Work/Life Effectiveness

Gratitude Is Not Just for Thanksgiving – It Enhances Your Career, Too

Over the span of her 25-year career, Diane Fennig had one exceptional boss. His name was Fred, “a small Italian man who could say ‘ciao’ like nobody else,” she said. She worked for Fred for 12 years before moving on to a new role. Then one day, she heard that Fred was sick and approaching the end of his life. “I took a minute to write a note to Fred to say my final ‘ciao’ to him,” she said. She later learned that one of his family members read it to him before he died.

“I got to say my final goodbye to a man who made a huge difference in my career,” she said.

Fennig has spent over two decades cultivating a professional and personal life of gratitude. In Forté’s Women Lead webinar in November, Fennig shared how thanking others can further your career and “unlock the fullness of life” – whether it’s a simple thank you note or an unsolicited review on LinkedIn.

As an executive search consultant at Human Capital Group, Fennig frequently contacts career candidates’ former bosses, who often compliment their former employees’ work. A show of thanks doesn’t have to cost you money or be a grand public display. It can be a homemade gift card or a handwritten note given at an unexpected time. However you choose to show your gratitude, it’s most important to let the person know why you are thankful.

“The core of the perfect thank you is acknowledging what you’ve seen them do,” Fennig said. “And helping them understand what exactly they did to get you thinking, ‘I really, really appreciate that.’”

As an example, she spoke about a friend who keeps notecards in her pocket so that she can write small notes to friends and family in her idle time. “At the oddest times of the year, whenever she’s thinking about you, you will get a handwritten note from her,” Fennig said.

This has all the elements of a genuine thank you: It’s meaningful, personable and unexpected.

These displays of gratitude can easily transition to the workplace. She stressed the power of LinkedIn – writing a surprise reference or sharing an article authored by a colleague can help bring “a light” to others. Fennig also emphasized that networking events are a great opportunity to champion others. Introducing someone to your management team in advance of an interview or referencing a person for a job are different ways to spotlight others in the workplace.

“It’s very important professionally that we are seen,” said Fennig, “but also that we help others be seen, too.”

Cultivating a life of thankfulness is an easy way to improve your life, both in the office and at home. “Hallmark says this is the season of thanks,” Fennig said. She believes there is no better time than now to recharge and reconnect with gratitude.

For additional tips and Fennig’s recommendations for videos, books and authors who further explore the benefits of a grateful life, listen to the webinar on demand.

A full library of previous Forté webinars are available to Premium Access Pass members. For $100/year, Access Pass members receive exclusive invitations to Women Lead webinars.  If your company is a Forté sponsor you may be entitled to free Access Pass.  Check our sponsors to see if your organization is involved.  Access Pass members also have exclusive use of the Forté Job Center; you can browse positions and post your resumé to be seen by leading companies seeking top talent.

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