The other day I handed a gift to a 7 year old and he promptly told me he didn’t like what I gave him, and then went on to explain what I should have given him instead. Even though I was taken aback by his poor manners and lack of gratitude, I couldn’t help but smile at his forthrightness about what he DID want. I surely wasn’t raised this way. I was taught to take the gift, smile and be thankful I got anything at all… even if I’d never use it. Then we had to remember to pull it out when that family member came to visit – too many awkward moments were created as a result.
Which method is the best?
I believe a combination of the two. We can be grateful that someone took the time and thought to give us a gift but we can also, in a polite and considerate way, explain what our needs are. What better way to practice the art of communication then around the Christmas tree, or at any other holiday that involves potentially awkward gift giving & receiving?
Isn’t that what we do in business? Politely explaining what works for our business and what doesn’t? Somehow it’s easier when it doesn’t involve hurting a loved ones feelings, but think how much more improved our communication skills would be if we learned to communicate with Grandma about that sweater she knit -in a way that showed we loved and appreciated her. If we had, maybe we would have gotten one we’d be happy to wear the following year.
The secret to this is year round gratitude. If Grandma felt secure and confident in our love, she’d realize not liking her gift wasn’t a reflection of our love for her.
I have one client who for years has sent a picture and a note of gratitude for services rendered with my check EVERY month. I feel valued and appreciated by her. I know she doesn’t have to do that for me, we would complete her work regardless, but her notes fill me with joy and love for her.
This season, extend gratitude beyond the family and into all aspects of life, including your business. I’ll be thinking how I can let my clients and team know how much I value them. Each and every one is a star that brightens my life 365 days of the year.
Thank you for your business, kindness, friendship, time, and generosity. Have a wonderful holiday season and I hope you continue to carry the warmth and love with you throughout the new year.