Take a minute and think back on the times in your life when you felt really appreciated. What did people tell you? When did they tell it to you? Was it public or in a private conversation? How did it make you feel?
While being the recipient of genuine appreciation is an amazing feeling, being the giver of appreciation is an equally freeing and powerful moment. When I am able to bring myself to a sense of gratitude for people and appreciate them for who they are, I have found my outlook on things will begin to clear, opening up endless possibilities.
So I have been trying a few things to begin to improve my ability to express appreciation much more urgently. Here are a few:
Be intentional. Look for every opportunity to show someone your appreciation when they have made an impact on you. Like many things, it will start with a conscious decision and by taking action.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. We often wait until someone is leaving for another job, moving to another location, or has passed away to express our true appreciation for them. Give the gift of appreciation while it can be appreciated.
Don’t wait for big things. Maybe it was just a smile when you needed one or a kind word. Appreciating small things will begin to form the habit of being someone who appreciates everything.
Say it, write it, or buy it when you think it. I have found hand-written notes have the most impact but whatever you do, again, don’t delay. Keep the time between the action and your appreciation as short as possible.
Produce an inventory. If you need to, take a couple of minutes at the end of the day to capture a list of those who has impacted you or may need a gesture of appreciation.