Here’s a fun fact: World Gratitude Day is on September 21. It dates back to 1965 when the United Nations Meditation Group recognized it as a day to express appreciation for the positive things that individuals and groups do around the world.
With thousands of daily distractions competing for our attention, it’s calming to take a deep breath and take stock of the things we have to be grateful for…even if they are quite basic. A few weeks ago, I asked an older gentleman how he was doing. He replied: “Great! Every day that I check the obituary pages and see that I’m not there, I’ve got something to celebrate!”
The writer Gertrude Stein said, “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” World Gratitude Day is an opportunity to tell your family and friends how much you love them and how much they matter. It shouldn’t stop there, however.
Don’t neglect to express gratitude for the people who fuel your professional success. A personal touch is best, yet technology has evolved to make it easy to share gratitude in meaningful ways. Here are three simple ways to do so using LinkedIn, the world’s largest online professional network with 225 million members in over 200 countries.
Connect with Gratitude
When you invite others to connect with you on LinkedIn or reply to connection requests, do you demonstrate gratitude? Of the last 100+ connection requests I’ve received in the past few months, only five contained personal messages. The rest used LinkedIn’s default language: “I’d like to add you to my professional network.” This is the digital equivalent of “Dear Occupant.”
It only takes a minute or two to tell somebody why you value them before inviting them to connect with you on LinkedIn. You’ll stand out because few people bother to take this extra step. In the process, you’ll build relationship capital. Similarly, when you get an invitation to connect, thank the sender and tell him or her why you value them. Just a few words can fuel better relationships.
If I can’t think of something positive to say about a person, I don’t make or accept an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. If a person I don’t know invites me to connect and sounds interesting, I’ll try to arrange a meeting either face-to-face or over the phone. I want my LinkedIn network to consist of people I can recommend to others with confidence.
Pick one person in your LinkedIn network whom you respect and write an unsolicited recommendation for that individual. It only takes five to ten minutes to write a personal, one-paragraph recommendation. This small act will make you feel better and spark conversations. Soon, you’ll be writing spontaneous recommendations on a regular basis.
I’ve received heartfelt messages and calls of thanks from the recipients of my spontaneous recommendations. This action will not only help you build stronger professional relationships but also inspire people to write recommendations for you. Truly, givers gain.
Find Opportunities for Praise
The default setting on your LinkedIn account means that you get a weekly update on what’s happening with people in your network. Don’t just scan this message quickly or delete it without paying attention. Instead, take a longer look. You might be surprised to see what’s happening professionally with the people you know: new jobs, promotions, articles published, awards received, etc.
Send a note in the mail to compliment their achievements. Pick up the phone to convey your congratulations. Invite that person out to coffee or lunch to celebrate. All of these actions resonate in ways that electronic messages don’t.
Like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, World Gratitude Day gives us an opportunity to thank those who are important to us. To be truly mindful of how strong relationships allow us to thrive, we should practice active gratitude on a daily basis.