Say It Don't Just Think It

I haven’t met a person yet who doesn't love to receive acknowledgement, thanks or appreciation. So if that is true, why is it so difficult to do? How often do you quietly, internally think positive thoughts about a colleague, friend or family member and yet hesitate saying something. My hunch is a lot. We humans are masters of assumptions. We assume that those we value the most intuitively know that we think highly of them and appreciate their efforts. Because of the work that I do as a coach, I have come to realize that the art of appreciation is a huge skill to cultivate in leaders. And yet, it’s not just a leader’s job to do. We all need to and can develop this basic life skill. The result will be strong, respectful relationships. Appreciation goes a long way to create positivity in the face of challenge. It’s also the glue that holds relationships together. When people feel connected, they will be more likely to provide support, go the extra mile, be more flexible, and ultimately be more creative.

If all that is true, what will it take to start saying what we appreciate and value about each other instead of just thinking it? It’s just simple practice. If you think it tell someone. You’ll be delighted by the response.

Here’s a really simple process to help you along the way.

Notice your positive thought.

Get the attention of the person you want to appreciate. Tell them in person if you can. If not, via email or phone is good too. Do it in the moment…don’t wait for some day.

Say “I appreciate that (insert the specific behaviour or action)…It made me feel (insert your feeling/response)…”

Conclude by saying “I just wanted to thank you.”This is wildly basic and easy to do. And yet, people seem to have edges and barriers to doing this simple act. I suspect it’s because they don’t have a lot of practice giving positive feedback and acknowledgement. For some, it’s emotional or vulnerable to appreciate another person. Speaking from the heart can be edgy. If so, this simple art of appreciation is a low risk way of sharing feelings.

I believe that the world would be a better place if we all cultivated our ability to share our positive thoughts about people more openly. A kinder, gentler and more tolerant world would result. For the sake of that, I challenge you to appreciate 10 people in your life in the next 24 hours. Share your appreciations out loud and see what happens.

PS. For those on the receiving end of an acknowledgement, your only job is to say “Thank You”. Soak it in and cherish it. That’s proper manners when receiving any gift.