The Mr. Rogers’ Rule
“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” —Meister Eckhart
Sadly, this is our last lesson. Please hold back your tears, I saved the best lesson for last.
Our first lesson was titled, “You’re Only as Good as Your Network.” Yet, sometimes we forget that. We forget those who helped us with our big career break, the people who lifted our spirits when we were down, or the friends who just make our life worth living.
Who Is Mr. Rogers?
Fred Rogers was the host of a famous children’s TV show called, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. The show aired for 30 years. The program won numerous awards and still impacts the lives of millions of children. Here’s what Mr. Rogers said when he won a lifetime achievement award:
“So many people have helped me to come to this night. Some of you are here, some are far away, some are even in Heaven.
“All of us have special ones who have loved us into being. Would you just take, along with me, ten seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are. Those who have cared about you and wanted what was best for you in life. Ten seconds of silence. I’ll watch the time.”
“Whomever you’ve been thinking about, how pleased they must be to know the difference you feel they’ve made.”
Did you give yourself 10 seconds to think of someone who helped you out? Someone who loved you when your life was crumbling? That person who went the extra mile when you were in need? That person in your network who gave you your career break?
Now that you have someone in mind, it’s time to let that person know how much you appreciate them. This isn’t a fake thank you. A fake thank you would be, “Hey, Doug, Thanks for doing ‘X’ for me. Now, can you help me with something else?” It isn’t sincere, and you can see through this. True appreciation doesn’t expect reciprocity or isn’t used for gain of additional favors. That would be an action of a taker, an insincere thanks.
Power Thank You
So then, if we do want to thank someone, how do we go about it? A power thank you is a sincere targeted thank you expecting no reciprocity. What makes up a power thank you?
According to Mark Goulston, author of the book, Just Listen, a power thank you includes four critical parts:
1. Be specific. The thank you must include something specific the person did for you. Example: Thank you for providing me with guidance that pushed my career forward, thank you for always sticking by me, thank you for calling me on my BS.
2. Mention the person’s effort. Acknowledge the effort it took for the person to help you. Example: You went out of your way to finish this project on the weekend.
3. Demonstrate their impact. Tell the person the difference the act made on you. Example: They helped you solve a challenging problem. They cleared your head so you could make the right decision.
4. Be honest and vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with this person and explain the magnitude of their impact. The significance of a power thank you is multiplied by your raw honesty. If you were struggling before the person helped you, mention that. This person needs to hear that their work has made a difference in your life.
Tip: If you owe someone a power thank you for something they did at work, make sure to CC their manager in the email so their team is aware of their great work. A shared thank you note has a multiplying effect on your thank you note and prevents the person’s hard work from being forgotten by their organization.
Not only will the person you’re thanking feel better about himself for receiving a nice thank you note, but according to The Journal of Happiness Studies, you will benefit from a feeling of gratitude that leads to higher life satisfaction, social integration, and lower rates of depression.
Thank you for spending these last ten days with me. You had a lot on your plate, yet you made the time to take this class. I truly appreciate it.
Thank you to my friends who survived reading all my terrible draft versions of this document. I truly appreciate all your excellent advice!
This was the first course I created for Highbrow and I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know what you think by sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to learn more about having better conversations, please take my newest class Mastering Your Conversations. In this class you’ll learn how to improve your conversations via experimentation, become aware of the hidden signals of communication, overcome your fear of speaking to new or powerful people by using conversation hooks, turn an argument into a friendship, get your point across during a tough conversation, and much more!
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