By Tino Mantella
TLG President & CEO
“I have only just a minute,
Only sixty seconds in it.
Forced upon me, can’t refuse it.
Didn’t seek it, didn’t choose it.
But it’s up to me to use it.
I must suffer if I lose it.
Give account if I abuse it.
Just a tiny little minute,
but eternity is in it.”
Dr. Benjamin Mays wrote this poem and it’s one of my all-time favorites. The late US Representative Elijah Cummings recited this 54-word poem by Dr. Mays, a pioneering civil rights leader who was the president of Morehouse College during Martin Luther King Jr.’s education there, during his first congressional speech. King cited Mays as one of his great influences. Mays gave the eulogy at King’s funeral after his assassination in 1968.
There are a multitude of ways to optimize our minutes in life. One of the best ways is to show gratitude. For example, sharing thanks through a call, text, or an in-person gesture. Then, there is the lost art of a written letter.
Allow me to share a recent personal experience to emphasize the point that taking a minute to share gratitude is one of the most powerful and meaningful ways to make a difference.
While discussing our public relations strategy for 2023, I promised our Marketing Manager that I would bring in my PR file that I retained from my years as President and CEO of the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG). We had a lot of success in Public Relations at TAG because we were able to position ourselves as a key player in developing Atlanta’s booming Technology Industry. As I looked through the folder, I came across several saved letters from members that personally thanked me for my work at TAG. Our success at TAG was a team effort; nevertheless, I so appreciated the sentiment, even today. The notes of appreciation were similar because they were no more than a couple paragraphs. They might have only taken a minute to write, yet, they meant more than the authors could ever imagine.
Here are a few excerpts from the letters to give you a flavor of the power of the pen. “I’m grateful to learn from you and I hope our paths cross again”. “You have done an amazing job growing TAG and building the Georgia technology community”. “You’ve shared your influence with many throughout your time at TAG”. “TAG is a powerhouse thanks to your leadership”.
Sometimes all of us need to be reminded that people recognize something about us that is positive. In an era where hate speech, bullying, and negative-sharing are on the rise, it’s time that we double-down on gratitude. Take a few of your precious moments each day to write a note to let someone know that you recognize their value. It can make all the difference in the world.