As William Ward said, “Feeling gratitude and not sharing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

All of us have a ton of gratitude presents all wrapped up and ready to go, that for whatever reason we haven’t ever given to the people in our lives that deserve them.

By hanging on to those gifts we don’t just deprive the recipients of thanks and appreciation. We also miss out on the opportunity to rekindle or spark better relationships.

There’s at least one person you know made a big difference in your life: a boss, a coworker, a teacher, a relative… someone who did something awesome for you. They labored. They sacrificed. They went above and beyond. They stepped in with the right words, the right motivation, or the right dose of tough love at the perfect moment.

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Tis the season of giving…why not use today to get a head start on the meaning behind the holiday by showing your appreciation for a person who most deserves it… and, today of all days, least expects it.

Give him a call. Send her an email. It only takes a few minutes but the impact will be huge. When you express your gratitude, in a sincere and heartfelt way, you make a powerful and lasting impact on the person you thank.

And you make a powerful impact on yourself.

Here’s my example:

I worked for R.R. Donnelley for 17 years. The graph of my career path, while far from a hockey stick, still showed a nice upward arc… until the day I got fired or I resigned or some combination of the two.

So I made calls. I talked to recruiters. I reached out to industry connections. Nothing. So I touched base with people I had helped in the past; certainly they would return the favor?

Nope.

Then Randy called. I had worked with Randy at Donnelley; he, being braver than me, had left a few years prior for a better opportunity. “Hey, I’ve got something for you,” he said. “You should work here. The plant was just purchased by an investment group and they’re looking for people to turn it around.”

So — in spite of the fact there wasn’t actually a job opening at the time — Randy got my resume to the right people and pushed and prodded and cajoled until he got me an interview.

Sure, I got the job because I was qualified. (It turns out they created a job for me.) But he got me in a door I couldn’t open. Without Randy I never would have been interviewed, much less hired. Randy changed my life not because I asked, not because he somehow felt obligated… but simply because he wanted to.

So today I’ll let Randy know just how grateful I still am — not just for what he did for me but also because he remains a great friend.

Now it’s your turn. Pick a person who has helped you. Pick a person who has made a difference in your life. Pick someone you haven’t thanked or haven’t thanked properly.

Then make gratitude a verb and share your feelings. Deliver your already wrapped gratitude present. Express your appreciation, sincerely and openly. Don’t just feel grateful – show it.

It only takes a few seconds, but it might be the best thing we do this season don’t you agree?

Let us know what you think!