Warning: non-technical post ahead!
I wanted to take a moment and relate a simple story to you. I was driving this evening and was stopping at a light where I saw a car pulling up to the road from an adjacent McDonald’s. In other words, they were obviously about to pull out in roughly the same place I would be stopping at the light. I stopped short to give them room to pull out ahead of me when the light turned green (the car in front of me was a little too far back for them to pull out at the moment).
As we waited for the light to turn green, the driver side window rolled down. There was an older lady driving and she didn’t look at me or mouth any words. I didn’t really know what she was doing. The light turned green and she pulled out ahead of me, but as she did, she waved to me and mouthed “thank you.”
It was dark enough so perhaps I couldn’t have seen her with her window rolled up. And to be honest, I wouldn’t have cared if she didn’t do anything at all. But, she took action to ensure that I understood she was thankful for my small gesture. In other words, it wasn’t good enough for her to be thankful, she was deliberately thankful – she wanted to make sure that I read her loud and clear.
In the tech world, and in our daily lives in general, I think we miss this a lot. We (some of us, at least) tell people thanks a lot for a variety of things, but do we really go out of our way to make sure that people receive our message to the degree with which we intend it? Write a letter instead of an email. Make a visit instead of a phone call. Call people out in front of others for the good works that they do for you, and lift them up around you. People should know that you appreciate them even when their contributions are small. A person shouldn’t need to save my life to get a thank you letter from me.
I have personally and professionally been helped by a hundred people in a thousand different ways. I know I can do better and will strive for this. I would encourage you to do the same – seek opportunities to be deliberately thankful to those around you.