Mind Your Manners and pass me the

March 7, 2015

Thanks for the cool bowl Cathie and the idea for this piece, Rich.

Someone told me yesterday that they “read my blog – religiously…” That makes TWO people…my Mom and them, I guess and maybe my lovely wife… What struck me about what they said, other than the fact that I was a tad bit uncomfortable with the euphemism, was that they SAID it. As in, said it, too my face. Not in a Tweet, not on Facebook, they took the time to hunt me down in my “other – work place”  and tell me that with good old fashioned words. I thanked them humbly and profusely – in person as well – and we went about our days.

The reason I “thanked” them, had less to do with the fact that they actually are one of my three followers and much, much more to do with the fact that they were acknowledging my efforts to do something positive in this world and that they said it. Rather than letting that moment slip away, forever lost, another opportunity to spread some kindness, in the discarded niceties pile of life, they chose to open their mouth and blurt out something that made me feel good.

It is so important to remember those “out loud” thank you’s in this day and age. I thank my team members everyday for their hard work. I thank my students everyday, they enrich my life much more than I could ever hope to enrich theirs. I thank our clients for choosing my company over the plethora of talented and “eager to serve” contractors in this town. The work they allow us to engage in, allows me to run a business that I have built from nothing and provides for the employees that I am responsible for helping make their own way in this world, making their truck payments, mortgage payments and putting food on their tables. I encourage our employees to “thank” each other for their efforts. Being part of a team comes easily when you feel valued and when your efforts are acknowledged. I thank our sub trades for their expertise, advice and top notch performance. Last night we hosted a dinner for all of our trades and team members as a “Mid -Winter” thank you for jobs well done. It was nice to thank so many people all in person.

You see all sorts of Facebook posts and such that have people listing the things they are grateful for on a daily basis, bravo. I applaud your efforts and sincerity in sharing your gratitude for those things in life many of us take for granted. I do however,  think that another great approach is to make sure you are voicing, who you are thankful to.  My friend Rich has one of those cool “FitBit” things that he was showing me. I mean, the thing is obviously working, the guy looks like a he could be a model for Frank and Oak and is walking and stepping like a champ! Bravo Rich! But, it got me to thinking…. How outta shape we can be sometimes, when it comes to…”manners.” You know, the “Please” and “Thank you” part of our fitness. Then I started thinking, maybe you could download an app that fit into your FitBit called the “T-Bit” ( obviously standing for….Thank bit…c’mon you three….follow along here…). Anyway, this “T-Bit” like the very popular “FitBit” could measure how many times you “thank” someone, in words in a day. Maybe there could be some kind of alarm on it if you are being a real jerk and have only said the words “thank” and “you” in succession, like 12 times or some other pathetic performance that could guilt you into not being so self centered? You could download your “performance” to your lap top where you could see what your “Personal Goals” were or even better – your “Personal Best!” Wouldn’t your day be a little different if everyone around you was obsessing over how many times they said “Please” or “Thank-you” as they were pacing around the office – walking in circles – trying to get their 10,000 steps in for the day!

I tried taping prototype “ThankBit” to my watch today that I could test out when I was at the St. Jacobs Farmers Market. It was awkward and inconvenient so I had to resort to simply counting in my head so I could track my new “Thank You’s” and possibly set a PB! The rules were simple. No thanking random people for no reason….that would be cheating….nope, the rule – someone does something you appreciate, you bust out those two words. Now, I am pretty big on “Thank-you’s” anyway, so I feel I was pretty “fit” for the task to begin with – eye contact and thank you was the order of the day.

I am happy to report that the results were all favourable. That lot at the Farmers Market is a pretty hard working happy-go-lucky bunch to begin with so they were an easy mark. One thing I did notice though, was that you didn’t have to listen all that hard to figure out that, while there were obviously a few people who were clearly onto to their own “Thank Bit” experiment there were a whole whack of the rest who, obviously had forgotten theirs at home.

My suggestion is simple, if you can’t afford your own “ThankBit” app…( no, you three, there isn’t really one!) try the words and track them in your head. It doesn’t matter if you loose track, keep going! You can set your own PB’s and see how much better it makes everyone’s day!

Thank you for reading. ( and when I see the three of you in person, I WILL say it as well…:)