MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: If you had an extra day in the week, how would you spend it? is written by Gay Gaddis, CEO and founder of T3.
Everyone can get caught up in “getting things done”. From time-consuming projects at work, to making sure your kids have clean socks to wear to school. Often times we get so busy, that we overlook the simple gesture of thanking someone. It doesn’t have to cost anything, and it speaks volumes. If I had an extra day each week, I would sit down and think about the people in my life — past and present — who have gone the extra mile to help me succeed. Especially those who were bold enough to tell me the truth — even when it hurt.
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My mother always said, if you feel strongly about how much someone means to you, then don’t waste any time telling them. Many of us go through life passing like ships in the night, and hardly ever take the time to say the things that are most heartfelt. My mother was a first grade teacher for many years in a small town in east Texas. One of the things that gave her the biggest sense of fulfillment, especially later in her career, was to hear from former students. Something like, “I will always remember that you were the person who taught me to read,” or “You were my favorite teacher.” Many of these students had gone on to have successful careers, and for her to know she had a part in their development was extremely meaningful.
So take the time to thank the people around you with a handwritten note, email, or phone call. They will be surprised and delighted to hear from you. And while you’re at it, always take time to thank yourself. We can get trapped in thinking about our weaknesses and shortcomings, and forget everything we are great at. Pat yourself on the back and thank you for being who you are. My yoga instructor reminds me of this when she says, “thank your mind, body and spirit.” Amen to that.