My Dear Ivy,
I’ve written a great deal here about reaching out to others to help you expand your horizons – seeking advice, asking for help, and learning whatever you can, wherever you can, from whomever you can.
One thing I want to make sure to remind you to do, is to thank them for it.
A little word of gratitude can go a long way in forging a connection to someone. You may feel grateful for all that someone has done for you, but if that’s the case, be sure to let them know it. I promise, it matters. A brief word of gratitude can brighten someone’s day, but it can also have lasting impact in forging a personal or professional connection that will benefit both of you down the road.
One of the best pieces of professional advice I ever got was: “Never burn bridges.” The point of that word of wisdom was simple – if you burn your bridges with someone, you may encounter them again later. And when you do, they may be in the position to impact your career.
This is sort of the flip side of that advice. I don’t merely want you to not burn bridges. I want you to build them! Taking the time to offer a kind word to someone who has been there for you when you needed them, can go a long way toward forging lasting relationships – and that’s true not just in the workplace, but throughout life in general.
I’ve had many mentors throughout my life – both personal and professional. I’ve tried to remember to thank them, especially when their advice or assistance impacted me in a particularly meaningful way. I’m sure I haven’t always succeeded in catching everyone, but it’s just generally a good habit to cultivate. Because, just as with burning bridges, you may see these people again later.
And it’s not just about what they can do for you. Being kind to others, remembering to share a kind word with those who impact your life, is another way of showing that you value people . . . not just the things they do. It’s another way of forging stronger connections and relationships that can be profoundly beneficial, not just because of what the person can offer you, but because relationships of this sort – personal as well as professional – are intrinsically valuable for their own sake. They simply make the worlds we live and work in a more pleasant place to exist.
We could all do with a lot more of that.
It’s also not just about your relationships with others.cultivating a sense of gratitude can also have a profound impact on you, as well. It prompts you to think about what you have, rather than what you want, and to be content rather than anxious. Stressing about what you don’t have – what isn’t as you want it to be – is easy. Cultivating thankfulness for what you do have is harder, but it will make life more pleasant in the long run.
As for me, one of the things I’m most grateful for, in my whole life, is you. I’m so lucky to have you, and your brother, and your sister, and your mom in my life. I’m so incredibly grateful to each of you for the love you give to me. So to close out this letter I want to thank you. Thank you for the squeals and hugs you give me every time I walk in the door after work. Thank you for the snuggles, the kisses, the crawling up into my lap at a moment’s notice to read your favorite “boop.” You have no idea what it means to me – and you probably won’t, until you become a parent yourself one day.
Thank you, for you.
I love you.