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A Little Gratitude Can Go a Long Way Thank all the helpful people in your life, personally and professionally.

By Jacqueline Whitmore

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Each Thanksgiving, I'm reminded to take a moment to offer gratitude for all the blessings I received over the past year. It's nice to reflect on my own achievements, but I find it more fulfilling to open my thoughts to all the ways other people have helped me throughout the year. Without the help and support of friends and family, I may not have been able to make it through what has been one of the roughest years of my life.

This year, I am making an increased commitment to show gratitude throughout the year to those who influence my life -- both personally and professionally. While it is sometimes easier to be grateful in our personal lives, we shouldn't neglect to insert gratitude into our work lives as well.

Related: Why Gratitude Is Your Key To Customer Growth and Retention

Don't take your coworkers for granted.

We say thank you at the bank or in the grocery line, often for the simplest of actions. So why don't we say thank you to the people who work hard for us? It isn't enough to simply expect them to show up and do their job without motivation or recognition or think that their thanks is a paycheck.

Take a moment to write a note of thanks, or offer a surprise bonus of a few extra hours leave or a gift card to a local restaurant to someone who goes above and beyond. Hold a company recognition luncheon at a time other than a holiday "just because" you want to thank someone for his or her service and dedication. Your gratitude will inspire others to pay it forward.

Related: How to Thank Your Employees Like You Mean It in 3 Simple Steps

Cultivate gratitude at work.

Encourage everyone in your organization to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Start each meeting on a positive note. Ask staff to share something good that has happened to them this week. Thank the entire team for their hard work, and give credit where credit is due. After all, without others, you probably wouldn't have the successes you do.

The act of expressing gratitude can have many benefits beyond the simple "thank you." According to a study by Thnx4.org, "the greater the number of gratitude experiences reported on a given day, the more positively the subject rated that day." These subjects also reported fewer negatives feelings of sadness, boredom or discouragement, a higher quality of well-being and reduced stress.

Recognize those who help you grow your business.

Has someone taken the time to recommend you or given you a helpful tip that saved you loads of time or money? Recognize their extra effort by rewarding them in kind, or penning a handwritten thank you note. Take them to lunch or drinks and thank them in person. Your gratitude will encourage them to continue to help you grow your business and will set you apart from others in their eyes.

Related: 10 Ways to Stay Inspired for Life

Be sincere.

When showing gratitude, be sincere. Express your thanks, and give a reason or example of what the other person did to cause you to be grateful for their words, efforts or consideration. Your appreciation will be valued even higher.

In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude."

Jacqueline Whitmore

Author, Business Etiquette Expert and Founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach

Jacqueline Whitmore is an etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach in Palm Beach, Fla. She is the author of Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals (St. Martin's Press, 2011) and Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work (St. Martin's Press, 2005).

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