There is a store in Paris called MERCI. Those of you who know French know that the word merci means “Thank You.” To name the store “Thank You” made me wonder exactly what the owners had in mind.
What I learned was that the founders decided that part of the proceeds of their business would “… serve to finance acts of human development, particularly in education, in southwest Madagascar.” Check out their website and see how they describe their determination to be grateful and give back: www.merci-merci.com. Here it is explained (in part):
THE ENDOWMENT FUND
The endowment fund is supported by the profits generated by Merci, by gifts from the Cohen family as well as by outside donors. More than 300,000€ have already been given to the funds.
Since the end of 2012, more than 900 children have benefited from the pleasure of enjoying a well-balanced daily meal. The medium-term aim is to do everything to integrate education into the heart of this micro-region of southwest Madagascar and to make the school, the only solid and stable institution, the center of a human eco-system that ensures a real development and not just one happy exception in the region.
Entrepreneurial philanthropy is not new. But to take the step to give the store a name that underscores the reality caught my attention. As I walked and looked at the goods, I was impressed. Seeing the word ‘Merci’ everywhere reminded me of their mission. They take being grateful seriously.
I tell my clients to be appreciative and grateful. I suggest they take a little time every morning to either write down or speak out loud three things for which they are grateful. (It may start out general/impersonal with “I’m grateful that the sun is shining,” and that’s ok. It will expand.)
Start doing it – and ask your family to do the same. (Over breakfast? In the car during carpool? Before you check your email?)
It’s a little reminder that you – regardless of what’s happening in your life – really do have people/situations/things for which you are thankful. Maybe you don’t own a business but you can make the decision to express your gratitude. It doesn’t take long, and you will start your day in a much better frame of mind.
I am grateful for you.