Today, we’re very busy. Each of us has a hundred tasks to look after. We’re inundated with messages and phone calls, interviews and invoices.
Each of us has an overwhelming project to complete this week or next. Another deadline. A series of important meetings. An inbox full of emails that must be answered. More bills to pay or errands to run. Never enough time. Each of us is subject to the enormous strain of work, life and everything in between.
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in what we’re doing that we forget to take time to acknowledge the people who support us and our endeavors. The more we fail to express our gratitude, the more we take for granted those around us. By sacrificing the simple courtesy of thanking someone for their time or energy, for sharing their thoughts, for completing a task whether great or small, for offering support during a difficult time, or for just being a fantastic human in the world, we sacrifice much more in the long run. We risk weakening relationships, disengaging our community—or simply failing to make an impression.
Here are a few ways you can step up your gratitude game.
Make a List
Every week or so, the Ei team sits down and creates a list of individuals or organizations we’d like to thank. Did someone take the time to talk about the possibility of a workshop with us? Have we shared an interesting conversation about collaboration with a new friend? Did we gain a sponsor? Are we welcoming a host to our ranks or just thanking a current host for being a part of our community? Even if nothing solid has developed from these interactions, it’s important to acknowledge someone for their time or thoughts. By doing so, you build respect and strengthen your community. You become a more thoughtful person.
Who are you grateful to this week? Who are you grateful to this month? How about in the past year? Did you write your parents? Your mentors? Your best friend? They count, too.
Write by Hand
One of our values as a company is: take care of people with excellence. What this translates to is cultivating mindfulness for your friends, colleagues, and community at large. In a pinch, it’s easy to send an email expressing thanks for a job well done. But there is real value — thoughtfulness, attention to detail, authenticity — in writing a note by hand on your own stationery. Find out addresses, hold onto business cards, keep track of your interactions. In your hand, send a personal, tangible note of thanks.
You might be surprised by the positivity this simple action can inspire. Besides, who doesn’t love receiving real mail nowadays?
Although a thank you card is typically welcome no matter when it arrives, general etiquette suggests that the best time to send thanks is within two weeks of the event or interaction to which you’re referring. Promptness communicates diligence. It shows that you are paying attention and that saying thank you is important to you. The recipient knows that they’re a priority.
In a New York Times article titled The Found Art of Thank You Notes, New York fashion publicist Cristiano Magni says, “It is so important, in a digital world, to have the dignity to sit down and write something in your own hand.” He goes on to emphasize: “It not only strengthens the bonds between people, in your personal life and in business, it also rings an emotional chord.”
If we incorporate saying thank you as a part of our routine, we encourage not only our community, but our own personal and professional growth. We touch base, reflect, and keep grounded, cultivating a sense of awe at the generosity around us while simultaneously upholding a cherished custom.
As we wrap up this year, we’re more grateful than ever to have the ingenuity and imagination of our students, as well as the generous support of the Ei community. Moving forward, you’ll hear from us about the final weeks of student apprenticeships, the exciting 10-day sprint to design EXPO, our first-ever graduation celebration, and the introduction of 12 new students this fall for another year of learning and discovery.