Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Take the Time to Say Thank You

I’m going to take a break this week from investor relations and instead talk about personal relations. After all, it’s my blog and I can write about what I want to.

The other day I had one of those “What ever happened to?” moments. In this case, I was wondering what had happened to my old track and cross-country coach. He had only coached me for two years in high school before moving on to a different school, but he was a great coach and had given me a love of running that lasts to this day. The Internet is a wonderful tool that allows you to reach out to people that in the old days you would simply have lost track of, so I gave it a try. I wasn’t real hopeful of finding anything, as it has been forty years since my high school track days, but lo and behold, after about five minutes with Google, I had an email address.

Then I did something that I should have done many years before: I wrote him, thanking him for the time, effort and consideration he had put into coaching a young and inexperienced runner many years ago. A couple of days went by and I was beginning to think perhaps I had a bad email address when I received a short email from my old coach saying “You made my day – I will call you”.

Several hours later, I got a call from him and I must say that it was one of the most enjoyable conversations I have had in a long time. Not only did my old coach remember me all these years later, but he even remembered some of my track times from my sophomore year in high school.

In our lives we all have people who have been important influences on who we are and what we have achieved. They may be teachers, coaches, scoutmasters, professors, relatives or even friends of the family. They are people who have taken the time and effort to help young men and women understand who they are and how to use the talents they have to move forward with their lives. They teach fundamental disciplines, help nurture young talent and often give considerable amounts of their own time.

Because the people being helped are young, they often don’t realize how they are benefiting. I used to think that my track coach was good because he made me a better runner. It was only many years later that I realized that as good as he was at making me a better runner, he was just as good at instilling in me disciplines such as hard work and attention to detail that were to benefit me long after I stopped running competitively. But this realization didn’t come until later. When I was young, I was busy getting on with my life, and so I moved on and didn’t give it, or the influencers in my life, a whole lot of thought.

So here’s the thought for the day: take ten minutes and thank someone who has been an influence on you life. I doesn’t matter if it’s an email or a phone call or you stop and chat when you see them in the grocery store. The important thing is to just say thank you. It’s a simple thing to do, but too often we put it off until it’s too late, so do it now. Not only will it make the day of the person you thank, but I guarantee that you will get a big benefit from it as well.


Karena said...

Wonderful post John. I shared this with someone who influenced my life to say thank you today!

Darth Dad said...

John - Nice post. About 10 years ago I called my HS wrestling coach to thank him. His reply was, "No Tom, thank YOU!" Ditto with my HS track coach when I went back to see him after a stroke. Both coaches were just thankful to have courteous coachable kids on the team. Whodathunkit!