Indianapolis Family Photographer | For Photographers Fridays | Giving Back: The Power of Saying Thank You

Indianapolis Family Photographer | Giving Back: The Power of Saying Thank You

I’ve been working on a little project now for several weeks. It’s been interesting to observe myself through the creative process, too. If I’m being completely real with you, it was made up entirely of doubt, fear, pride, and a sense of accomplishment. It has legitimately been a rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions, yet the project is SO.SIMPLE. and selfless. There should be NO negative feelings intertwined among the reward of the intent.

While I can’t share with you ((YET!!)) what I’ve been up to, I want to share the reasoning behind the project. It’s as simple as a lesson I learned when I was old enough to write. It’s the power of saying thank you.

Indianapolis Family Photographer | The Power of Saying Thank You

I fear that thank you cards are a dying gesture with the increase technology in this world. I will say I received one from a friend the other day and it’s hanging on my fridge. I love that it’s personalized and in her handwriting – I can hear her voice in my head when I read it.

You see, my mom taught me to write thank you cards… and to make them specific. Don’t just thank Grandma for the $5 she sent you for Easter… be specific. Tell her what you bought with it or are planning on buying with it. Be specific, be genuine, be grateful. 

I worked in retail most of my teenage and college years and a period of that time was spent working at Von Maur – a store some of you middle-of-the-US folks will recognize. It’s a family-owned company – one with very traditional values and processes, and one of the best places I have worked. You see, anytime we shipped something – whether it was purchased in store and we had already spoken to that person – or whether it was over the phone, called in from another store, etc. we sent a thank you note. On slower days, we could pull out thank you notes and send them to customers who had made an impact on us – just cards, no merchandise. All we needed was their contact information, which we often had if they had purchased from us before. I understand it’s a marketing technique – these people may feel more inclined to return or buy from us again because we’re making a connection, but it was more than just that to a few of us.

Some of my coworkers wrote one-liners in large cursive to fill up the card: ‘Thank you for your purchase.’ My best friend (who I happened to meet while working this job and you’ve seen her face here before) would take the time to write personalized notes that filled the entire card. She would pay careful attention to her handwriting – taking the time to start over if anything became smudged, misspelled, or otherwise flawed. Likewise, my cards were always personal, specific, and genuine. I didn’t see the purpose in sending an impersonal thank you.

When we moved here to Indianapolis we bought a new couch. The store we purchased it from has the same practice and a few weeks after the purchase, we received a note in the mail. I smiled to myself as I pulled it out of the box, thinking how kind it was to receive a littler note from our saleswoman, who we had adored and seemingly connected with. Inside the note was one sentence … ‘thank you for your purchase’. I’m sure she wrote ten of them that day… all the same.

It immediately went into the trash.

Indianapolis Family Photographer | The Power of Saying Thank You

The power of saying thank you can be as big as you make it – or as insincere and irrelevant as you let it be. Mean what you say and say what you mean – don’t be afraid to connect to people and to let them know how they’ve impacted you. Part of my mission of 2015 is to do just this – to give back… sometimes in the most simple of forms. A sincere thank you goes a long way – a direct and specific expression of gratitude can convey appreciation that can change a person’s mood, day, or even month.

So why have I been doubtful or nervous about sending out my own thank you’s? Probably because I fear it’s a dying gesture and I worry it will be an imposition on the recipient. Mostly just because I criticize myself too much.

Believe in your acts of kindness.

Don’t skimp when it comes to saying thank you. Put some time into it – it’s likely the person you’re thanking put time and thought into their actions and words, too. Spread the love, folks.

Happy Friday. <3

casey and her camera is an Indianapolis Family Photographer specializing in family, couple, lifestyle, senior, and wedding photography for Indianapolis, Indiana and the surrounding areas.

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