I Said Thank You

Welcome to the #justsaythankyou Movement

I had a presentation at a client board meeting recently and after my presentation, the board was so appreciative of the insight and work I had done on developing a capacity building plan for them they gave me a standing ovation. Yep, they got to their feet and applauded the work that I saw as extremely basic, the basic . . “your funding model is heavily weighted to government funding, you need to change it so let’s increase fees for service, individual giving and program income. . .here’s how and where” . . .that’s pretty much it, but they were appreciative of the work and let me know, and this weekend I said THANK YOU. What an idea to just say thank you, but as women and especially as black women we tend to not be receptive to accolades and appreciation and will almost give excuses as to why people shouldn’t thank us and recognize our expertise. (Please note the excuses given in sentence #2) Well, I’m here to announce and bring you along to the “I’m Worth the Accolade” movement or even better “Just Say Thank You” #justsaythankyou.

You may be reading this and saying to yourself “I say thank you all the time” and about to stop reading this blog, but hold on, I want you to take a test.  Just a few questions to see if you get a chance to participate in the #justsaythankyou movement or pass it along to someone you know would benefit from participation. Here goes, answer the following questions:

  • A friend of yours comes up to you and says what a cute dress you have on and you are looking just fabulous today. You purchased the dress from Target (pronounced TARJAY) six months ago, on sale and got it for $5.00. You answer your friend:
  1. Girl, this, I got it at Target for $5.00 off the clearance rack and just couldn’t leave it.
  2. This old thing, it’s just something I threw on because I didn’t have to iron it. I woke up late and just couldn’t.
  3. My $5.00 find, you know I’m all about a good find.
  4. Thank you, I AM CUTE
  • You just got your hair cut. It’s new and different, new layers, a little color and fresh and clean from the stylist. You go hang out with friends soon after your appointment and a friend says “that hair cut makes you look younger, fresher and just cute.” You respond:
    1. Nothing at all and just smile
    2. Girl, I needed something new, it’s hot and I just wanted a break from the heat.
    3. It was about time, I haven’t had my hair cut in about two years. My stylist did a great job, I just love going to her.
  • At work, you’ve been leading an employee task force on organizational culture. The team is made up of representatives from all 15 departments of the organization and spans the four generations working for the company. The Task Force does a presentation at an all hands on deck company meeting with recommendations on opportunities for improving culture. The presentation is well received by everyone. Your supervisor approaches you and says what a great job the team did in developing the recommendations. You respond:
    1. It was a great team effort, everyone put In so much hard work. I am thankful for what everyone brought to the table.
    2. It really was so much fun working on culture for our company, it could not have been done without leadership seeing that we needed to address these issues.
    3. It was a good presentation.
    4. Thank you. It was hard work, but my leadership experience gave me the opportunity to organize a team that could deliver the great work you saw today.
  • You are serving as the secretary to your child’s school’s PTA. For three years you’ve organized the newsletter submissions, managed the volunteer hours for ALL parent volunteers, take minutes at all executive team meetings, organize the sign-in for all PTA meetings, sent meeting reminders to the full PTA, sent reminders for the PTA President of all of her deliverables, and volunteered at school events. At the conclusion of your time as Secretary, the principal of the school says what a great job you’ve done and no one will be able to fill your shoes. Your respond:
    1. It was the [enter a position name here] that did all the hard work, I just followed their lead.
    2. It’s just in my nature to be organized, plus its all about the kids.
    3. I’m glad we were all able to do such a great job.
    4. Thank you.

How’d you do? Did you get a 100? You said thank you in all the scenarios? Okay, maybe a 75 (3 out of four)? Less than 75%, I’m talking to you, it’s time for you to say thank you.

Let’s go back to where I started, the Board meeting. In my previous life (about 60 days ago), I would have said it wasn’t a big deal, this is work I love so I’m glad to help the organization, you all did the hard work in all of the meetings gathering the info needed to get to the plan . . .the list goes on, but I’m learning that I am an expert, bring a background and experience to the table that delivers excellence and am worth receiving accolades or recognition for the work I deliver. Guess what, so do you.

I am reading and re-reading the book “How Women Rise” and there is a discussion on a challenge that we as women have in just saying thank you.  The authors speak about how women tend to not accept compliments or acknowledgments well because we equate it with being egotistical, or it just being a part of the work. Ummm, no to both. There is nothing wrong with receiving recognition for work you’ve gone above and beyond on and delivered excellent solutions, opportunities or just new thought leadership to an issue.

So I invite you to #justsaythankyou. As women, we have a hard time receiving and acknowledging our accolades, but we need to and I want to give you ONE STEP to healing – our first step, JUST SAY THANK YOU. In all situations, a simple thank you will suffice and in future situations, you will be able to say thank you and acknowledge your excellence in a non-egotistical response that allows others to not only celebrate you but in the workforce acknowledge your hard work through promotion, salary increase or professional growth opportunities.

In my coaching practice, I work with women to take this first step in simple places and then progress onto harder situations. So, your first step, the next time someone compliments the dress you got on clearance at Nordstrom Rack, just say thank you and smile. You’ll be amazed at how non-egotistical you will feel as you start to do it more and more and how you’ll start to notice so many areas where a simple appreciation for yourself suffices.

You are invited and welcome to the #justsaythankyou movement.   Thank you.

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