Be thankful then fully acknowledge

thank you card

Today in this “pause” period between Christmas and New Year, some thoughts on the power of telling people what they mean to you and of doing that with full acknowledgement and recognition, more than a “thank you”.

Three thoughts and stories for you on saying thank you with full acknowledgement.

Stop and be Grateful 

Two days ago, for Christmas Day I wrote “Happiness and Gratitude“. In this post, I shared David Steindl-Rast’s talk on Gratitude and his advice on how to be grateful in any moment and through life. He took us back to the advice given to children when crossing a road. “Stop. Look. Go”. Of these, he noted, focus on “Stop”.

Stop. Take time, look around. Look up, perhaps. See the beauty of the world around you.

When we send a thank you card, we are stopping, we are taking time to honour that person and their gift to us.

By stopping, we connect to what we are grateful for.

Connect to what you are thankful for

Now, imagine you write a handwritten card to say thank you, whether that be for a gift, an action, a service they have given you or others.

What do you say in it? Is it simply “thank you” or do you express something that truly shows your gratitude and connection to what that person has given you?

On Christmas Day I was with family and one family member has always taken lots of time to write handwritten thank you cards and I actually have a collection they have given me over the years. I don’t keep any other thank you cards, but these have so much put into them that I feel to keep them.

Each one has connection within it.

Give full acknowledgement

Continuing on the theme of cards for a moment, as I came to the holiday season I was, as you can likely tell from my writing of late, full of gratitude in many ways. I, therefore, took time to write a number of Christmas Cards to people I would be seeing at gatherings. In each one, I wrote something heartfelt and specific to them and my gratitude to who they have been for me in the past year and more.

Now, some months ago I wrote a post called “Power of Acknowledgement“. In that post, I referenced a special gift my friend Maeve Gillies gave me as a thank you for my support to her. You can see that gift in the stock photos on this site. It is the lapel pin on my jacket of my logo, which is the monogram of my initials. I absolutely treasure that gift.

Also in that post, I reference a marvellous piece by Tom Peters called simply Acknowledgement, with so many examples of expressions of acknowledgement.

What I feel is consistent about really effective acknowledgements is that they come from taking time to pause, to “stop”, and to consider what one is truly thankful for, then express it fully in acknowledgement, whether that be in words, in a gift, or simply with your presence.

Finally then, taking this into a leadership space. earlier this year I had the privilege of teaming with a client to design, plan and lead a two-day annual meeting for their global leadership team, with a total of nine people present. This group all know each other yet only meet in person like this once per year.

In designing the event, knowing there would be the typical update from each person on their area of business to take up the first half day, we decided that, in introducing each person to give their presentation, their leader would acknowledge them for something that they had been involved in over the last year.

It was truly amazing to behold. That leader really took time to pause and find a key moment for each person, and in several cases, they had not actually spoken to them about it to say thank you earlier in the year. In a few cases, the person acknowledged did not even know that their leader knew what they had done. The acknowledgements were fulsome, thorough, genuine and heartfelt. Each one had the recipient know they were cared for. Collectively they were an expression not only of the leader but of the values of the business being truly lived.


  1. Stop and be grateful
  2. Connect to what you are thankful for
  3. Give full acknowledgement

Also published on Medium.

Thank you for visiting my website

People are my library, my daily writing a way to discover what’s in it: ideas, inspiration, wisdom, and a little fun. As your humble librarian, I invite you to subscribe to check out a digest of daily emails emailed twice each week. No late fees, ever.