I received one of the dearest gifts yesterday. In a prearranged zoom call with a former colleague who I hadn’t seen in 15 years, my caller proceeded to surprise me by confessing how grateful she had been with an impromptu coaching and guidance session we had had over a Friday afternoon.  We talked about her work during the previous week, and I offered a number of suggestions over what might be next steps to take. I offered to open a few doors and make available some pilot resources for her project initiative.  Little did I know that many doors and opportunities opened from there on for my colleague, and she had privately credited me all these years with helping to support some important career turns and decisions.  She told me how grateful she had been for the time I had made available to her 15 years ago, and by the proactive and guided suggestions I had offered.  I had had no idea.  She is an accomplished expert and professional in her field, with whom I have had very limited subsequent contact with her by email and social media.  And yet she generously credited me for what I had done to move her project and others along.  It was so moving and sweet.  I felt it was undeserved, and about a special moment that I can barely remember now, but apparently had made such an impression on my former colleague.

I don’t know about you, but the sad reality is that I rarely get thanks like that in real time not to mention after so many years.  It seems to me the culture of appreciation and thanks has been so diminished for years.  With some exceptions, people don’t seem to go out of their way to offer thanks like that.  This seems especially so within the Federal government bureaucracy.  Of course, from my point of view, I’m not usually thinking about the thanks or the gratitude since that isn’t the motivation at all for wanting to help others and do the right thing.  Which makes it so powerful to be stopped by someone and receive the gift of such heartfelt and sincere thanks.  It touches us and enlarges our spirit, both the giver and the receiver.

It made my day and week even, and perhaps is almost an antidote to all the other evil swirling around in the ether these days.