If you want to succeed in life and at work (and who doesn't?), make sure you use these two words often: "thank you." They can help you in ways that you may never expect.
Giving thanks is a big theme right now (duh!). But the concept can be lost amid preparing the perfectly moist turkey or deciding which stores will have the best holiday sales.
Thanksgiving -- as a practice -- is too important for a one-day focus. Whether we learned it in Sunday school or from a Charlie Brown TV special, concentrating on what you're thankful for can get you through many personal and professional hardships.
Try it. What are you thankful for? Take a few minutes to really dwell on your answer, from the basics of what you ate today or laughed at yesterday to what you achieved in the past year or even your decent health. I suspect you'll discover some encouragement, if not at least one reason to celebrate.
That encouragement could be just the booster you need against the gloomy economic onslaught we hear about each day, or against the anxiety of job uncertainty.
In fact, giving thanks is a great strategy for keeping a good attitude during your job search. Losing a job hurts, especially when it feels like a random act of unkindness. But complaining isn't a strategy that will get you hired. For some good pointers about gaining perspective in that situation, see "Moving Forward after a Job Loss."
Thanking coworkers, your boss, and people who serve you can do more than give you a reputation for being polite. The impression you give, for example, could be building trust that influences your boss when it comes time for a promotion. Of course he or she will never say, "I'm promoting you because you have been good about being thankful," but your demonstrations of gratitude may have communicated something deeper about your character that resonates.
Honestly, aren't you often more likely to favor somebody who is genuinely grateful toward you?
Final thought: thank-you notes can create a lasting impression, especially the kind that leads to hiring decisions. I've only heard from a very few hiring managers that thank-you notes don't make a difference. Last year Yahoo! HotJobs had an interesting feature in which several recruiters discussed this topic.
Happy Thanksgiving! And thanks for reading my blog!
Post-Thanksgiving add (11/28): I just read the "I just got laid off" post by NYT blogger Marci Alboher, which I recommend for many reasons, one of which is her experience following her own advice about thank-you notes. I am interested to see what she does next; I suspect it will be good!