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The power of appreciation

Updated: May 26, 2022

Make your day by making someone else's day!

My wife loves to stop and thank a veteran for their service to our country. Often, we'll be shopping and I'll be talking and turn to her and find myself to have been talking into thin air because she spotted someone in a veteran's hat across the store and took off to thank them! Once, this happened on an occasion when I wasn't with her. She saw a man wearing a Vietnam Veteran hat who had a young child with him, presumably his grandson. She went over and bent down to the child and said, "Did you know that your grandpa is a hero?". He looked up and said, "Really grandpa, you're a hero?" At this, Angie straightened up and saw that the veteran had tears in his eyes. He explained that in all the years since he had returned from Vietnam that no one had ever said that to him.

All those years after his sacrifice and no one had bothered to say "Thank you". Don't you know that they both left the store walking on air?! She made both her day and his day in one brief interaction. Appreciation takes such little time and often no money, but it can make a world of difference. Think of how many times you've poured your heart into something and never had it appreciated appropriately, if at all. I once was getting to know someone who is now a long-time friend. She mentioned that she had recently been divorced. I asked if she thought there was any chance for reconciliation or if she would consider marriage again. She responded by looking me dead in the eye and saying, "I will never give that much to anyone again." After a pause that seemed quite long, I said, "Maybe the real problem isn't that you gave too much, but that you were appreciated too little", which also brought tears to her eyes.

I learned that day that performance problems often are not performance issues, they are often appreciation issues. Coach John Wooden used to tell his players at UCLA that anytime they scored a basket after someone made an assist, they should turn to the teammate who made the assist and thank them. Once a player asked him, "But what if they aren't looking?" to which Coach Wooden replied, "They'll always be looking."

Isn't that the case? Aren't we and others always looking? What about your teammates? How can you let them know you were looking, and appreciating their contribution, their dedication, their good intentions? In this day many teams are looking for motivation to keep going. Healthy motivation is fueled by knowing you are doing a good job and making a difference. Even if the road is a long one, appreciation calls the best in people to the front and puts it in the spotlight!

Who can you shine the spotlight on today? Maybe the appreciation is for something long overdue, as with the veteran, or maybe it's something fresh from today. If you find things to be grateful for, you'll find things to appreciate in others. After all, where would any of us be without the contributions of others? Let's let them know we appreciate them! If your team could use a boost or an "assist" with appreciating each other, let me know and we can plan how to lift them higher. I'm at Thank you and I hope you have a beautiful day knowing the difference you make!

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