Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Serenity Tip: Share the happiness

I've written before about the power of expressing gratitude in your work life. It's not just about a once-a-year holiday card to key clients or sources. Nor is it simply a matter of saying thank you at the end of a particularly helpful telephone call. It's a matter of sharing the joy you experience in your job with others and spreading it around.

How does this help serenity? By focusing on joy instead of struggles, you amplify them and your experience of your work changes. Since self-employment by its nature is full of rough bumps in the road, amplifying your gratitude and happiness isn't just a nice thing to do; it's something that makes your work sustainable.

So here's the tip:

Keep thank-you cards on hand.

It's obvious, right? But the art of sending a thank-you card is a dying one. Emails are also great, but a hand-written card with a simple but genuine expression of thanks is a rare and memorable gift these days.

I was reminded of this yesterday.

I was on deadline Friday and scrambling to find that final source. I got ahold of a PR person on Thursday and begged for her help. She was a little cranky--"We get these last minute calls all the time. I don't know how you expect us to help you on such short notice!"--but then she really came through. She found two people for me to talk to by my deadline and I've lined up another one of her sources for a story I'm doing this week.

I was overjoyed, of course, and I always like thanking people for helping me out of a pickle. So I reached over and grabbed a thank-you card off my desk. I addressed it, filled it out and sent it. Then I forgot about it and moved on to the next thing.

Yesterday, I got a call from the woman. She was kind and clearly touched. I'm so glad. I try to never work last-minute like that and I wanted to express my gratitude for her help. It was received well and now we have a slightly closer relationship.

Keep the cards on hand for these situations and for when clients, other professionals and others connect you with new potential clients. Jotting off a quick note may mean little to you, but it will affect the person who receives it in a simple but important way.

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