I recently came across something called the "Power Thank You", courtesy of Mark Goulston (American Psychiatrist and Consultant to Major Organisations). You will find this short quotation from Goulston’s book Just Listen, all over the internet, but here it is:
"if you’re deeply grateful to someone who’s done an exceptional favor for you, you need to express that emotion by going beyond the plain words ‘thank you’ and instead offer a Power Thank You. When you do this, your words will generate strong feelings of gratitude, respect, and affinity in the other person”.
This is as valid outside the workplace as it is in, and today, back from our travels in Thailand, I would like to say a power thank you to someone who made a difference in my daughter’s life, and therefore mine.
Last week my 5 year old had her first introduction to snorkelling. Although she enjoys being in the water, she is not able to swim yet, and on top of this she is an extremely cautious child (yes I know its her parent's fault). However, my wife and I felt that, with the comfort of a life vest, she would get a lot out of doing something a little more adventurous.
Our first stop on a day tour with Kon-Tiki Thailand was to Viking Bay, on the North side of Phi Phi Leh Island. Its a rocky cove only accessible by water and the swell was pretty high. Despite being fully kitted out with snorkel, fins and clinging onto a "snorkel taxi" (a life buoy with a net) she was quite scared. Panicked and spluttering between mouthfuls of salty water, she bleated, fighting to get the snorkel in her mouth. I did my best to reassure her and tried to pull her along to what seemed like calmer waters, but I was struggling. Our guide, Jatta, spotted this and swam over to me. She instructed me to look at the fish whilst she looked after Emma. From there the day took shape. She calmed Emma and talked to her about the sea life. For an hour Jatta coaxed and cajoled her to start relaxing and looking down for longer and longer periods and encouraged her to look for certain fish.
After this baptism of fire, Emma was buzzing; talking with an incessant energy about the fish she had seen (it helped that we had "found Nemo" within a few minutes), all her fears temporarily forgotten.
After lunch our boat approached another bay. Cramped once again by apprehension and memories of being tossed around by the morning’s waves Emma decided she was too tired to step into the water for the afternoon session of snorkelling. Only when the calmer waters appeared in front of her and she spied the look of genuine disappointment on Jatta’s face, did Emma’s resolve return and she decided (much to my surprise and pride) once again to take the plunge.
This time, in comparatively still and crystal clear waters and with her new BFF by her side, Emma spent most of the time with her face firmly under the surface, lifting it occasionally to shout garbled messages through her snorkel and point excitedly at a plethora of tropical fish. An hour later she emerged again from the water, a more confident person.
Throughout this odyssey Jatta held my daughter’s hand, metaphorically and often literally. At the same time she shepherded her group of snorkelers around the best places to see the wonders of these waters, rightly reprimanding someone who pulled a snail out of the water and answering our numerous and probably repetitive questions. In my opinion she went beyond the call of duty but, from her sunny demeanour and enthusiastic chat once we were back on the boat, I don’t think she would necessarily see it that way. On and off the boat she worked hard not only to do her job but also to inspire my daughter. And she succeeded, for which I am truly very, very grateful.
So a huge power thank you to Jatta and Kon-Tiki Thailand. And whilst I am at it, thanks also to Banana, and all at Elephant Hills, as well as Ip, my rock climbing partner . Thank you all for making my family's last two weeks that little bit more adventurous than they might otherwise have been.