This post will be short. Practically a tweet in the blogging world.
But there’s something I’ve been doing, for about 10 years now, and I think I need to share it.
It’s simple, really. But has framed most professional interactions I’ve had for a decade.
I say thank you.
Meeting with a student? End with a thank you.
Meeting with a colleague? End with a thank you.
Meeting with a parent? End with a thank you.
What am I thanking them for, exactly? Their time. Their attention. Their energy. Their ideas. Their willingness to work with me.
Sometimes, the thank you is very natural. Someone is doing something for me, so I thank them.
But sometimes, it’s the exact opposite: I’m doing something for them. And I thank them.
To this point: nobody has thought it weird. Most have probably not noticed. Certainly, there have been times when I haven’t said thank you. I’m not batting 1.000.
And while I like to think it’s helped others have a more positive view of me, that is not very likely. I mean, it’s a throwaway phrase sometimes, so others may not even notice it.
But for me, it’s been a reminder. Every interaction I have, someone is giving me something: their time, their advice, their work. Something. It has helped me be mindful of what others have done for me, in every interaction of every day.
I hope this has helped me better appreciate those around me and better serve those entrusted to my care. I know it certainly hasn’t hurt.
Thanks for reading.