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Two. Four. Six. Eight. Who do you appreciate?

Sep 07, 2021

As you reflect on your world over the last eighteen months, who needs a little more appreciation from you?  Who stepped up to help you or support you with whatever challenges you faced?  Who was it that you could depend on no matter what?  Who had your back? To whom do you owe a debt of gratitude?

One of the things I've come to realize is that most of us crave more appreciation, more recognition, more acknowledgement for our contributions.  There is never enough.  This is an area where it's difficult to go overboard.  It happens, but most of us don't even come close. 

Most of us need to express more appreciation for those players in our lives that we tend to take for granted.  Who are those people for you?

Appreciation and expressed gratitude costs little if anything.  And it's one of our best tools for getting more of what we want in life.  If it's difficult for you to express sincere thanks, it is well worth cultivating as a skill.  It's important to be authentic and explicit because people can see through fake and empty words.  There are so many great books on this subject that will convince you of the value of gratitude. 

There are many ways to practice gratitude. Some of my favorites include keeping a daily journal to record the things and people I especially appreciate each day. Some people wake up and list things they are grateful for as they face the day; others think about it just before going to sleep.  In a leadership program I teach, we have an activity in which people take just five minutes to go outside, breathe in nature and ponder what they are most grateful for. Some come back into the room emotional from the brief experience. 

Once you get started, it can become overwhelming just how much there is in your life that you truly appreciate, when you take the time.

Beyond reflection, it can make quite an impression when you communicate appreciation to someone who may not expect it.  At a training event I attended, Jack Canfield assigned an activity to think of someone who had make a difference in our lives, either personally or professionally.  And then, to write that person a letter expressing just what impact they made and why it mattered.  In this exercise, it is not necessary to send the letter, but you certainly can.  I did.  To two different people, one professional, one personal. 

The impact those letters had was enormous.  I was told that the one person still had my letter on her deathbed, re-read and re-folded until it was well worn. I will never forget that experience.  Most of us crave more appreciation, more recognition, more acknowledgement for our contributions.

That may be a dramatic example, but I want to encourage the value of everyday expressions of thanks.  Write an email today to someone you have especially appreciated over the last eighteen months, someone you may have taken for granted, someone who has been there for you.  If your letter is sincere and explicit, you will be surprised at the impact it has, on the sender as well as the recipient. 

Then, determine how you can acknowledge all the good things - and good people - in your life as a regular practice.  It may be just the boost you need right now.

While we're at it, I encourage you to think about yourself.  What is it about you that you appreciate the most?  What are those things you know, think, or do that make you special?  How do you make a difference in the world of others?  What makes you unique? 

Often, we are so busy beating ourselves up for the things we haven't done, we forget to appreciate what we have done.  Take some time today to appreciate you. You are worthy of your own gratitude for showing up every day, doing the best you can under challenging circumstances, and keeping on keeping on.  Don't underestimate your own contributions to your world and the world.

For what it's worth, I want you to know that I appreciate you.  I appreciate you reading my letters and my blogs.  I appreciate your comments and questions and feedback on the topics.  I appreciate your sharing my messages with your friends or on social media when I post them. 

And so, I'd love to hear from you on this topic.  Who do you appreciate and why?  And what is it that you appreciate most about yourself

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