As a freelance writer, I specialize in career advice. From job interview tips to networking strategies, I author articles that either help people find their dream careers or take their existing ones to the next level.
As a result, sometimes I hear from people who are seeking some guidance -- or even just a friendly email reassuring them that everything is going to pan out alright. And, that's exactly what happened nearly a year ago.
This woman, who was still relatively young in her career, was frustrated. She didn't like what she was doing, yet she couldn't quite figure out where she wanted to go -- or the steps she needed to take to get there.
I reassured her that I felt that exact same way before, told her a little bit about my own story and path, and passed along some articles that I thought would help her gain some clarity. She quickly replied to thank me, and I assumed that would be the end of our relationship.
Saying "Thank You"
Just a few days ago, an email from this same woman appeared in my inbox. Assuming she was seeking more advice, I clicked it open to see what questions she had this time.
I quickly read through her message, and then -- after being surprised by what I saw -- I read it again. Before I knew it, I was misty-eyed and smiling.
She wasn't emailing with follow-up questions. Instead, she was circling back to let me know that she took my advice and put herself out there to find a better opportunity. It worked. She was starting her dream job the following Monday.
She thanked me profusely for the guidance I had shared. But, even moreso, for being in her corner in a moment when she felt lost, confused, and alone.
Of course, I responded immediately to let her know how much her email meant to me. However, it also inspired me to think about something else.
When's the last time you sincerely expressed your gratitude?
We all know saying "thank you" is important. But, take a minute to ponder this question: When is the last time you turned around and genuinely thanked someone?
No, I'm not talking about that quick "thanks" said in passing by the break room coffee maker or that "thank you so much!" you halfheartedly added to the bottom of that email you tapped out on the subway.
Instead, when's the last time you dedicated an entire message or communication to let someone know how much you appreciate them and the impact they've made on your life?
If you're anything like me, you're coming up a little empty-handed. Our lives get busy, and gratitude can easily get pushed to the bottom of the priority list -- I'm guilty of this very same thing.
But, this heartfelt email immediately made me think of people that I should touch base with to update them on my success and -- more importantly -- thank them for the role they played in it.
My college journalism professor who told me that I had the talent to write for a living. The local freelance writer who sat with me over coffee when I was debating taking the leap from my full-time job. The editor who challenged the entire way I approached my writing assignments.
They're all people who had a major part to play in shaping my professional life. But, as sad as it sounds, I can't think of a single time when I let them know how much that meant to me.
Remember this: Absolutely nobody does anything alone. We all have those people who have had a hand in making us who we are today and, at the very least, they deserve a sincere expression of your gratitude.
So, I challenge you to get out there and truly thank these people for what they've added to your life. Trust me, it'll make the day that much better for both of you.