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The Price of Gratitude

Valuing something so simple could not be harder

Originally written on Thanksgiving Day, but worth remembering this every day of the year and especially as we move into the holiday season, so wanted to share here as well.

360+ days a year, I’m a pricing guy. I think about pricing constantly. Clients ask me to help identify the right price for their products, how pricing communicates the value of their brands, and how changes in relative price between products and offerings will influence consumers’ choices. Even when I’m “off the clock,” I’m at the grocery store thinking about whether it makes sense to buy two small bags of chips on deal, or one large bag not on deal, and out to dinner with my wife she often says “you’re the pricing guy, does it make sense to order wine by the glass, or should we get a bottle?” Always the latter.

Today, though, is different. I’ve been thinking today about the price of gratitude. It’s free. Thanksgiving is a rare day: outside of the emergency run to the local supermarket for the forgotten item required for the once-a-year recipe, few of us actually spend any money on anything. Instead, we take the time to reflect on the things we are grateful for, and that reflection is healthier than the most organic of eggs, more fulfilling than the richest of stuffings, and more priceless than the rarest of wines.

In my professional life, there is much to be thankful for. A Firm that has invested in my business and ideas. Colleagues that make my career rewarding and exciting by virtue of their partnership. Clients that push me to create new and different types of value with every interaction. Even competitors whose mere presence forces me to constantly “sharpen the sword.” And of course my wife, who encourages me to never stop pursuing my passions, which she recognizes go far beyond the price per ounce curve on restaurant menus.

And in our personal lives, that gratitude extends to friends, families, neighbors who help you out in times of need, and even the clerks at the supermarket who go out of their way to help you find that weird item you are searching for (canned jackfruit, anyone?).  Recently we were on a trip to London when a pipe in our backyard burst, flooding both our yard and the neighbors’.  We were relatively new to the neighborhood, and our next door neighbor didn’t even have our phone number.  He found it by contacting someone who he thought knew my mother-in-law, who contacted her, who connected us 5000 miles away and allowed us to get the issue resolved.  Had he not done that, who knows how long would have passed before the issue was fixed.  Simply saying thank you and recognizing how out of his way he went for us has now blossomed into a friendship that makes our neighborhood that much better.

We ALL have stories like this, so spend today remembering them, and if you are like me and you spend some portion of your professional day thinking about data, pricing, and how to improve your business, stop thinking about willingness to pay for a few minutes and realize that the price of gratitude is free, and its rewards and fulfillment are priceless.

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