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  • Ken Clark

How To Say “Thank You” In A Way They’ll Never Forget


The Thanks A Billion Project was born out of a personal moment that I knew would impact the world if we could replicate it. It was a moment where I was overcome with a sense of thankfulness for a mentor in my life, took 30 seconds to send a text telling him about it and later that night had the gratitude bounce back to me through that person also telling me how valuable I was to them.

All in all, it amounted to about 90 seconds of time to think of this person, send a message and later read their message back, but its impact on me was profound and lasted for days. My fear and anxiety (this was in the early days of the COVID-19 crisis) momentarily melted away. My ability to dream and be creative about the solutions needed for my business and family returned. My hope for all that is possible, instead of what could possibly happen to me, flourished.

Just like someone who drags themselves to the gym early in the morning and then spends the rest of the day feeling so glad they went, I thought, “why don’t we do more of this as humans? It was so easy and felt amazing!”

The answer is two fold – both of which the Thanks A Billion Project was created to help. First, life moves so fast for most of us that the idea of stopping and creating the space to be grateful can be a tall order to fill. That’s why we created our 30-day video challenge with a variety of different 1-2 minute gratitude prompts to help you think through the people in your life that deserve a thank you.

But we knew that time wasn’t the only factor holding a lot of people back. We also recognized that many of us don’t know how to say thank you effectively, in a concise, meaningful way that we can feel confident about. Many of us don’t know how to say thank you without tripping over our words or blabbing on in awkward ways. Most of us were never shown or taught how to say thank you in a way that feels awesome to hear without putting the person on the spot or making a scene.

How To Say Thank You In A Way They’ll Never Forget

First off, let’s be completely clear. The only bad thank you is the one that remains unsaid. It doesn’t matter if you mix up your words, forget to mention something or tell them at the wrong time. Thank you’s are oxygen for our souls and they’re never wasted. I can guarantee you that they’re too busy feeling special to worry about whether or not you said it right.

But, if you want to learn how to say thank you in a way that leaves a lasting impact, especially if it is a thank you that others will hear or that is meant to honor someone, you’ll want to include three key elements. Any of these by themselves would feel wonderful to hear, but all three of them combined will result in a moment that will be remembered for the rest of someone’s life.

First, you need to let them know what made you think of them. That helps soften the “out of the blue” nature of the text, email or hug that just came their way. You might say something like, “Your picture popped up in my Facebook feed,” or “I was telling my kid about my middle school experience and thought of you.” Being thought of, by itself, is a wonderful thing. To know that we exist in a positive, sentimental way in someone else’s mind is touching.

Next, we need to let them know what it is that we’re actually thankful for once they crossed our minds. We might let them know that the old picture that popped up reminded us of how much fun we had on that trip at a time where you needed some distraction, or how they included you in middle school when no one else would even look your way.

Lastly, we need to let them know who that remembered moment of gratitude makes them to us, our family, etc. This is the cherry on top of the thank you, because it most clearly communicates their value to you. This is the moment where you put a label of affection on them and tell them something like, “and that’s why I’m lucky to have you as a friend,” or “I don’t know where I’d be without a mentor like you.”

That’s it. That’s how to say thank you in a way that will let them know that they’re not alone and that they matter.

Just make sure you’re prepared for the consequences… the moment where they tell you or someone else, about your or their value as well. It’s the pay it forward, exponential moment of the Thanks A Billion Project. It’s the gratitude boomerang, the appreciation avalanche, the domino effect of saying “thank you” that we think can change the world.

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