After each Christmas or Birthday, one of the things I had to do growing up was sit at the kitchen table and write thank you notes. This was a non-negotiable to my mom (#mamatong), and when you’re in 2nd grade, the time it took to write each note seemed like an eternity (sometimes it was).
Nevertheless, I am glad that my mom instilled this habit in me; it’s turned out to help me in my career.
One of my favorite professors from my MBA program shared my mother’s belief on writing thank you notes. He even took it one step further with my classmates and I, and instilled a brand new habit in us, suitable for the professional world. He advised us to always travel with thank you notes and stamps.
I travel a lot, so this really resonated with me. Now, every time I board a flight, I get myself set up to write, address and stamp at least 2 – 3 notes. My notes go to friends, family, colleagues, mentors, or just people that went out of their way for me.
I realize that it’s easier to just send an email thanking someone – it’s expected. And that’s exactly why I choose the hand-written approach. Think about when you receive a hand-written thank you note or card in the mail – it has a little more meaning. That individual went to a store bought cards, stamps, got your address, and took the time to send you a note in the mail. A lot of effort goes into it, more than we think.
A lot of effort goes into our relationships too, which is why it’s important for me to go out of my way to send a personal thank you note.
I recently read an article that came over from the MUSE (great career website) on nine holiday cards that you need to send to your network and why. I was proud of myself because I had already done eight out of the nine recommendations – why?
I’m incredibly grateful to be a part of the outdoor active lifestyle industries. The people I get to work with are so special and so talented. These are the people who have gone out of their way to recommended me for promotions, industry speaking panels and awards. I sometimes feel like I’ve built a Katie Hawkins Fan Club – and I never take that for granted.
Here’s the thing. … No one owes us anything in life. I believe we all need to work for the success we create and for the people who go out of their normal routine to help with that? To me, that’s very special. Get into the habit of sending personal thank you notes. Believe me, it will lift their day and also help you in the future – promise.
One of my most treasured thank you notes I received was from the former CEO and founder of Black Diamond Equipment, Peter Metcalf. I was working on a Saturday and had passed by my mailbox and noticed the card in there. At the time, I was stressed out. It was the last few weeks of the quarter, we were behind on getting shipments out from our factories, and I was pretty pissed – it had snowed 10” that day. But then I opened letter and read his kind words. He thanked me for all my contributions to the sales team, positive energy, and also congratulating me on being awarded the First Ascent Award by the Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition in 2013. To some this might not be a big deal, but it was to me and I will always hold on to this one. For sure it was an unexpected note to receive, but also perfect timing to bandaid working on a Saturday and a powder day in the Wasatch.
So, key takeaways – purchase some thank you notes, stamps, and always have a few addresses handy. You never know how this little gesture, could go so FAR!