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5 Thanks Technique – a lesson from Mark Sanborn

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bp 41Mark Sanborn shared a very personal insight near the end of his keynote address at the recent PMI Global Congress. Mark has struggled with depression a few times in his adult life. This may come as a surprise, given that Mark is a very successful speaker, author, and consultant. Interpretation: when this guy speaks, he makes bank.

One discipline that Mark has put into practice goes like this: he forces himself to be thankful. Mark described that at the end of each day (…when his head hits the pillow), he thinks of three good things that happened that day. Mark reflects on those positives as he drifts off to sleep.

Mark’s comments struck me in two areas. First, as a public speaker, Mark made a strong connection by lowering his guard in this manner.  He became vulnerable, likeable, and approachable by inviting his audience of over 1,000 strangers to examine this personal detail about his life.

Second, Mark’s comments authenticated my own conviction. We need to spend more time saying “thanks!” and less time complaining.

Ok, my turn to confess… I have a similar habit. At the end of most days, I pause to record five things that I’m thankful for in a journal. For me, it’s more of a spiritual practice or discipline, but it impacts every facet of my life – all relationships.

This sounds like “Dr. Phil”… what are the benefits?

Let me sell you on the idea…I’ll call it the “5-Thanks” technique, with apologies to Sakichi Toyoda. Reasons to try it:

  • Smart people do it. It works for Mark Sanborn. I discussed the topic with Neal Whitten, and he follows a similar practice. You should try it.
  • Forces me to be positive. No matter how bad the day has been, I can always think of 5 things.
  • Positive is attractive. People hang around me more when I’m positive; less when I’m negative.
  • Positive is productive. When I spend more time saying “thanks” and less time complaining, I am more productive. Others want to work with me. Collaboration comes easily. Ideas flow more smoothly. Communication is better. Relationships with team members, vendors, Customers, and managers are more productive.

Give it a try. Before your head hits the pillow, reflect on the good things that happened today.

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