Imagine you’re the biggest movie star of the 21st century. Your newest movie is the #1 movie around the world. You have over 100 million followers on Instagram and almost 60 million fans on Facebook. When you need to fly around the world they put you on a private jet.
How would you react if a teenage girl from Minnesota, who you’ve never met in your life, invites you to her prom?
Most celebrities wouldn’t even notice this. How could they when they’re so busy and receiving millions of comments and messages on social media? Dwayne Johnson noticed. Yeah, we’re talking about The Rock. He noticed because he made a habit of saying thank you and giving back. He’s constantly paying attention to what his fans are saying and doing – because he knows that he’s successful because of them and their support.
Dwayne Johnson answered to her prom invite, and even though he couldn’t make it, he made sure she would have a great time – organising a private screening for “Rampage” for her and over 200 of her friends.
When he posted a video about the whole thing, The Rock said:
“Thanks for making my day Katie by asking me to your prom, glad you guys had a BLAST and thank you for being an amazing fan.”
The money he spent on doing something nice for his fan is probably what he makes in 10 minutes on set, but the impact was amazing. His fans were proven once again that his the greatest and that they’re appreciated.
Thanking someone has the power to change lives
As I’ve written before about our Pay It Forward Fridays, there are experiences that can change our lives and the lives of others and often they’re small gestures. We need more of that. And I want you to join me in this new mission to let people know we appreciate them.
To make my case I’ll tell you about a dude you never heard of – Brian Doyle, who after avoiding what could have been a fatal car crash, decided to start a 365 days of gratitude personal project in which he tanked someone who influenced his life every single day for a year. One of the people he tanked was someone he was in elementary school with, David, who has Asperger syndrome. Brian learned a lot from this kid so many years ago – how to deal with bullies, how to be proud of who you are, how to be confident, how to have a thick skin. When Brian saw him on the street one day walking with his mother, he decided to thank him then and there. And while he was thanking David for all the things he learned from him in elementary school, David saw his mum crying and that’s when he realised it: nobody ever thanked David before. For anything.
People don’t know we appreciate them. That should change.
People need praise. There are certain areas in our lives in which we need other people’s praise. It’s a need as important as needing water or food, but while we’re open to asking for a glass of water or a bite to eat, we’d never ask for praise or to be thanked. Dr Laura Trice thinks that this happens because we’d become vulnerable once we’d point out to people where our insecurities lie, when we want to be thanked.
You know what I say? Thank everybody! Be genuine while you do it and do it often. People might think that we appreciate them, but they won’t know for sure unless we let them know.
Don’t let year and years pass by before gathering the courage to thank the most important people in your life. For example, thanking your own parents is extremely difficult – because we never do that. Sitting down with a parent and thanking them for all that you’ve learned from them and all they’ve offered you is one of the most difficult things one can do.
Why you should say ‘thank you’ more often
There are many reasons why you should do it, but here are those that should get the wheels turning in an online marketer’s head:
1) Acknowledges what the other person is doing
It tells them that you see them, that you notice their effort. Thank your customers, your contractors, random people on the internet who took the time to post something about your product and service. Nobody wants to do things that have no impact. If you thank them, they’ll keep doing them, because they got a positive reaction.
2) Brings them into the spotlight
When you thank someone, you’re making it about them (whatever ‘it’ is), not about you. Think of what you do when you’re late to a meeting or it takes you forever to get your mic working for a Skype call. You’d say “sorry, I’m late, I had to / I’ve just /I needed to”. When you reframe this into an opportunity for thanking them, you can say “thank you for your patience”, you’re taking the spotlight from yourself and putting it them and you’re making them look good and feel good.
3) It defuses any bombs people might throw at you
How many times did you get into arguments with people who had a nasty comment about something you posted online or something you did? Getting defensive it’s only powering them up. If you just say ‘thank you’, accepting what they say and moving on, you win. You demonstrate that it’s no big deal to you. You’ve heard what they had to say but you reserve the right to not give a damn about it. And you’re doing it with grace.
How to integrate more thank you’s into your life
Listen, the world is full of opportunities to say thank you and change someone’s mood, day, or even life. You don’t have to start a ‘365 days of gratitude’ project, although it might radically transform your life, you can just make small changes:
Thank people enquiring about your products and services
I’ve been there. I know how excited you get when someone sends you a message about the thing you’re selling when you just started out your business. You thank people and you’re super excited that someone noticed you and your business, but once your business grows, and the 3 messages you got every week now are 300 or 3,000 messages, you forget to thank people.
You should never be too busy to thank people for reaching out. Even if their message is negative. They took the time to reach out. It’s always more comfortable to just do nothing. Thank them and take what’s useful of what they’re saying.
Thank people for mentioning your company online
As you might have noticed in this article on social media trends, conversations and engagement are more important than ever, they can cut through all the clutter algorithms throw at us. That is why is important to look for mentions for your name or brand and reach out to people to thank them.
Thank people when they offer you a compliment
Compliments need to be accepted, not deflected. Just say ‘thank you’, not what you were about to say, and see how that feels. It will feel a bit odd in the beginning but then you’ll learn to own the compliments you receive. Everybody needs praise, and that includes you.
Thank people for their feedback
You might be one of the few special ones in this regard, but most of us feel pretty uncomfortable offering feedback, especially when it’s negative. To word your feedback in a way that wouldn’t sound too harsh but still get the message across is quite difficult. So when you recognize a feedback sandwich, don’t roll your eyes and fixate on the negative part – thank people and use what you’ve just learned to get better at what you’re doing.
How to thank someone like you mean it
Depending on what you’re thanking them for and what your relationship is, you can do it in a few different ways. Of course you can and should thank them in person at the time they offer you a compliment or help you out with something, but when you want to thank someone you don’t talk to that often or someone that has positively influenced your life, you can also do it in a few more ways:
- You can send them a ‘thank you’ card. This works best when you’re reaching out to someone who is older and is someone you’re not very close to like a teacher, career counsellor, first employer or manager, etc. Write your message on a card and mail it. It will make their day and they can show it around to family and friends.
- You can mention someone in a social media post. If you want to thank someone that is younger and part of your network, you can do it online, as long as you know that they’d be OK with getting tagged. This is great when your message could have a positive impact on building their personal brand or their company. This would work great for thanking a life coach, or a colleague, employer, a supporter of your business, close friends.
- You can also tip and donate. Tipping is quite simple and I’m sure you’re already doing it. Donating might not be something you thought about, I know I didn’t until recently. Nowadays people are helping various causes and organisations to raise funds, and you can thank them for the good things they contributed to in your life by donating and letting them know you did it because of them.
- Promoting. If your online business is doing much better than that of someone who supported you when you first started out, you can thank them for their support by becoming a promoter for their business. They’ll get the message and I’m sure they’ll be super thrilled to see you do it without them having to ask for your help.
For this Pay It Forward Friday I hope you’ll join me in thanking the people who changed our lives for the better. To inspire others to do the same, please let me know in the comments below who will you thank and how will you do it? Will it be a parent, a teacher, a mentor, a child?
If you think it would be too difficult to do it, or you don’t know how to reach them anymore, use the comments section below to write your message. Maybe they’ll find it here if they search for their name online. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
Let’s boost up our magical powers by saying ‘thank you’ more often!