and satisfying for the person you’re giving thanks to. And it reminds us that there is so much more to be thankful for than what’s customary.

MOMENTS OF GRATITUDE THROUGHOUT THE DAY

You may have heard of a “gratitude journal” before. It’s when you spend time each day writing down the things you are grateful for on that particular day. Some examples are: being thankful for a warm, sunny day; having heat in your car during the winter; or receiving a phone call from one of your best friends. The point of keeping this kind of journal is to be intentional about recognizing the many things in life we have to be thankful for—not just the big things, like family, friends, a nice house, etc., but also the little things that we don’t usually give a second thought to.

Using the “gratitude journal” concept, think about all the “little” things you can thank someone for this week, both at work and at home. Here are some ideas to get you started:

People to Thank at Work

  • The person who makes the coffee every morning

  • An employee who has a great sense of humor

  • The co-worker who picked up your mail for you today

  • The assistant who always keeps the supply closet stocked

  • Someone who taught you something new

  • The IT employee who shares helpful tips

  • The vendor/supplier who is always smiling and makes time to have a conversation

  • Someone who has great photos or cheerful décor in their office or workspace

People to Thank at Home

  • Your spouse for making dinner, washing the dishes, folding the laundry, finding a good movie for you to watch together, updating the budget, doing the taxes, managing your retirement accounts, etc.

  • Your child for putting his/her clothes in the hamper, making their bed, keeping their room tidy, waking up on time, texting you, etc.

  • Your neighbor who has beautiful plants and flowers outside for you to enjoy

  • A friend who encourages you

YOUR CHALLENGE

Your challenge this week is to thank the people in your life, both professionally and personally, for the little things that they do almost every day. Notice how it makes them feel when you tell them how grateful you are—don’t forget to be specific about why you’re grateful. Being detailed about your appreciation lets them know you’re not thanking them just to be nice; you really mean it!

Use the Week 7 Challenge Worksheet to list who you thanked and why you thanked them. Also, write about how it made them feel to receive this communication from you.

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