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5a thanks 
day 
A recipe for happiness. 
Reading this book you will see just how easy it is to make another 
human being’s...
we are redballoon 
we believe: 
- Everyone deserves to have fun, feel good 
and be happy! 
- Happiness is a choice, starts...
“One by one; 
gift by gift; thanks 
by thanks; we can all make 
a difference to relationships 
and the way people feel.” 
...
contents 
chapter 1 - why HAPPINESS is important 
chapter 2 - CHANGE THE WORLD - ONE THANK YOU AT A TIME 
chapter 3 - givi...
chapter 1 
why HAPPINESS is important 
“Happiness doesn’t depend upon who you are or what 
you have, it depends solely upo...
Why is happiness important? 
Happiness is not an end state. It is a choice worth making. 
After all, choosing happy has so...
Increased Productivity 
Happy people = Happy profits. Thomas Wright, professor of 
organisational behaviour at the Univers...
the five pillars of happiness 
There is no doubt that happiness is different for different people. 
In fact, one study on ...
GRATITUDE AS A STARTING HAPPINESS PILLAR 
We all ‘sense’ happiness differently, and could even apply a scale 
to the exper...
chapter 2 
CHANGE THE WORLD - ONE THANK YOU AT A TIME 
“Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” 
- G.B Stern 
18 19
“The best way to 
achieve optimum happiness is to 
have someone to love, something to 
do and something to 
hope for.” 
SA...
At 45 minutes: The musician played continuously. Only six people 
stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave mo...
If you’re out of the habit of ‘looking for good’ try this simple exercise: 
each evening catalogue three good things you h...
THANKING PEOPLE CREATES POSITIVE ENERGY 
I once had the privilege of meeting Professor Fiona Wood 
(Australian Of The Year...
Professor Wood shows us that by being grateful to those around us 
we enhance our positivity and resilience – and it will ...
“Working in the travel industry meant I was lucky enough to often 
receive small souvenirs as tokens of thanks in the cour...
“People often worry about 
saying thank you appropriately. 
Do you send a card? Or a gift? 
Busting the gratitude myths 
A...
Myth #2: It is not appropriate to give gifts to 
professional leaders for doing their job. 
People who are charged with mo...
chapter 3 
Giving Thanks By Giving Of Yourself 
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. 
It is when you gi...
I believe one of the greatest gifts of thanks you can give is yourself. 
Giving of yourself and your time is one of the mo...
Being a volunteer is incredibly good for your health (as well as the 
recipient). It has been referred to as ‘the helper’s...
My own personal experience with volunteering began when I was 
invited to appear on Channel Nine’s Secret Millionaire prog...
As Winston Churchill famously said, “We make a living by what we 
get, but we make a life by what we give.” Here are a few...
“Regular volunteers live 
longer, are less likely to 
experience depression and 
are more satisfied 
with life.” 
“Simon h...
“Mary is a truly unique and community orientated person. Mary 
volunteers for Meals on Wheels and helps with community sho...
“Rhonda has been providing foster care for longer than I can 
remember, I think it’s been about twenty odd years. She used...
chapter 4 
Thank You At Work 
“You never say thank you.” 
- Peggy Olsen 
“That’s what the money is for!” 
- Don Draper 
52...
In Series 4 of international TV hit, Mad Men, the famous Don 
Draper shouts down his colleague’s plea for recognition. Bac...
What’s at stake is the discretionary effort an individual brings to 
their job role. The difference is in the level of eff...
Is it given out of love, kindness and generosity or does it come with 
an ulterior motive - to get something in return, to...
Happy People = 
Happy Customers = 
Happy Profits 
Sharing thanks is better than cash 
Research shows that a simple authent...
At RedBalloon, we have found consistent ongoing communication 
is essential within the reward and recognition programs tha...
Cash is a no-no if you want to make people feel great about 
themselves. If you don’t capture their hearts and minds no am...
For the next 12 months, the previous year’s star continued to be an 
outstanding performer. The new manager again wanted t...
Below are some stories of thanks that have resonated in the 
workplace: 
“We gave two of our staff members a holiday at a ...
“Just recently I was called into my manager’s office who wanted to 
say thank you very much on behalf of the team for doin...
chapter 5 
Paying It Forward: FiveThanksADay.Org 
“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. 
Have you used one to say ...
So we know what giving thanks can do for others and ourselves; 
we know how it works on a personal and professional level ...
Here are some suggestions to get you started: 
1. Write it in a letter 
- or in an email; on a card; in a text message; th...
9. Tell one tell all 
- make your thank you public... during a speech, in an office 
memo, on Facebook, in front of a gath...
18. Rally the troops 
- someone has to be the one to organise the group card or gift, 
why not you. 
19. A bunch in bloom ...
Hi Naomi, 
I heard you speak recently at Air New Zealand’s leadership college 
at Auckland. I must confess to having never...
What does it mean 
to be thankful? 
This is the question Naomi Simson, 
founder of RedBalloon, asks of us. 
Serving close ...
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#CultureCode Change your world with just 5 thanks a day.

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A 42 page book which shows how easy it is to feel great every day - and when you thank someone authentically they too will feel great.

Here are some suggestions to get you started:
1. Write it in a letter
- or in an email; on a card; in a text message; the back of
an envelope; or a fortune cookie. Put it in writing, make it
personal, go to the effort.
2. Use your words
- say it face to face and say it from the heart. Also extra points
if you call someone instead of texting and make actual contact
rather than leaving a voicemail.
3. Make a mental note
- at the end of every day, instead of thinking about all you
have to do, count your blessings. Reflect on that which you
have (not lack) in your life and feel good about them.
4. This one’s on me
- pick up the tab for a meal, coffee or parking. Make it a
surprise rather than an expected part of your time together.
5. Gift card
- a little amount towards a store, experience or service of
interest can say a lot.

And there are lot's more easy ways to feel great

We believe:
- Everyone deserves to have fun, feel good
and be happy!
- Happiness is a choice, starts with a drop,
becomes a ripple and creates a WAVE.
- Happiness is amplified when it’s shared.
- We are passionate about giving people more
good times.
- We are in the business of fun!
- We have started a HAPPINESS REVOLUTION…
one amazing experience at a time.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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#CultureCode Change your world with just 5 thanks a day.

  1. 1. 5a thanks day A recipe for happiness. Reading this book you will see just how easy it is to make another human being’s day and, in doing so, make your day too. Brought to you by “Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” Gilbert K. Chesterton “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William Arthur Ward “Count your life by smiles, not tears.” John Lennon
  2. 2. we are redballoon we believe: - Everyone deserves to have fun, feel good and be happy! - Happiness is a choice, starts with a drop, becomes a ripple and creates a WAVE. - Happiness is amplified when it’s shared. - We are passionate about giving people more good times. - We are in the business of fun! - We have started a HAPPINESS REVOLUTION… one amazing experience at a time. 2 3
  3. 3. “One by one; gift by gift; thanks by thanks; we can all make a difference to relationships and the way people feel.” preface It is now more than ten years since I sat in the front room of my house waiting for a customer to arrive at my brand new business…I was excited and nervous, full of vision and possibility. That day, I wasn’t aware that RedBalloon was starting a happiness revolution, one amazing experience at a time. On our journey serving close to two million customers in Australia and New Zealand, I have been fortunate to see inside other businesses, but more importantly, inside other people’s lives… particularly around very personal occasions such as births, marriages, anniversaries and celebrations. I have witnessed the rawness of emotion, pure joy and the simplicity of happiness. On my road of discovery I was surprised to learn that Australia does not rank highly on the Happy Planet Index. With this small book I hope to make a contribution to our nation’s happiness. One by one; gift by gift; thanks by thanks; we can all make a difference to relationships and the way people feel. Happiness is important to all of us, and we are all responsible for how we feel. Over a number of years, via my blog, I have been sharing my findings and musings on how gratitude impacts upon happiness and it is now my privilege to be able to combine and organise them into one reference point. Within these pages you’ll discover stories and simple insights into how easy it is to make another human being’s day by simply saying thank you – and in so doing, contribute to happiness. Thank You. Naomi Simson Founding Director, redballoon.com.au National Industry Winner, Ernst & Young Entrpreneur of the Year 2011 National Telstra Business Woman 2008 (Innovation) naomisimson.com 4 5
  4. 4. contents chapter 1 - why HAPPINESS is important chapter 2 - CHANGE THE WORLD - ONE THANK YOU AT A TIME chapter 3 - giving thanks by giving of yourself chapter 4 - thank you at work chapter 5 - fivethanksaday.org 6 7
  5. 5. chapter 1 why HAPPINESS is important “Happiness doesn’t depend upon who you are or what you have, it depends solely upon what you think.” - Dale Carnegie 8 9
  6. 6. Why is happiness important? Happiness is not an end state. It is a choice worth making. After all, choosing happy has some great benefits: Living Longer Studies have found that feeling positive about life, rather than feeling stressed or depressed, contributes to longevity. Negative or pessimistic emotions can spur us to argue by generating fight-or- flight response in the body, mediated by adrenaline and other stress hormones. We experience a completely different physiological response and outlook when we are in a positive frame of mind. Happy people are 39% more likely to live to age 94. Being Healthier If you are happy and satisfied with life, you are more likely to treat your body well. Being happy makes people less likely to over-indulge in activities that adversely affect health, such as smoking, physical inactivity and alcohol consumption. Increased Resilience Happiness and positivity work together. Positive people view the glass as half full, which helps them see and act on options and opportunities. Studies show that people who are positive or happy solve problems better and faster. Their solutions are more inventive and they concentrate better. Greater Relationships If you are happy you are more likely to be married, romantically involved and have multiple close friendships. Which came first? Are you happy because you are in a relationship or are you more likely to be partnered up because you are happy? Both may very well be true. Similarly, people with a higher level of social support are invariably those that are happier. Spending less time alone and more time with others improves wellbeing. 10 11
  7. 7. Increased Productivity Happy people = Happy profits. Thomas Wright, professor of organisational behaviour at the University of Nevada, states ‘employee happiness accounts for as much as 10% to 15% of the variance in performance between different workers’. In a 40- hour week, that could mean up to three-quarters of an hour’s lost productivity per day. Gallup tells us that disengaged workers cost billions in lost productivity and organisations with a happy workforce have 20% higher profits. At work, happy people are: • 31% more productive • 40% more likely to receive a promotion (people like happy people) • Have 23% fewer fatigue symptoms (less absenteeism) • Up to 10% more engaged at work • Happy sales people will produce 37% greater sales 12 13
  8. 8. the five pillars of happiness There is no doubt that happiness is different for different people. In fact, one study on the subject concluded that happiness is 50 per cent genetically determined (born that way), 10 per cent attributed to environment (where you are), and 40 per cent modifiable by doing certain things. Although no one can wholly define happiness, most of us recognise it when we see it in others or feel it in ourselves. Normally, no single thing renders happiness, but I believe there are five pillars that contribute to it: 1) FAMILY AND FRIENDS Quality time with people that matter to us is scarce and precious. At RedBalloon we want people to enjoy their friends and family with gusto, love and loyalty. To create memories that can be talked about for years. 2) THE WORK YOU CHOOSE Great satisfaction comes from engaging in a profession where you are valued and brings meaning beyond money. We want everyone to be rewarded and recognised for the work they do. Happy people = happy profits. 3) MAKING OTHER PEOPLE HAPPY Happiness is infectious. There is an undeniably strong link between feeling good and doing things to help other people. 4) WELLBEING Our wellbeing contributes to our sense of happiness. There are five important contributors to individual wellbeing: connectedness, physical health, learning, giving and acknowledgement. Combined, they directly link to our experience of happiness. 5) BEING THANKFUL A huge part of whether or not we feel great comes down to whether we choose to be happy, and taking action to make it happen. By looking for good and being thankful we create more happiness in our life and the lives around us. 14 15
  9. 9. GRATITUDE AS A STARTING HAPPINESS PILLAR We all ‘sense’ happiness differently, and could even apply a scale to the experience: Level One - momentary feelings such as joy or pleasure. Level Two - judgments regarding feelings of wellbeing and satisfaction. Level Three - the quality of life we experience, such as flourishing or fulfillment of one’s potential. What I am interested in here in this little book is not so much those moments of joy or pleasure that might be fleeting or pass quickly, but more the sustained experience of life’s satisfaction. Of creating practices for ongoing well-being. Life is imperfect and total bliss is not a reality. There is no such thing as Utopia – life is challenging – but we do have the power to influence how we accept those challenges and view the world. As humans we have the power of choice. It is liberating to know that life is full of disappointments and struggles for everyone, so we can give up our anxiety that everyone is having a better time than us. Happiness is a choice. The growing body of research is demonstrating that as we become happier, we become better people. As we become happier we become more compassionate, more creative, more energetic, more financially successful, more emotionally and physically healthy. For those of us who are concerned with creating a “better” world, becoming happier and helping others become happier appears a very effective means to this end. Which is why I believe being thankful is the most important pillar of happiness because looking for good and expressing gratitude is the easiest way to create more happiness in our life and the lives around us. 16 17
  10. 10. chapter 2 CHANGE THE WORLD - ONE THANK YOU AT A TIME “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” - G.B Stern 18 19
  11. 11. “The best way to achieve optimum happiness is to have someone to love, something to do and something to hope for.” SAY THANK YOU EVERYDAY Grand gestures are fabulous, but they aren’t necessarily a daily practice. The point about gratitude is that everyone can do it, every single day. The numbers speak for themselves. If we began thanking people authentically each day, Australia – and the world - would be a far happier place. The first step is to be mindful. After all, you can’t be grateful for what is evolving around you if you’re not truly present. Smell the roses and appreciate what life presents. Here is as a great example of what we can miss: In Washington, DC, at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about three minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule. About four minutes later: The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk. At six minutes: A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again. At 10 minutes: A three-year-old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly. 20 21
  12. 12. At 45 minutes: The musician played continuously. Only six people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32. After one hour: He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all. No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell (left), one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold out a theatre in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organised by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities. This experiment raised several questions: In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? If so, do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognise talent in an unexpected context? If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made, how many other things are we missing as we rush through life? We are given gifts every day that we have conditioned ourselves not to see - as we rush from one thing to another. It is time to take notice of the beauty around us. 22 23
  13. 13. If you’re out of the habit of ‘looking for good’ try this simple exercise: each evening catalogue three good things you have experienced during the day. Write them down, or share them with others. A colleague does this at the dinner table with her family, and everyone takes turns. At first you may struggle with three, but then as you ‘train’ yourself, you’ll easily find five, ten, twenty. The great coffee you were made. The way the sun caught the bus window on your commute to work. “Positive affect - positive emotions, positive moods and positive attitudes may in fact be the single most important active ingredient in the recipe for human flourishing.” - Barbara Fredrickson - 2005 24 25
  14. 14. THANKING PEOPLE CREATES POSITIVE ENERGY I once had the privilege of meeting Professor Fiona Wood (Australian Of The Year, 2005) and hearing about her experience healing burn victims and the power of positivity. ‘Who are we not to dream?’ Professor Wood grew up in Yorkshire in the UK and was profoundly inspired by these, the words of her father, a miner, with little education - yet he had big dreams for his children, and paved the way for all four of them to go on to tertiary education. Her thoughts on the importance and healing power of living a positive life: • “We should praise a little bit better – it does not hurt.” • “I think of all the people who helped me along the way that I wish I’d thanked more – and now they are not here.” • “Taking a little extra time can make someone’s day; just seeing what they do and telling them.” • “Thanking people is about getting the positive energy in.” • “The choices we make – make history tomorrow.” Professor Wood has seen first-hand with burn victims that people with a positive energy and a natural state of happiness are far more likely to heal than those who are negative. In her experience, some of the toughest nursing jobs are those in the burns unit and the oncology unit – yet consistently she has witnessed lower absenteeism by nurses in those units. She says it is her belief that those nurses are the ones that are thanked the most - by both their medical colleagues as well as the patients and their families. 26 27
  15. 15. Professor Wood shows us that by being grateful to those around us we enhance our positivity and resilience – and it will hold us in great stead if we find ourselves in a calamity. Here are some of the thank you stories shared with RedBalloon over the years: “The thank you I receive is knowing that I am doing something that could very well save someone’s life or even help them live that bit longer. I know that what I do has this effect on heaps of people out there not only by the ads I see but also from the stories I’ve been told. You see I am a regular Plasma Donor at the Australian Red Blood Cross Service. Knowing I am helping a young child, a growing teenager, a youthful adult or even an elderly person out there makes me feel so special. Also knowing that someone else out there who donated their blood is what helped my aunty come through alive from her third pregnancy after losing so much blood, will make me forever grateful and at night I silently say my thank yous to this person.” Anonymous “My mother in law invited her daughter and I to live with her in order for us to save enough money for our own home. We ended up living with her for five years. As a massive thank you for her kindness, one of the tokens of thanks we gave her was a RedBalloon experience. We purchased for her the V8 Supercar Experience. She’s always been into the V8s and is a massive Holden fan so she absolutely loved it. She was beside herself. She raved on about it for a good year afterwards to her friends, family, work mates etc. She had her picture taken with the Holden V8 Supercar and it sits proudly in her lounge room. Our relationship has never been so strong.” Anonymous 28 29
  16. 16. “Working in the travel industry meant I was lucky enough to often receive small souvenirs as tokens of thanks in the course of my work from happy clients. Two clients however touched me truly with their thank you gesture. I organised a holistic holiday in Bali for a couple, unaware at this stage that the purpose of the visit was due to the woman being recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. About a month after their return, they visited my office in tears - again not entirely unusual. My initial thoughts were something went wrong on the trip or they needed to arrange travel to a funeral etc - but they were so touched by my assistance (I had made sure a few nice surprises were in store as they were just so lovely). They had bought me a reading from the famous ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ Medicine Man as a gift and explained the real reason behind their journey and the amazing recovery she had since experienced. We all ended up in tears, I felt so amazingly special to have been a small part in their story and tried to live my life more fully from that moment onwards.” Anonymous “Next to my train station is a homeless man that comes and goes every year from the one spot. I’ve watched him over the past couple of years and thought how cold and horrible it would be in winter. I ordered a new doona one day and promised myself that once I received my order I would give him my old doona to help keep him warm. My mum packed a few pairs of trackie pants, socks and jumper that my dad doesn’t use to give to him as well. One night I finally walked up to him, introduced myself and gave him the two bags of clothes and doona. He was very touched, but it wasn’t until he saw I had given him a simple pair of trackie pants, that he yelled, “TRACKIES! Thank-you so much, I’ve needed a pair so bad!”. I felt very touched that something so simple had brought a smile to his face and evidently warmth. He then offered to make me a painting as a thank you and I now have this hanging in my bedroom.” Anonymous 30 31
  17. 17. “People often worry about saying thank you appropriately. Do you send a card? Or a gift? Busting the gratitude myths As members of society - with a sum as great as its parts - it’s vital for us to understand individually and collectively how important it is to be grateful for the generosity of others - and that an authentic thank you is a gift that works both ways. Yet plenty of misconceptions still exist about expressing gratitude. Myth #1: Saying thank you often seems insincere. If you overdo it, people take your gratitude for granted. It is not the quantity but the quality of the acknowledgement that makes the difference. Good manners cannot be worn out. You can make someone’s day, every day, so long as the acknowledgement is truly personal, timely and relevant. Generic words that are not specific do little to make you or the other person feel great. Be specific. “Mum has 14 kids - me being the eldest at 25 years and Charlie at 4 the youngest. Seven of us are fostered so it’s really hectic at home so I try at least once a month to take mum out for lunch so she can have a break. I guess this is my way of saying thank you to our amazing mum who puts all the kids before herself (every time). It makes me feel like I’m giving some back to her so it makes me feel great too.” Anonymous 32 33
  18. 18. Myth #2: It is not appropriate to give gifts to professional leaders for doing their job. People who are charged with motivating and inspiring others don’t do so for the ‘thank you’ - but as a speaker, I know how much I give of myself every time I step before an audience. What any form of leader or teacher really wants to know is that they made a difference to another person’s life or way of thinking. Letting them know the contribution they made is the outcome for which they work. To give them a thoughtful gift - even in the form of positive feedback - shows that their preparation and performance was appreciated. Myth #3: During times of economic hardship, gifting is a non-essential purchase that doesn’t deserve priority. Gifting is central to our wellbeing. It is essential to our humanness. The way we thank someone, or acknowledge them, is what makes people feel connected to one another. The evidence-based research by the New Economic Foundation points to the benefits of gifting not only upon the recipient but also the giver. Giving a great gift is a source of happiness. 34 35
  19. 19. chapter 3 Giving Thanks By Giving Of Yourself “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” - Kahlil Gibran 36 37
  20. 20. I believe one of the greatest gifts of thanks you can give is yourself. Giving of yourself and your time is one of the most fulfilling ways of giving thanks. Basically, when you give - you get. This has long been documented as part of the five elements of well being outlined by the New Economic Forum; but research by Dr. Stephen Post at US top universities has proven the life-enhancing benefits of giving behaviour 1. Post’s research shows that when we give of ourselves, especially if we start young, everything from life-satisfaction to self-realisation and physical health is significantly affected. Mortality is delayed. Depression is reduced. Wellbeing and good fortune are increased. The research includes a fifty-year study showing that people who are giving during their high school years have better physical and mental health throughout their lives. Other studies show that older people who give live longer than those who don’t. Helping others has been shown to bring health benefits to those with chronic illness, including HIV, multiple sclerosis, and heart problems. And studies show that people of all ages who help others on a regular basis, even in small ways, feel happiest. Post writes, “focusing on others causes a shift from our unhealthy preoccupation with ourselves and reduces the stress-related wear and tear on our body and soul.” 1. http://www.whygoodthingshappen.com/ 38 39
  21. 21. Being a volunteer is incredibly good for your health (as well as the recipient). It has been referred to as ‘the helper’s high’ – which is the sense of satisfaction and comfort that is created from knowing that you have done something to assist another human being. Giving doesn’t need to be extravagant or formal – but it does need to be regular to have ongoing benefits to your wellbeing. A simple visit to the local retirement home for a game of scrabble, or reading in a classroom at the local preschool is all ideal volunteer work that would do the trick. Some facts: • Regular volunteers live longer. • Volunteers are less likely to experience depression, and they are more satisfied with life. • In 2006, 5.2 million people (34 per cent) of the Australian population aged 18 years and over, participated in voluntary work. • They contributed 713 million hours to the community, an average of 136 hours each per year or 2.6 hours per week. • The comparison of 1995, 2000 and 2006 data reveal that volunteer rates increased from 24 per cent to 32 per cent and to 35 per cent between these three time points 2. 2. http://www.volunteering.com.au/tools_and_research/volunteering_statistics.asp 40 41
  22. 22. My own personal experience with volunteering began when I was invited to appear on Channel Nine’s Secret Millionaire program. I was asked after the airing of the program whether I enjoyed the experience. Enjoyed? No. But did I find it challenging, confronting, and rewarding? Absolutely. I am not an actor, nor in the entertainment industry. I have had little to do with television. I did the program on the premise that it was a documentary on volunteering. I did not know where I was going, whom I would meet, nor how I would get on. It was an experience of a lifetime. I was touched, moved and inspired by so many people I met. Humbled by what volunteers contribute throughout Australia. “I watched the secret millionaire last night and was touched by the struggles of the people you met in a most humbling way. It really hit home on how fortunate we are sometimes and how we can take this for granted, especially when you see kids with cancer. They still have a life to fight for and they are so young to have to face this sort of challenge.” Martine “I do believe we get what we believe and give our attention to and that experiences are the things we grow and profit from the most, remember the most and take with us always. Secret Millionaire has shown many Australians - including myself - the power of volunteering and started to debunk the common misconception that to have real financial success requires you to be a horrible person instead of being someone who can make the world better!” Karin Hanna 42 43
  23. 23. As Winston Churchill famously said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Here are a few ‘Unsung Hero’ stories the public has shared over the years with RedBalloon: “Peter Schiff has saved hundreds of lives with his blood donations. He been a blood donor for 57 years and holds the record for the most blood donations in Victoria. He has donated blood, plasma and platelets over 560 times. With one donation saving three lives, he has helped to save more than 1600 lives on his own. Every week Australia needs 26,000 blood donations to ensure hospitals and clinics have enough blood to help people in need.” Matty and Jacqui “When he is not at work, Ashley volunteers with the SES. With all the flooding in Queensland, I barely saw him. I ran into him the other day and he filled me in on what has been going on with the flood recovery. It saddened me when he told me that he has been spending all his free time cleaning up and recovering the deceased from the floods. At 20 years of age, Ashley has seen some very horrific things and been doing the things that many of us could not bear to do. I am lost for words when I hear the things he has seen and done. I feel that Ashley is my unsung hero and I wanted him to know.” Jessica “My grandmother, Hilda, is an inspiration to all. Until a couple of years ago Hilda was part of the Legion of Mary, visiting elderly ill people to bring comfort and a little happiness to their lives. (These people were usually 15-20 years younger than Grandmere)! In her spare time, my Grandmere keeps in regular contact with all her grandchildren via email. For the past 15 years she has been providing French tuition to her grandchildren and their friends at a secondary school level - even providing coaching in preparation for University Entrance Exams. Hilda accomplishes all of this with a big smile on her face and with joy in her heart without realising the powerful and inspirational effect she has on those around her.” Veronique 44 45
  24. 24. “Regular volunteers live longer, are less likely to experience depression and are more satisfied with life.” “Simon has dedicated his whole life to helping people. Rural Fire Service, Scout / Venturer leader, computer fixer friend to all he meets and first one to offer assistance to others. Life changed for Simon in 2010. His wife Heidi, daughter Tegan and son Alex (five and three at the time), were driving to school when a dead tree fell straight on top of their car. The children came out without a scratch, but Heidi was left a quadriplegic. From day one of the accident, Simon has amazed us all with his boundless energy to be full time carer to two young children, run the house, work, continue to support the local Scout group, organise home modifications, fill out endless forms and hospital documents, take the kids to parties, and so many other things that most of us wouldn’t be able to achieve with another full time adult partner to help! Simon has done all of this, and not a day has gone by that he has complained of what life has dealt him. People always comment to me about how he always has a smile and a polite chat for all. It’s a long road ahead for Simon, but I know he will not fall short in his role as husband and father.” Tanya and Dave “Nett is positive, energetic, outgoing and happy. She works for Big Brother and Big Sister as a Senior Mentoring Coordinator. She meets with young people and their families that can benefit from the program and she volunteer mentors. Nett goes above and beyond ALL of the time... There are many young people on waiting lists, and Nett has thought outside the box to come up with programs that mean that these young people can be involved in things that provide them with mentoring, but in a group environment- things like boxing and dance classes. Not only does Nett devote so much extra time to this, she also has her own family. She is never too busy to listen to people, she is always available, she is positive, she is energetic, she’s always laughing... truly inspiring.” Laurelin 46 47
  25. 25. “Mary is a truly unique and community orientated person. Mary volunteers for Meals on Wheels and helps with community shopping trips for the elderly within our community, always willing to carry shopping bags for them. Mary also volunteers at her local Visitor Information Centre as an ambassador. She is a devoted wife, mother and grandma that gets her grandchildren off to school safely every morning. Mary is reliable and NEVER lets anyone down.” Stacey “Brian is a man’s man who loves to go fishing in his boat and always looks out for those who cross the very dangerous bar at his local beach. He willingly, anonymously and with no need for thanks, helps so many and his own health issues don’t hinder his efforts to help those in need. Brian put his own safety at risk when no other boaties would help an elderly man without a life jacket whose boat had flipped over. Following the rescue, Brian not only organised an ambulance while the boat was being bashed about by the massive waves but took the man into shore where the ambulance waited. It didn’t end there - Brian went back and salvaged as much as he could of the man’s boat and possessions before collapsing himself with exhaustion. He also saved two elderly men from a sinking dingy out in the ocean who would not have made it without Brian’s help. He towed the boat to shore and took the men on board to safety. He has done this same thing over and over countless times and only ever had one person thank him. He doesn’t make a fuss about his bravery and skill and plays down his part in these incredible rescues. Brian is unselfish and is an inspiration and example of good old-fashioned Aussie mateship who will help anyone anytime.” Christine 48 49
  26. 26. “Rhonda has been providing foster care for longer than I can remember, I think it’s been about twenty odd years. She used to be one of the few people in her area that would take the emergency cases at any time of day or night, and would take all the kids nobody else wanted. You couldn’t count the amount of children that she has cared for - both long term and short. Along with her friend Ethel, Rhonda organises and fundraises for an annual Christmas party for foster children and their foster families. She has always been a woman who gives all of herself to others.” Rachel “Nadine was a force to be reckoned with during the Brisbane RSPCA shelter flood recovery. She was responsible for leading teams of volunteers and assisting with the cleaning and repairing of the shelter. She has been a volunteer with RSPCA QLD for many years and is a valued member of the team. She arrived early and stayed late and coordinated teams of volunteers to help in the clean up. She was the driving force with our garden clean up and has been unwavering in her support and efforts for the animals.” Amanda “I nominate Johnny Wheelock for the tireless effort he puts into raising funds for the RFDS here in country WA. John can been seen out and about everyday collecting aluminium cans around the town of Carnarvon and his band of volunteers collect woolpacks from homes throughout our town. John has had a hip replacement done and even when he is in pain he still walks everyday collecting cans off the sidewalk for the RFDS.” Russell 50 51
  27. 27. chapter 4 Thank You At Work “You never say thank you.” - Peggy Olsen “That’s what the money is for!” - Don Draper 52 53
  28. 28. In Series 4 of international TV hit, Mad Men, the famous Don Draper shouts down his colleague’s plea for recognition. Back in 1965 that might have been an accepted way for bosses to interact with their employees, but thankfully we have since moved on. Haven’t we? I remember a speaking engagement I once gave on how important it is to acknowledge an individual’s contribution to an organisation in a personal and authentic way on a regular basis. (It has to be regular because according to Gallup, employees will forget an acknowledgement within seven days). During the talk, a question came from the audience: “But, what if you say thank you to someone – or give them a gift, or acknowledge them with an award - and a month or two later they do something that is ‘against company policy’ or detrimental to the business?” I was surprised by the question. That would be like a parent not praising the good things their child does because they might do something naughty later on. Generosity of spirit may not be taught in an MBA. Yet generosity in the workplace can lift the employer/employee relationship from a purely economic transaction of skills for money to something far bigger. 54 55
  29. 29. What’s at stake is the discretionary effort an individual brings to their job role. The difference is in the level of effort one is capable of bringing to an activity or a task, versus the effort required only to get by or make-do. From the boss’s point of view, it’s obviously more preferable to employ people who go that extra mile. Likewise, research shows that employees prefer to work in organisations that offer them a shared sense of purpose. Generosity in the workplace starts with an authentic thank you. It doesn’t always have to be elaborate. A manager noticing a job well done, then leaving a thank you card and coffee/tea/chai voucher on the employee’s desk works wonders. Putting a structure around gratitude – like a rewards and recognition program – doesn’t make the gratitude less authentic. Instead, it brings it front of mind and creates a value that’s valued as a matter of policy. Saying thank you with a gift At RedBalloon, we’ve found that more than 50 per cent of Australian businesses give their employees a leaving gift – yet less than one percent give them a welcome gift (BTW - a uniform does not count as a welcome gift). Receiving some form of tangible congratulations for joining an organisation is a great way to set the tone of acknowledgment at the beginning of the employment journey. However, giving a gift is not always the right thing to do. In fact, a bad gift can do more harm than good. A gift has the power to either enhance a relationship or detract from it because it is symbolic of our intentions towards another person and our relationship with them ... what we think of them, how important they are to us, and the potential future relationship we intend to have with them. Paying acknowledgment, or thanking someone authentically, can be a great gift in itself. It usually comes back to the intention of the gift. 56 57
  30. 30. Is it given out of love, kindness and generosity or does it come with an ulterior motive - to get something in return, to buy a favour, or to coerce someone? A true gift or a thank you needs to be given purely out of generosity to extend kindness and care in order to enhance the relationship. This applies to corporate as well as personal gifts. What you give someone is just as important - the best gift is always something that is relevant to the recipient, something that means something to them. There are three steps to authentic gifting: 1. Recognise the intention of the gift and be real when you deliver the message. Thank them specifically for what they did for you or the relationship you have with them. 2. Reflect on and express the impact that person has on you personally (as well as the organisation) E.g. ‘without your contribution, the project would not have shipped on time.’ 3. Let them know why you selected that gift for them. e.g. ‘I know that you have always wanted to learn sushi making - I hope you and your partner enjoy it.’ We are all busy - but the power of taking the time out to select and deliver a great gift will reap more rewards than you can ever imagine… not just because of the way you made them feel; but also because of the way it made you feel when you gave the perfect gift. 58 59
  31. 31. Happy People = Happy Customers = Happy Profits Sharing thanks is better than cash Research shows that a simple authentic ‘thank you’ can deliver more to your bottom line than giving someone a cash bonus or pay increase: • Spot Awards to employees resulted in 10 times greater return on investment than an increase in base pay. - McKinsey and Company Compensation Round Table 2008. • Paying people a compliment appears to activate the same reward centre in the brain as paying them cash. - The Japanese National Institute for Physiological Services. • Praising employees had the same impact on job satisfaction as a 1 per cent increase in pay, which would equate to GBP5.2bil for UK businesses alone. - White Water Strategies. • Non cash incentives were 24 per cent more powerful at boosting performance than cash incentives. - University of Chicago 2004. The above is known as psychic income. It speaks to the human need for social acceptance and self esteem that cash cannot meet. 60 61
  32. 32. At RedBalloon, we have found consistent ongoing communication is essential within the reward and recognition programs that we run. People need to be educated about the total ‘work experience’, not just what they get and give - and having a good time at work and being noticed at work by bosses and peers is a very powerful component of this education. Cash works best as compensation for effort - even if it was intended as a gift - and it is appropriate because it is required in order to meet most of the basic needs of life. However, consistent ongoing recognition programs are a way of feeding the psyche. I remember one of our blue chip clients decided to give a cash gift to each of its 10,000 employees and reported to me that it was the single worst $10 million investment they ever made because those who were highly paid never noticed it in their bank accounts, those who were part of workplace agreements demanded it be part of the following year’s productivity bonus, and it created a lot of infighting and resentment between employees of varying levels of seniority and between full-timers and part-timers. 62 63
  33. 33. Cash is a no-no if you want to make people feel great about themselves. If you don’t capture their hearts and minds no amount of cash will keep them long term. The trick is to get people fully engaged; and the only way to do that is to share the vision of the business, what they are doing and where the business is heading. If funds are tight and there are no Christmas bonuses to be had, you can still authentically acknowledge what people have contributed via a hand written card, or a gift they can share with family and friends. Having Fun and Empathy with Reward and Recognition There are three key elements to a successful rewards program: 1. Acknowledgement - demonstrate to your people that you notice their contribution. 2. Let your people choose their reward. 3. Encourage and celebrate achievement. Now each one of these is an essay in its own right, but one story springs to mind to demonstrate why they are important: Some time ago, a client shared with me the story of a colleague. Formerly a team she had been promoted to head up a small call centre of 50 people. It was her mission to show her team she really cared. There was one exceptional performer. She wanted to make sure he was acknowledged and for his colleagues to know what a contribution he made. She arranged an awards dinner and invited her star performer to accept his beautifully framed award certificate. Yet the reaction she got was anything other than glee. In fact, under his breath - but loud enough for people to hear – the star performer made a derogatory remark about what the company could do with its plaque. 64 65
  34. 34. For the next 12 months, the previous year’s star continued to be an outstanding performer. The new manager again wanted to recognise this employee’s contribution, but did not want to go through the humiliation of another awards ceremony. One day, she dropped by his desk and noticed the photos of his kids throughout his cube. After speaking to his colleagues, she discovered his children were the most important things in his life. So instead of a certificate, the manager contacted the top achiever’s wife and secretly arranged for a professional photo shoot of his family. When the award dinner came around again and the same man’s name was announced as the winner of the top accolade, he rolled his eyes as he came to the podium. Yet when the framed portrait was presented, his eyes filled with tears and he whispered his thanks and how beautiful the award was. Plus when Dad got home the children were so excited to share their side of the story and the secret surprise they had been part of for him. The lesson? A one-size fits all reward and recognition program is an impersonal exercise and totally defeats the purpose. Without spending a dollar more, by making the process playful and personal to suit individual employees, workplace rewards can become more meaningful, memorable and motivating. Remember, people are people. A sense of personality and fun are both essential when it comes to adequately expressing gratitude for going beyond the call. Putting generosity and authentic gratitude at the heart of your workplace can have an amazing impact on morale, motivation and engagement. 66 67
  35. 35. Below are some stories of thanks that have resonated in the workplace: “We gave two of our staff members a holiday at a very exclusive platinum chalet at a beautiful resort. These two staff work longer hours than everyone else and continued their work at home until late at night. Always, they were at work earlier than everyone else and always gave 100%. They also were in quite ill health and had many personal issues including financial, none of which stopped them from giving their best. We presented this as a travel document in ribbon and announced it in front of everyone to show the other staff how much we appreciated all their hard work and how this hard work can be rewarded. It made us feel like we had given them something they would never be able to do for themselves. A feeling of great fulfilment and satisfaction to make someone happy for not only doing their job but going that extra mile.” “One of our manufacturing partners arranged for a mobile Boost Juice stand to be set up in our boardroom. This was in appreciation of the previous fiscal year. Staff were invited to grab their juice to give them a BOOST in sales for the new fiscal year. This was a great initiative and made everyone feel really valued. It also gave our team a focus for the day to develop new opportunities on behalf of the manufacturer.” “My last day of a job I had held for many years, these people were more family than friends - They surprised me with a hamper full of things that we shared together in the office. It was a huge basket with salad dressings we shared at lunch, wine we shared on Friday arvo and snacks and treats we sneaked when we were feeling naughty! I was so over-whelmed by the thoughtfulness that went into putting this hamper together, it was an unforgettable present and a perfect ending to my time there!” 68 69
  36. 36. “Just recently I was called into my manager’s office who wanted to say thank you very much on behalf of the team for doing such a great job. We recently had done a huge mailout to referrers and I had the HUGE job of entering all the responses from the returned survey forms into our database, which wasn’t an easy task trying to read all the doctors’ handwriting. The company I work for had given me two Gold Class movie vouchers. I wasn’t expecting anything for doing this particular job as it was part of my job anyway. Receiving the Gold Class Movie Vouchers made me feel really appreciated and lucky to work for such a wonderful company who looked after their employees, I felt really valued. I was very grateful for the gift, as I have never been to Gold Class Movies before. I have worked for the same company for 11 years now and I am still a very happy employee.” 70 71
  37. 37. chapter 5 Paying It Forward: FiveThanksADay.Org “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘thank you?’” - William Arthur Ward 72 73
  38. 38. So we know what giving thanks can do for others and ourselves; we know how it works on a personal and professional level and the extraordinary (and simple) ways people can make an impact with their generosity. If you’re anything like me, you’re now turning over ideas on how you can interweave gratitude into your daily life so that it is second nature yet special. Of course grand gestures are fabulous and almost guaranteed to make an impact, but if you take anything from my musings it is that we can all adopt simple practises to acknowledge and express thankfulness every day. Firstly, visit FiveThanksADay.Org. Happiness is infectious and one of the simplest ways to make someone’s day is simply by acknowledging them authentically by saying “thank you”. Quite simply you can ‘pass it on’. If you choose to authentically thank five people a day for what they have done for you, and you did this for 100 days, then 500 people are going to feel better for it. Those 500 people might in turn thank someone else. You could even pass this little book on from time to time. Order a few copies and give them to people you know who are in touch with other people a lot. I’d like to capture more of these stories, so we simply and effectively notice how - by giving thanks - we are making this country a happier one. So, please, visit FiveThanksADay.Org and share what happens when you start committing to saying five-thanks-a-day. 74 75
  39. 39. Here are some suggestions to get you started: 1. Write it in a letter - or in an email; on a card; in a text message; the back of an envelope; or a fortune cookie. Put it in writing, make it personal, go to the effort. 2. Use your words - say it face to face and say it from the heart. Also extra points if you call someone instead of texting and make actual contact rather than leaving a voicemail. 3. Make a mental note - at the end of every day, instead of thinking about all you have to do, count your blessings. Reflect on that which you have (not lack) in your life and feel good about them. 4. This one’s on me - pick up the tab for a meal, coffee or parking. Make it a surprise rather than an expected part of your time together. 5. Gift card - a little amount towards a store, experience or service of interest can say a lot. 6. Dear Diary - if keeping a journal is your thing, keep a record of that which you have gratefully received in your life each day. 7. To the heart via the stomach - say it with food; a hamper of favourites; a box of chocolates; your specialty meal. 8. Pray - give thanks in prayer. 76 77
  40. 40. 9. Tell one tell all - make your thank you public... during a speech, in an office memo, on Facebook, in front of a gathering. 10. Meditate - make your gratitude your mantra. 11. Clean - reduce someone else’s workload by tidying their house, your room, clearing their gutters, polishing their car. 12. Donate - make a financial contribution to someone’s favourite charity in their name. 13. Volunteer - give your time for free to help out a worthy cause. 14. Return the favour - when someone watches your back (or your kids), find a way to help them out another day in kind. 15. Say cheese - send a photo of you showing your gratitude for a gift you received or for the time you have spent with someone (tip: Instagram is an easy way to add serious bling to digital pics). 16. Time out - of your busy schedule to spend time with someone who deserves it. 17. Let it show let it show let it show - If someone makes you happy, let them see that they do. Smile. Give them your best self. 78 79
  41. 41. 18. Rally the troops - someone has to be the one to organise the group card or gift, why not you. 19. A bunch in bloom - cliché or not, it’s hard to go past pretty flowers without smelling the roses. 20. Art with heart - take a leaf out of the kids’ book and make your own thank you card or personalised, one of a kind piece of art or craft. 21. Reward with an award - light-hearted and silly for friends and family or formally presented professional recognition for the workplace. 22. Testimonial - provide a professional recommendation – in a letter, via LinkedIn or agree to participate in a professional case study. 23. Create your own Karma - pay forward any good fortune or treatment; do unto others as has been done to you. Unexpected thank yous can mean so much. I challenge you to thank five people today... people who usually don’t get noticed. The dry cleaner perhaps? What about the bus driver who got you to your destination safely and on time? It just takes noticing. We, as customers, can really impact the level of enjoyment someone has in doing their job. For example, I received the following email from a member of the audience of one of my speaking engagements. It was a delight to receive and to be told that my hour-long speech has made a difference to someone... 80 81
  42. 42. Hi Naomi, I heard you speak recently at Air New Zealand’s leadership college at Auckland. I must confess to having never heard of you or your organisation before. I found you a delight to listen to and lots of what you said made sense to me. I didn’t really see how most of the customer contact stuff would relate to me as I work in line maintenance looking after the servicing and repair of aeroplanes before they venture off across the Pacific or Tasman. However, a recent event reminded me of what you said about surprising and delighting the customer. I was onboard NZ2 for Los Angeles with 5-10 minutes to go before departure, completing some last minute stuff (refuelling, paperwork, etc) when a flight attendant asked me to check a reading light in the premium economy section. The light needed relamping so I got a spare lamp from the flight deck and replaced the failed one. After I had done this I noticed the passenger seemed really happy and he told me that in all his years of travelling he had never known an airline that would actually fix something for a passenger right before departure as I had done. This also reminded me of what you said about thanking people, because being thanked in this manner made me feel fantastic for the rest of my shift and probably for a good few days after as well. Best regards, Shaun Houlahan Thank you, Shaun - those two magic words really do make an amazing difference. 82 83
  43. 43. What does it mean to be thankful? This is the question Naomi Simson, founder of RedBalloon, asks of us. Serving close to two million customers with memorable experiences, she has been privileged to see inside other people’s lives; particularly around very personal occasions such as births, marriages, anniversaries and celebrations. She has witnessed the rawness of emotion, pure joy and the simplicity of happiness. One by one; gift by gift; thanks by thanks; we can all make a difference to relationships and the way people feel. Thank you is infectious. Within these pages you’ll discover stories and simple insights into how easy it is to make another human being’s day by simply saying thank you - and in so doing, contribute to happiness. Share your own stories of thanks at http://fivethanksaday.org

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