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With Gratitude (#114)

A few years back, my family and I started implementing a practice that was recommended to me by a mentor of mine, Warren Rustand. His advice was, after your stay at a hotel had come to an end, leave a handwritten note thanking the person who cleaned your room along with a monetary tip.

There are many reasons why this is a good thing to do, but four in particular are:

  1. It’s an act of gratitude. Practicing gratitude has numerous benefits for our health and state of mind.
  2. It shows respect, dignity and appreciation for someone’s hard work; work that often goes unnoticed.
  3. The tip is often insignificant to you, but meaningful to them.

We travel a lot and when we stay at a hotel, my kids typically take turns writing the notes. But it is my youngest who has really come to enjoy it. Even though he’s only nine, he asks to write the note as we’re packing up to leave.

A few weeks back, we were on a ski vacation. We had a lot of gear and rushed out of our room each morning to hit the slopes. To say we left a mess would be an understatement. Yet, when we returned each afternoon, the room was cleaned very well and all our belongings were neatly organized. It must have taken the housekeeping person well over an hour each day to get it that way.

When we went to check out, my son asked to write the thank you note and I pulled $40 out of my wallet to leave as a tip. My wife, Rachel, looked at me and said, “We should leave more. She worked really hard.” As usual, she was right and so we did.

At almost the same time, I received a note from a friend via a What’s App group. He too was inspired by Warren’s advice and had begun leaving a tip with a thank you note after his hotel stays. He shared that after a recent stay at an Airbnb in Guatemala, he’d left a $15 tip each day to the person who had cooked and cleaned for them. To his surprise, he received a note from the owner a few days later that read:

“I want to thank you so much for being so generous with Sandra’s tips. She told me today she was able to take her child to the dentist and to de-parasite her other child from amoebas. It really made a difference, thanks for your generosity.”

In our haste, we often neglect to show appreciation for the little things or take the time to thank and acknowledge those who have served us. And the reality is, these individuals are likely far less fortunate.

We’re all guilty of focusing on our first-world problems and overlooking the challenges/circumstances of others.

When we take the time to think about and recognize those who have served us in some way, with nothing to gain from doing so, it has a positive impact that is greater than we can imagine.  I also believe it’s simply good karma.

As you head into your weekend, I encourage you to take the time to sincerely thank someone who’s done something to serve you and see if you can improve their life in some small way. It’ll very likely make a difference to them and, as a bonus, it’ll also likely make you feel good about yourself.

A relatively small gesture can make a real difference in the life of another person.

Quote of the Week

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

William Arthur Ward

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Thankful Reflection (#99)

As we head into the last few weeks of the year, it’s a good time to reflect, celebrate and make connections. Two weeks ago, the Acceleration Partners team did just this. We gathered our employees from around the world for our sixth annual AP Summit, our most impactful one to date.

I thought I would share a few themes that I took away from our week together that have both personal and professional applications this holiday season.

Connecting in Person: These days, we have a lot of ways to communicate with each other. And while video calls are a big upgrade over voice alone, in-person face time matters. People connect differently in person. They tend to open up and share more vulnerably. For example, one of the highlights of the week was our employee TED talks. Team members spoke on topics that were important to them and shared ideas they felt would add value to others.

With this in mind, let’s make the time this holiday season to cultivate our most important personal and professional relationships. Let’s spend quality time together, face-to-face, talking about things that matter; not on our phones.

Demonstrate Gratitude: Throughout the entire week of our AP Summit, there was a lot of gratitude given, formally and informally. Everyone likes to be appreciated, but I think we often underestimate the impact showing gratitude to others has on our own outlook. When we take the time to recognize and appreciate others, it often feels better to see the impact it has on someone than to receive it ourselves.

Celebrate Humbly: Historically, empires fall from within. There’s no faster way to ensure your demise than by believing you are great and have nowhere to improve. Sure, it’s important to reflect on what went well and celebrate successes – both individual and as a team. But, especially at the end of the year, it’s also important to keep a level head and acknowledge that future success is never guaranteed.

In my opening AP Summit presentation, I shared what I believe to be one of the best speeches of 2017, delivered by Dino Babers, head football coach at Syracuse University. Just after his team defeated the number one-ranked team in the country in a major upset, Dino displayed some key leadership themes, which members of our organization took notice of.  He:

  • Did not take credit
  • Was humble
  • Showed respect for the competition
  • Was emotional and vulnerable
  • Reminded his team to take care of each and get back to work the next day

Before you rush to the store for a Black Friday shopping spree, take a few minutes to watch Dino’s Barber’s powerful speech. This is what great leadership looks like.

Quote of the Week

“If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.”

Frank Clark

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