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The Art of Being Gracious

How crazy was your day today? Reflect back on it with me for a moment... who were you in contact with? What services did you receive? Who touched your day? Who made a difference?


It's only 10:30am on a Sunday, and I've already had a strange day. I'm headed out of town to a conference, my flight was delayed (actually lucky for me because I slept in and cut it a little too close), there's construction at the airport, so finding my gate was a maze, the lineup at Starbucks was crazy, and I realized as I boarded the plane that I had neglected to call ahead to advise the flight staff of my food allergy.


And yet at every turn, I witnessed incredible service, patience, and attention beyond what's expected.


Who went over and above to help you today? Did you thank them?


I've actually made it my mandate to start thanking someone every day, its amazing the difference it makes. We frequently write scathing emails to criticize poor customer service, but what do we do when service is exceptional? Have we got to the point that we expect a certain level of service? Are we taking the kindness of others for granted?


And that's what concerns me. Have we forgotten the basic courtesy of being gracious? Are we too caught up in the hustle of our daily life, looking down at our phones, rushing from activity to activity, from task to task, that we've forgotten to look up from our phone when at the cashier as she rings in our groceries, thank the staff for placing our bags in our cart, thank the barista at Starbucks for "just the perfect" amount of foam on our latte?


In 2016, I was scouting locations for a conference for a client, I reached out to the convention bureau on one of the prospective locations, and was completely knocked off my feet buy their attention to detail. All I had to do was get the decision makers there, and the rep picked them up at the airport, made hotel reservations, arranged all meals, and provided tips and tricks to make our conference a success in that city. Three conferences later, three different cities, and not once did we receive a similar level of service. I emailed them this week, thinking back to the service they provided, and let them know how exceptional they were (shout out to the New Orleans Convention Bureau!)


I'm sitting on a flight right now, knowing that my food allergy is a challenge to flight staff, and just so appreciative of their professionalism. I was the one who forgot to call in advance, I know better. They were patient, kind, and courteous of my error (thank you West Jet!), and took the necessary steps to make my flight more enjoyable.


So, I challenge you to make it your mandate for this week to thank someone daily. And I mean really thank them, sincerely and with eye contact. Imagine the difference we could all make, if we just take the time to look up, and be gracious. Better yet, join me here on the blog and give a shout out to the amazing people who have touched your life.


Are you up for the challenge?