When Was The Last Time You Said THANK YOU?

IMG_9751

Here I am with the staff at La Casa Que Canta Sanctuary saying thanks with big contagious smiles 🙂

Thank you. A phrase so simple, yet so powerful, that it can transform both your business and personal relationships.

When was the last time you said “Thank You” to someone and really meant it? I mean a real, genuine, authentic thank you that comes from your heart and not just causally saying it? Can you recall?

If Words of Affirmation is not your main love language then you might want to express your thank you in a little gift with a sweet note attached. To be honest, I do get thank yous from people in a text or email, or through gifts, but my top love languages are Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch. That is why it means a lot more to me when someone writes me a handwritten letter, tells me in person, or speaks to me over the phone. To me these are much more meaningful ways to express your appreciation to the person you are giving thanks to.

Do you have people in your life who have gone above and beyond for you? Who believed in you when no one else did? Who stood beside you as your strength during hard times? Who raised you up when you were down? Who were always there for you when you needed them? I am sure you have these people in your life at work and at home.

So here is my suggestion: write down three people who have made a big difference in your life in the past year and reach out to genuinely thank them. I would suggest doing so in person, by phone or by writing a letter, as in hand writing a letter – no texting and no emailing. Below are some tips if you need help:

  1. Ask the person first to see when they have some time to talk to you.
  2. Make sure to set the mood and tone, and free your mind of other distractions.
  3. Be clear and be specific when you are expressing yourself.
  4. Make sure that if you are speaking to them in person that you look them in the eye when talking to them.
  5. Be authentic and be yourself even if you are nervous. The other person may think it is quite endearing how genuine you are and will see that you are taking it very seriously.
  6. Lastly, make sure when you end the conversation – if in person – to do so with affection, like a hug or a kiss – depending on your relationship to that person! If it’s by phone, then a final “thank you” in a sweet tone, like you really mean it, will do.  If you are writing a letter, then make sure to include your most honest thoughts and not just a few lines, and be sure to share the reasons why you are thanking them and how they have helped you.

Three Life Principles Not To Live By…

photoWant some advice on how to make your life easier?  Then do not apply the three common life principles listed below!

Sure, you might hear these phrases repeated over and over by your friends and family, but honestly they may actually do more harm in your life than good.  Below are some useful advice from Steven Gaffney‘s perspectives on these principles and why he believes they don’t always work.  My own thoughts are shared in italics.  If you’re ready to change your life for the better, then read on to learn more.

Principle 1: Live in the Present
It is good to enjoy the moment, and I do live by this principle – to an extent. For instance, if I’m spending the day with family or friends, I try to focus on them rather than obsessing over business while I pretend to listen to them. In that way, living in the present is great advice. But the trouble is that this principle of living in the moment doesn’t always offer the right perspective. How can it possibly help you make effective business decisions, career decisions, financial decisions, or family decisions? Those decisions require long- term thinking. I love McDonald’s – in the moment. But afterwards McDonald’s doesn’t make me feel so good. Living in the moment is important, but it can make us shortsighted.  I think this is true.  When I was young, I used to live by this principle only, but now I enjoy the present, but plan for the future. And as a result I am much more strategic with my life and business, which has helped ground me.

Principle 2: Treat others the way you want to be treated
The Golden Rule. Hard to argue with, isn’t it? The trouble is that we are profoundly different from one another. Treating people the way you want to be treated often only works with people who are like you. Suppose you’re a meat lover and you’re having a family of vegetarians over for dinner. Should you serve them meat? Of course not ! Life demands that we develop greater flexibility than this principle suggests. The best leaders and managers I know have expanded their capabilities and developed the muscles to adjust to other people’s styles and personalities.  Absolutely true, have you heard of the book The Five Love Languages?  I have learned to understand the love languages of those around me and close to me.  I find that it is very effective and I am able to empower and influence others more easily.

Principle 3: Treat others the way they want to be treated
This sounds kind and loving, but sometimes what people say they want is not what’s best for them. If your friend is an alcoholic and he says he wants a drink, should you give it to him? Or, to be less extreme, think about people who say they want honest feedback but in the next breath tell you that they only want feedback in a particular area or in a certain way. As I discuss in my seminars and coaching sessions, when people set conditions for honesty, it limits honesty because others will use those conditions as a reason not to be truthful. The result is missed opportunities for growth. This may be the way these people want to be treated, but that doesn’t make it the best. This assessment got me thinking about what makes a good guiding life principle. It didn’t take me long to realize that for years I’d been observing a valuable life principle in action, but simply hadn’t realized the power it could have for me.  I am not sure if I agree with this one, but it does make some sense. Your thoughts?

Well, what do you think? Do you agree? If not, I would love to hear your comments. If you would like to read the rest of this, click here for the full article. Stay tuned for Sunday’s post that I will share with you about colors and how they can make a difference in your life. Until then.

~tu-anh

What Is Your #1 Love Language?

The 5 Love LanguagesWant to know how to make someone close to you feel loved?  All you have to do is know what to say, how to say it, and when to say it, and to do just the right thing. Sounds so simple, but not easy to do.

One of my favorite discoveries years ago is the book “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.  Although this is written for couples, but you can apply it at work with your bosses, your employees, your peers, your customers, your friends, and your family, including with children.  I have also used the book as a guide to help me motivate some of my design students that were under-performing to improve their grades and the quality of their work.  I miss teaching and mentoring so much that I will be adding the design programs back into my business this year.

This book also helped me to have better relationships with my parents and family members,too! My mother’s main love language is words of affirmation and my father’s is acts of service. So you can imagine that my parents have had a lot of misunderstandings over the years because of they have different love languages. But I proudly say, that is over now; they are in a completely different stage, one full of honest communication, love, understanding, and patience.

Since Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day are around the corner, why not give a gift to yourself by learning your own love language?  Then reach out to someone you care about and learn theirs.  I know for sure you will take that relationship to a transformational level.  I gave this book years ago as a Christmas gift to my family members that were in committed relationships.  My sisters and their spouses did the assessment in the book and shared with me that it really helped them understand each other better and brought them even more closer to each other.

Love to hear what your love language is!  Enjoy the short video of Gary Chapman explaining it below (ignore the production values of the video – just pay attention to his words) 🙂