For the last couple of years this topic has been trending in both personal and professional circles. There is proof that expressing gratitude lowers stress and makes one feel more connected. I now keep a “gratitude journal” to jot down (ideally every day) 3 good outcomes of the day. It can be personal, career or health/fitness oriented. The focus is on positivity which helps one to move forward with challenges and come out on the other side with success.
I witnessed the power of gratitude recently and it was powerful. I volunteer for Commonwealth Development, a Madison based non-profit that offers a wide array of programming for economic development with a slant to guiding youth through mentoring. I really believe in mentoring as I have received it throughout my career and it’s really made a difference in finding the work I love and doing it to my best ability.
After reading an article about mentoring youth for job interviews it sounded like a perfect fit. One afternoon this fall I went to East High school and did (3) mock interviews with young students. Commonwealth provided me with some basic questions but I also have my personal favorites and sprinkled them in. I was impressed with the level of decorum the young students had and their earnestness to find work. As mentors we are encouraged to provide feedback which is given immediately to the students for continuous improvement. Students are also mentored and encouraged by a Youth Coordinator and the ultimate measure of success is to place them in a job.
What happened next was textbook in “gratitude”. Within ONE DAY of the interviews, I received an envelope with thank-you cards written by EACH youth I interviewed. The notes were written with utmost thought and sincerity. The immediacy of getting these cards in the mail along with a thank you from the coordinator was delightful! I immediately felt warm and fuzzy about my experience which furthers my interest in their program initiatives. I complimented the coordinator on the expediency of the personal notes and said it was paving the way for good followup with their careers down the road.
A hand-written thank you is a powerful way to connect with your interviewer whether you are just starting out in your career or have decades of experience. Emails are easy to miss and don’t carry the impact of a carefully worded hand written note on the paper of your choice. The picture posted above is the thank you note from the coordinator. I can’t say enough about the diverse programming at Commonwealth and how important it is for our youth population to receive mentoring at a young age. I am eager for the next mock interview session to hear the positive results they generate. For those interested here is a link about the Youth Mentoring program at Commonwealth Development.