What’s so great about dogs? We are experts at appreciation! Notice that I used the word appreciation, and not gratitude.
Humans tend to lump gratitude and appreciation together, but a dog will tell you that there is a difference. Think of it this way: Appreciation is gratitude in action. It’s something you feel from the tip of your tongue to the end of your tail.
Personally, I show my appreciation by doing the famous boxer “kidney bean” dance. That’s when I curl my body into a half-moon and wiggle my stub tail while dancing sideways across the floor like a crab. It’s my own silly way of showing appreciation for even the most basic things in life—shelter, food, water and belly rubs. Oh yes, and cheese. I love cheese.
Admittedly, the boxer kidney bean dance isn’t appropriate for most people. But if someone does something nice for you, you should acknowledge their effort and express your appreciation in a genuine way. This sounds obvious, but I’ve observed enough human behavior to know that this sort of personal and professional consideration is surprisingly rare.
So what should you do? Phone calls and personal visits are nice, but nothing beats a good old-fashioned thank you note. And while an electronic “thank you” is better than nothing at all, I can tell you from experience that humans go ga-ga when they find a nice, personal handwritten letter waiting for them in their mailboxes.
Yet as much as humans love getting thank you notes, few bother to send them out themselves. That’s a shame—for the price of a greeting card and a first-class stamp, you can automatically differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack.
My advice is to set aside a time each week to write a few notes of appreciation. You don’t have to write an essay, either. Just a few well-written and heartfelt lines to let someone know you are thinking about them and that they are not just a bunch of bits and bytes in your contact management system.
(Visit SendOutCards and learn how to use the click of a mouse to send out personalized greeting cards with your own photos, messages, and even your own handwriting font! Better yet, click on “Contact Me” in the upper left-hand corner to get set up with a free account where you can try it yourself!)
Everyone wants to feel like they are making a difference, and it doesn’t take much to acknowledge other people’s efforts and actions.
How about putting your paws to paper and writing your own note today?