Thanks in Advance


I’ll be honest.  I hate that phrase.

Most of the time when someone says to me, “Thanks in Advance” it feels as though they are making assumptions about my completion of a task or compliance with a request without waiting for me to agree in the first place.

More than once I’ve been tempted to respond with:

“Bite Me! – Thanks in Advance.”

I am happy to say that my cooler head usually prevails, and I am much more charitable with my responses.  I recognize that offering gratitude when making a request is a good idea, please just don’t use the phrase “Thanks in Advance”.

When you go to restaurant, or work with any kind of customer service agent do you give a tip?  Of course you do!  But did you know that originally the tip was given at the start of the interaction, not the end?

The origins of the word “tip” is an acronym that stands for “To Insure Performance” and it was often broken into two parts.  “Here’s $5, there’s another $10 in it for you when we’re finished if you do a good job.”

That kind of proactive gratitude can change the interaction between parties profoundly.  But it is far more than just dropping a few dollars and saying thanks in advance.  Gratitude is not something that can be done cheaply or sporadically, it needs to become part of our constant attitude.

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude (I hate that phase too, not because it’s wrong it just sounds cheesy), starts with saying thank you but when it becomes a part of who we are it leads to level of graciousness, that people will remember forever.  And people want to do things for other people when they feel like they are appreciated.

So make gratitude a part of your daily life.  Be thankful for everything.

Rather than saying “thanks in advance”.  Drop little thank you bombs into the conversation every chance you get.  Start a meeting with “hey, thanks for meeting with me.”  When you make a request for something say; “thanks for considering this, or thanks for taking the time to review my proposal.”  As the relationship moves forward don’t forget to say thank you at every completed stage.

Don’t be afraid to say thank you in public either.  Giving a seminar?  Thank the organizer for inviting you right from the stage.   Sign a big contract?  Thank your client on twitter or facebook, just be careful not to reveal anything that might be considered confidential.

I thanked a client on twitter once and they retweeted it to all of their followers.   It was a great way to increase my own exposure and generate even more leads.  So I thanked them for that too!

People love to be thanked and being gracious always pays dividends.

Thanks to Darren Hardy (@darrenhardy) for giving me the idea of this post.

Thank you for reading it.

Who do you want to thank today?  Tell me in the comments below or forward this post directly to them, I will be super grateful if you do, and I’ll make sure you know it…

 

Two Little Words That Can Change the World


Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. – Melody Beattie; Gratitude

gratitude

This past week I had the opportunity to attend Q Commons, a lecture series on the ever evolving shape of our culture. (http://qideas.org) More specifically most of the speakers were focused on the importance of Christianity in shaping our modern culture.

The evening was structured similar to a Tedx event whereby over the course of about 2 hours we heard from 6 individual speakers and were encouraged to interact with the rest of the people in attendance to build on what we were hearing. Of the 6 speakers by far the most impactful for me was the live video feed of Ann Voscamp, author of the bestselling book “One Thousand Gifts; A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.” Her nine minute talk was on the topic, what does it mean to be known by gratitude?

As Voscamp put it; “The virtue of gratitude is what lies at the heart of community ethics.” If we want to shape our culture with a sense of grace, peace and mercy, what Christians refer to as the fruits of the spirit, we need to start by saying Thank You. Thank You first to God but also to one another and to our own selves for the things we do to keep ourselves sane.

Saying thank you forces us to look up and acknowledge the people around us. By looking at people we cannot help but see them and seeing people for who they are is the first step in acknowledging their humanity. All humanity is made in the image of God. When you see people for who they truly are you are looking at God.

As Claude-Michel Schonberg put it when writing the lyrics to the musical Les Miserables, “To Love another person is to see the face of God.”

I’ve written on gratitude before. In my book “Meekonomics; How to Inherit the Earth and Live Life to the Fullest in God’s Economy,” I wrote that gratitude is the antidote for the sin of jealousy. When you can say thank you for what you have, you don’t have as much energy to worry about the things other people have. The commandment, “Thou Shall Not Covet” is really the negative form of “Be Thankful.”

This is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. I think that the fact that we Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving 6 weeks earlier than our American neighbours makes us nicer people. I know that’s not the case but it is obvious to me that the more thankful you are, the more you show gratitude in your daily life, the happier you will be.  Thanksgiving should be more than just one day.  It should be a lifestyle.

So what are you thankful for?

Dance When the Spirit Says Dance!


Okay – so I promised to write more on world food prices and climate change last week but I’ve had a really busy weekend and didn’t get much writing done.  It was the 25th anniversary celebration of my church and I spend the whole day Saturday partying with them.  All I can say is, when you get a group 5000+ Arminians together in one place to say Thank-You to God, you’d better be ready to party. 

The pastor spoke on gratitude from Luke 17, the healing of ten men with Leprosy.

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

 14When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

 17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”[Luke 17:11-19]

After he was finished we cleared away the chairs and danced like David (only with more clothes on) until the wee hours of the morning.  How many other churches would do that? 

You see, when we stop and notice  all that God has done in our lives, like that one Samaritan Leper the only appropriate response so the say Thank-You.  I’m not saying that the other nine Lepers didn’t notice they had been healed, they were all good men who did what they were told, but they were so caught up in the religious ritual of it that they forgot to thank the one who made it all possible. 

When you notice God moving in your life, forget your religious ritual, forget what you were doing before, forget your own plans and just give thanks!  And if that means dancing all night with 5000 of your closest friends and church family then dance!