Skip to main content

Before joining the Riverbend team, I spent a year working for an early-stage startup.

When people hear about startups, they often think of successes like Zoom, Uber, Airbnb, or other very successful and stable startups, which have secured millions of dollars in investor funding, offer competitive salaries, and amazing perks.

Early-stage startups are not in that category. They are the companies that struggle to survive month-to-month.

One month into my tenure, the COO called to tell me that they had no money to pay me for the next few weeks. Even when we did get a round of funding, and our paychecks returned, there was no money for fancy meals, gifts, or employee perks. A special day was when donuts showed up at the office.

Nonetheless, our CEO implemented one little practice that made me feel more valued than I had at any other place of employment in the past. Almost every Friday, he would call me and thank me for my work that week. Specifically, thank me for something he had noticed over the week. On the weeks he didn’t call, he would send a text.

That one small act made an incredible difference as our team worked through uncertainty, rapid change, and some very emotional lows. Not only did it give me a boost, I soon started to find myself thanking people more often. I wanted to let my favorite clerk at the grocery store know that I appreciated his hard work. I thanked my coworkers more often. I would shoot off a text to someone just to let them know that I was grateful for them. Gratitude had a ripple effect in my life.

As we head into a week of gratitude, ask yourself what it would look like to sincerely thank the individuals on your team, your customers, or the people who you’ve worked closely beside this year.

A sincere thanks can make a big difference in uncertain times. And, you may get to hear your own stories about the ripple effect of gratitude.

We recently kicked off a series focused on building resilience called GRITT. The ‘G’ stands for gratitude. After the first session, we received this note,

A quick note to start the week and let you know how much I appreciated the call on Friday. It was somewhat of a difficult call for me … it made me reflect and realize that I’ve gotten away from practicing gratitude on a regular and consistent basis. The gratitude principles we discussed with Doreen were exactly what I needed as we head into this holiday season… personally and professionally.

This weekend one of my son’s played in a lacrosse tournament – a 4-hour drive from home. It was a long weekend. He didn’t win a single game. Driving home late yesterday afternoon, everyone was tired and disappointed. But, we ended up having the best time as a family as we drove home… laughing, singing, talking, enjoying each other. Our gratitude discussion on Friday helped me be in the moment with my family and realize that the weekend wasn’t about the outcome of lacrosse games but the time spent enjoying the company of my family…connecting to bigger purpose of the weekend, living in the moment and being grateful for the moment.

As we move into a week focused on giving thanks, take a few minutes to think about how you can express thanks to the people in your life. If you want to take this challenge to the next level, call five people today and tell them why you are grateful for them. 


Author Doreen Linneman

More posts by Doreen Linneman