Say Thank You! A Lesson in Gratitude from Emilio Estefan

Last month I took a trip to Miami for Hispanicize 2012. One part of the entire experience has stuck with me each day since I have been back. “Say thank you. It makes a difference.” -Emilio Estefan

Emilio Estefan was awarded the Latinovator Award and he generously shared from his heart what it took to become the success he and his family are today. When he spoke of his wife Gloria, you could hear the love and respect in his voice. Emilio has an amazing story of becoming the man of his family at such a young age in Cuba to succeeding in America as a Grammy Award winning producer and more. He was funny, moving and motivating.

Still the two statements I remember the most:

1. Say thank you.

2. Wake up early.

Two very basic statements especially coming from someone who has accomplished so much.

Emilio Estefan Interview at Hispanicize

Say Thank You. This one is not a problem for me. At times, I will go out of my way to express my gratitude. Not necessarily in a confetti and streamers kind of way but I make it a point to look the person in the eye when I say “thank you.” Even the small tasks that get done could be acknowledged especially if it has made your day/job/project easier.

People appreciate people who say thank you.

In the last few years, I’ve even learned how important it is to say thank you when someone offers you a compliment. Why do we try to dismiss the compliments anyway? Is this a cultural thing? As Latinos or women, or both? I mean, really, someone is saying something nice about you! It’s easy to say thanks too.


“Your last blog post was funny!”

“It just kinda came out that way.”


“Your last blog post was funny!”

“Thanks! I appreciate that!”

See, did that hurt? (Disclaimer: I am not fishing for compliments but do accept them happily.)

Gratitude Quote by Emilio Estefan

Get up early. Well, that one is a bit more challenging. We all know the saying “the early bird gets the taco” … or something like that … “pero, the night owl eats the leftover cheesecake!” I know there are advantages to waking up before sunrise. And one day (when I grow up) I will learn what they are. I have learned enough to know that when successful innovators/entrepreneurs/leaders offer advice, you listen. (So maybe I’ll grow up sooner than you think.)

Tell me, do you say ‘Thank You’? What about waking up early?