The Awesome Power of Showing Appreciation

I am mostly offline, attending a business conference. I have asked several bloggers to post in my absence. This is a guest post by Tracy Letzerich, a stay-at-home mom and former strategy-consultant-turned-algebra-teacher. She blogs at Time With Tracy. You can also follow her on Twitter. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

It doesn’t matter whether your office is a boardroom, classroom, or laundry room. There are people who do things for you every day. Employees, colleagues, and family are expected to do their part. Do they know that you appreciate them?

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/aiseeit

It was a typical Monday, and I was about to churn out a business-like email to my husband. Have you heard back from the tax guy? Don’t forget the teacher-parent conference on Thursday. Oh, and the neighbors are irritated because you put the recycle bin out on the wrong day.

In the middle of composing this gem of gentle reminders, a terrible realization came over me: I send a similar email to my husband every Monday. Imagine his excitement when my name appears in his inbox! I began to wonder. Does he know how much I appreciate him?

I deleted my nagging email and wrote this instead:

A few important things:

  1. Thank you for working hard each day for our family.
  2. Thank you for loving me even when I don’t deserve it.
  3. Thank you for folding laundry.
  4. Thank you for moving us back to Texas.
  5. Thank you for encouraging us to eat healthy in the New Year.
  6. Thank you for reading to the kids at night. You’re the best dad in the world.
  7. Thank you for cleaning out the garage last weekend.
  8. Thank you for making me laugh.
  9. Thank you for taking our son to school in the mornings. It helps me so much.
  10. Thank you for choosing the scary movie that gave me nightmares last weekend (had to sneak that one in there). Prepare for a chick flick.

No big deal, right? Wrong! The lasting effect this message had on my husband’s day was exponentially longer than the amount of time it took me to write it. He didn’t arrive home depleted and exhausted from the stress of the day. He had a spring in his step. He felt appreciated.

Appreciation is powerful. Apply it to your relationships in these practical ways:

  • Boost morale by celebrating success. In the mentoring I do, I often hear executives express frustration with their team’s performance and morale. My first question: “What is your team doing well?” Surely they’re good at something. It’s quite possible they don’t feel appreciated for the things they’re expected to do, so why should they go the extra mile? Acknowledge the work they put into the daily grind. Celebrate small victories.
  • Use appreciation as a motivational tool. When I taught middle school, I learned that acknowledging my students’ efforts, no matter how small, was a great motivator. This is especially effective with low performers. Johnny was a mess of a math student. He used pen. He rarely completed his homework. The correct answers eluded him. So when he started to meet two basic expectations, I jumped at the chance to write, “Thank you for using pencil! I also noticed that you attempted each problem. What a great way to learn!”
  • Publicly acknowledge individual contributors. At the beginning of class each day, we had a routine. My students were expected to work quietly on a warm-up problem. Sounds simple enough. But getting a room full of 13-year-olds to do this some days felt more like herding cats. “I see that Katie and Davis have their homework out and they’ve already completed the warm-up. We’re going to have a great class today!” Acknowledging people in front of their peers does two things. It gives recognition to those doing what’s expected and it nudges those needing to change their behavior.

Want to see ordinary people accomplish extraordinary things? Show appreciation for what they already do, and report back on the results. Imagine the impact you can have on someone simply by recognizing their value.

Question: Who will you take the time to appreciate today? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    I’m meeting with four of my team members today.  It will be fun to be more intentional in my appreciate to each of them as we get together.  Thanks for the reminder!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Great, Jon! You’ll have to let me know how it’s received.

    • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

      That’s a great idea.

  • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com/ Patricia Zell

    At school, I almost always recognize students (and staff) that I meet in the hallways. Sometimes, I say to them, “Would you do me a big favor…would you have an excellent day!” Often there are doubletakes as they figure out what I just said, but they end up smiling and saying thanks. Beyond showing appreciation, speaking positive words to people puts them in the position of being blessed. Since God is in the business of blessing people and of helping them in times of trouble, we can be in business with Him by setting the stage for His work through the kindness we show others.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Good point, Patricia. It sounds like you have a contagious good attitude! I sure would like to run into you throughout my day.

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

        Just what I was thinking. I need a Patricia encounter once every couple hours. ;)

    • Tgold1964

      You are so true a lot of negativity has been coming out from me, how to not do that when the person most dear to you has a hard time encouraging me. God forgave me and I must relearn to forgive him.

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  • http://runningwithhorses.wordpress.com/ Steve Hawkins

    Someone once said to hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don’t unravel. I have many people to thank today. Thanks for the reminder. 

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Wow, I like that, Steve. I think that saying deserves a permanent spot on my desk.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        I agree!

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      That’s good!

  • http://www.ChristianFaithAtWork.com/ Chris Patton

    Tracy, this is right on time for me.  Though I know this intuitively, this post is a great reminder.

    I am doing a series on my blog (Here) about creating employee engagement.  This is certainly a crucial part of that topic.  I will have to add another post to that series just to cover the power of showing appreciation.

    Thanks for the easy tips!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      I’m so glad, Chris! Isn’t it funny how we can know something intuitively, but fail to put it into action? I struggle with this every day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=502568182 Bobby F

    I am a long term reader of your blog and I must say you have some great posts which I really enjoy reading on the way to work on the London Underground, really enjoying your podcast. Keep up the great work.

  • Neville L

    Such a great reminder to take the time and let others know the impact they are having.  We all have the opportunity to make the world a better place, one word of encouragement at a time.  Thanks for bringing this to top of mind.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      It really can make such an impact! The good thing is, it takes less time than we think. I am trying to make it more of a habit rather than a task.

  • http://www.michaelnichols.org/about Michael Nichols

    Wow. Great idea! I wish I had thought of this prior to being prompted by you. My wife will appreciate you next time she reads MY email to her. ;)

    You are so right – to effectively lead people, they must know that we care. http://www.michaelnichols.org/leaders-who-care 

    Thank you for the reminder, Tracy!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      I’m sure you will make her day!

      • http://www.michaelnichols.org/about Michael Nichols

        She loved it!  I’m going to use it with others too! – team members, friends, etc. Great exercise!

        • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

          I’m trying to make it more of a habit as well. Glad to hear you’re putting it into action!

  • http://chrisvonada.com chris vonada

    I appreciate you writing this beautiful post today Tracy… Be Great!!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Thank you, Chris. I appreciate you reading it!

  • Tinaleeluvsmusic

    It’s sad, but my Mom is the one I need to appreciate more. Thanks for the nudge(:

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      I didn’t truly appreciate my mom until I had children myself. I need to do more to show how thankful I am for all the things she’s done for me. So thank YOU for that reminder.

  • http://twitter.com/Juanbg Juan

    Yeah! We should treat others the way we like to be treated. I’d like for people to recognize me, when they look at me – that they’d see in my chest a sign – make me feel important.  Easy to say when it is about me, tough when it is about others, specially in the hectic frantic lifestyles we live these days. It is about taking a one-second pause to think about them before we say or do anything.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      It feels great when people simply notice what we do, even if we’re expected to do it! Oftentimes I think about how much I appreciate someone’s actions, but I fail to tell them. I have to constantly remind myself to do it.

  • Janalackey

    As a missionary in Africa I want to appreciate my husband, Jerry Lackey for blazing the trail this month in the USA to share the vision and get more people on board with us on this amazing ride we have been on for 25 years! Time apart really does make me appreciate all the things he does and just the confidence that he instils in everyone around him!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Let me just say that I appreciate YOU for doing missionary work in Africa!

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        Same here!

  • http://twitter.com/TheJohnLaffoon John Laffoon

    What if you want to show appreciation, but some serious issues need to be critiqued and delt with? Thanks for the great reminder and blog!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Great question. I’d suggest starting off with pointing out something you appreciate or something the person is doing well. Never start with the negative. Then follow up with constructive criticism. Giving someone the opportunity to improve is a good thing. Tactfully, of course.

    • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

      I like the “oreo” principle:  You start off with the some good stuff, you put the critique in the middle, and then you conclude with some more good stuff.

      • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

        I love that, Kelly. The concept of the Oreo is easy to remember and simple to apply!

    • Paul White

       John, in working with teams and managers, Dr. Chapman & I have found that sometimes it is important to deal with the outstanding issues first — otherwise the appreciation is viewed as contrived and not genuine.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      John,

      I think most  people know if you have their best intentions at heart when you are “critiquing” them.  Here is the great thing about encouraging other people— if you encourage them frequently enough when the time comes to interject some healthy constructive criticism you will have earned the right to be heard and the person will care what you have to say. 

      • Rachel Lance

        Great point Barry, there’s something to be said for establishing a culture of appreciation & encouragement.

      • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

        Paul makes a good point that you don’t want the appreciation to come across as contrived. In deciding whether to address the outstanding issue first or start with a positive, I think you have to determine the best approach based on the individual and the circumstance. I personally prefer not to start out with a negative. It’s not my style. With that said, if I don’t have anything positive to say, I won’t make something up or shell out a contrived compliment. People can see straight through that. I also like what Barry said. People can tell when you are correcting them for the sake of being critical versus genuinely wanting to help them improve. 

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Paul makes a good point that you don’t want the appreciation to come across as contrived. In deciding whether to address the outstanding issue first or start with a positive, I think you have to determine the best approach based on the individual and the circumstance. I personally prefer not to start out with a negative. It’s not my style. With that said, if I don’t have anything positive to say, I won’t make something up or shell out a contrived compliment. People can see straight through that. I also like what Barry said. People can tell when you are correcting them for the sake of being critical versus genuinely wanting to help them improve. 

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Wow Tracy, I appreciate anyone who can work with middle schoolers. As a technology person in a K-12 environment, I see the unique challenges middle school teachers face each day. The kids are going through all sorts of changes and are constantly testing the limits. To the uninitiated, it can be a real challenge. But I’ve met  some teachers that LOVE this age group. They thrive on the energy and creativity these kids have. While elementary and high school teachers have their unique challenges, it’s the middle school teachers that impress me. I don’t know how they do it…

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Haha, John, whenever I’m in a room full of teachers the joke is always this: You can spot the middle school teachers immediately…they’re slightly insane. We are armed with unconditional love and very healthy dose of sarcasm! I do love that age group.

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        Insanity is definitely part of the job description :-)

        • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

          haha!

      • http://cherionethingivelearned.blogspot.com/ Cheri Gregory

        Just “slightly”?

        ;-)

      • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

        As the mother of a middle schooler, I just want to say, “God bless you!”

        • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

          Kelly, I could say the same thing to my son’s first grade teacher! I just can’t deal with large groups of little ones who can’t tie their own shoes. Good thing we’re each made uniquely with different strengths.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        When I was in middle school back in the day, I really appreciated the teachers that taught me!

      • http://runningwithhorses.wordpress.com/ Steve Hawkins

        An elementary school teacher once told me that when she meets the parents, she forgives the kids. 

        • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

           As a youth minister, I can completely agree!

  • Alan Kay

    Appreciation, or affirmation as I like to call it is a very powerful
    tool, either in the moment or over time. The more substantive we make it the
    better. Saying, ‘You did a good job’, becomes even better for the individual
    when you add, ‘…I like how you did y, y, z’. Ii gives the person an opportunity to
    learn something about themselves. It’s especially useful when they have to
    make changes in their work, i.e., you can frame a desired change within an
    affirmation.

    Affirming with authenticity is also very useful for the recipient.
    When we show our appreciation it’s helpful to both talk about behaviors and use
    words that resonate with them.        

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Absolutely, Alan. Generic appreciation is pretty lame. The recipient can see through “you did a good job” as not very authentic. Being specific is so important. It shows that you’re actually paying attention!

      • http://cherionethingivelearned.blogspot.com/ Cheri Gregory

        Students (like the rest of us!) love knowing when they’ve had a positive impact. 

        Last year, a floundering student casually suggested “Gorilla Glue” to fix some broken desks. Initially, I thought the name was a joke; but when I saw it in the store, I figured, “Why not?” and bought a bottle. Sure enough, it worked like magic!

        The next day, I pointed out the repaired desks and thanked him for his recommendation, confessing that I’d originally thought he was messing with me but was now grateful for his expertise.

        Not only did he look pleased that day, but he started greeting me as he walked into class after that. He started doing more of his homework and turning it in. No, he didn’t become a straight A student; but he did go from failing to passing the class. 

        At the end of the year, his mother tearfully thanked me for “all you’ve done for him.”  “All” I’d done was thank him for a truly valuable contribution.

        • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

          Cool story, Cheri. You should write about it, if you haven’t already.

  • http://www.SiaKnight.com/ Sia Knight

    Hey Tracy – what  a great way to start the day! I’m a strong beleiver in this philosophy and I will be mindful about implementing in my interactions with both my students and the adults that I interact with.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Great, Sia! I feel this is especially important with kids. They can feel like adults are always “on their case.” I’ve found it extremely effective to point out what they’re doing well, mixed in with a dose of tough love when necessary.

  • www.healnowandforever.net

    I love this post.  I feel like saying thank you is much less common that it ought to be.  We can energize the world, like your husband’s spring in his step, by saying a whole bunch more thank yous!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      The sad part is, it’s so easy to do!

  • Meka A.

    Thank you for such an inspiring post!  I often talk with moms who are looking for ways to motivate their children in life.  You have  listed perfect examples of small tangible ways to do just that.  I also noticed, wether by nature or design, you are appreciating the process and not the end result.  As a mom, I see the frustration that my children have when things don’t work out the first time they try.  Welcome to a world of instant gratification!!  By appreciating the process in anything keeps your focus on the effort of doing your best and not the end result!  You have spurred me on to be a better encourager of those I come in contact with and to appreciate all the little things in life.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Hi Meka! Glad you liked the ideas. You bring up an excellent point about focusing on the process. It requires a lot of patience and grace to do that sometimes!

  • Leslie Royce

    I appreciate you for taking the time and energy to share your wisdom with us.  It is not easy to try new things, especially in dealing with the feelings of others, so having someone speak from experience is invaluable.  The smartest thing I ever did in the work environment was to acknowledge that as their supervisor I knew I was not their superior, that we were a team and the responsibility for failure fell to me but the acclaim for success belonged to the team. At each step, I noticed and encouraged and praised.  It really is as simple as the Golden Rule.  Thanks again…

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Noticing at each step; that’s great! I’m sure your people felt valued in the process.

      • Leslie Royce

        I know who taught me this and have never forgotten it.  Having a really difficult day, walking past a janitor friend and he asked How are you doing? And I said I am having a bad day.  He replied (and it has become my mantra) I thought you knew, you make the day, the day don’t make you.
        Thus when I was given a new job with a new team, I was warned that this one was slow, this one was uncooperative, et cetera, I took time to get to know the working habits of each one and discovered the one who was said to be slow was slower BECAUSE she was thinking out the process and knew better and faster ways it could be done.  I was able to get those ways into the job and we sped up so much they actually sent a monitor from corporate because they did not believe our figures.  After the realization came that we were the best and fastest team in the organization and we should write up our method, I gave them the name of the team member who had created the method – there was much shame felt by my supervisors at the way they had treated this person without ever trying to see the task from her perspective.
        She actually bloomed from this and it made me want to cry; this clever woman could have had, should have had, many such moments in her work life.  But then I remembered that at least she was appreciated and recognized for her work in her church.  So, along with praise and gratitude, we need to see the why and how of people, we need to listen to the ideas about getting the job done.  We need to hear each other.
         

        • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

          “…you make the day—they don’t make you.”

          Awesome story, Leslie!

  • http://www.lincolnparks.com Lincoln Parks

    Great points on appreciation. I think today is the day I start a year long thank you Journal to my wife. Thank you Tracey for your message. And for changing your email to your husband. I’m sure it was a refreshing change. :-)

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      I think he was in shock :)

    • Rachel Lance

      Love the journal idea – thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

    Unfortunately, it’s far easier to criticize than to give praise. It’s incumbent upon leaders to weave appreciation into interactions with our staff, colleagues, friends and family. I find that the more we do this, the more it encourages others to do so also.

    It’s funny – I think we’ve all been in jobs where we’ve felt under-appreciated. But, when we get into positions of leadership, it’s very easy to forget the importance of being grateful. If you want to have a successful business, you need to make this a priority. 

    Awesome message!

    • http://www.justcris.com/ Cris Ferreira

      Laura, I agree with you, it’s far easier to criticize than to be appreciative. And I think this goes way back. We need to show our appreciation for our children so as they grow they learn to be appreciative. Parents usually put a lot of effort into correcting the children’s attitudes (what it is not wrong per se) but they forget to thank them and show their appreciation when they get it right, so the children can grow and repeat that pattern through all their lives.

      • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

        Good point, Cris. I’m trying to make sure I say more things like “thank you for taking your plate to the kitchen counter” to my own kids and focus less on criticizing them for destroying their rooms. :)

      • Jim Martin

        Very good Cris!  I have found that my adult children continue to need and appreciate words of affirmation as well.  You are right, it is sometime far easier to criticize.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      I see all too often, when people get into leadership positions, they expect others to do things for them and don’t acknowledge the effort. It’s demoralizing to work for someone like that. Don’t point out the one thing I did wrong if you’re not going to notice the nine things I did right!

  • Wendy

    What an important reminder that Recognition and Appreciation are such powerful tools!  I always try to start each email I write (whether personal or business) with a positive note.  Because of you, today I plan on taking your lesson and writing my husband a thank you rather than a Honey-Do list.  

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      I love a good Honey-Do list! But it’s so important to weave in the appreciation. I’m sure your husband will be on cloud nine after reading your note.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I read somewhere that every correspondence (phone call, email, letter, etc.) should begin with a positive. Rather than starting off by apologizing for the late reply or commenting on how busy you are, start off with something that energizes and encourages rather than depletes. Thanks for reminding me of that, Wendy.

      • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

        Wow, Michele, thank you for that great reminder. I can’t tell you how many times I start out an email or conversation with an apology for being busy or tardy with a reply. Gulp. It’s much better to start off with something like “I’ve been thinking about you” or “I was so happy to get your voicemail!”

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

          Me too, Tracy. I used to always start out a coffee date, phone call or email with some kind of apology. Not sure why I felt a need to apologize my way through life, but I’m now working diligently to be more focused on adding value to the other person and not making it all about me.

          • http://www.15minutewriter.com Sharon Gibson

            Yes, I’ve realized this too. I’ve also read to start your emails with something about them before you get into the subject or your own sharing. I like the way you say to focus on adding value to the other person. It’s really a form of giving isn’t it? Thanks for this great insight.

      • Rachel Lance

        Love this idea – its a great challenge. So few of the emails I write or read give any space to genuine appreciation – what a way to make a difference. Thanks for the action item!

  • http://twitter.com/JoshuaBagley Josh Bagley

    Great reminder that we should have an attitude of gratitude… Thanks for the post!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      You bet, Josh. Thanks for reading.

  • http://twitter.com/peterwalters64 Peter Walters

    I have seen the power of appreciation work over and over again.  Unfortunately, as a pastor many of my colleagues do not understand its power.  I was speaking with a seminary student the other day who also works and has a family.  At his church if they ask him to participate in something and he says “no” they still put him on the list.  He is involved in finances and they will call him at work to deal with problems and here’s the kicker, they do not even cover  his photocopy paper.  This is not a church plant they have 1500 on a Sunday morning.  This stuff kills me.

    A card to say thanks, a card on a Birthday, a card to say I’m available if you need to talk will do wonders and on the plus side when you get up to speak people will listen more carefully because you have demonstrated you care.

     

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      That kind of stuff drives me crazy! We have to figure out how to love and serve people in our churches, rather than just use them. Appreciation is the perfect antidote.

      • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

        It drives me nuts, too, Michele!

      • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

        Having worked in the Church for 16 years— it drives me crazy too.  I have been very fortunate and blessed!

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

          I’m so glad you’ve had a positive experience. I grew up an elder’s daughter, was a pastor’s wife for years, and have been in various lay leadership positions since. I’ve seen all sides of the equation — some fabulous experiences, and some not-so-much. I’m hanging on to the good ones. :)

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      It amazes me how pervasive this problem can be, especially in churches. It’s bad enough to do nothing to appreciate someone, but it’s even worse to be flat out unappreciative! It’s ridiculous, really.

  • Maria Humphreys

    What a wonderful post. Thank you :)

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      You’re so welcome, Maria. Thank you for taking the time to read it.

  • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

    I will appreciate my mother. She has been so faithful!

    Question: What about when you’re the person who feels unappreciated in an organisation? I’ve learned through it what not to do, but I may continue to feel this way. Is there anything I can do to change my perspective when certain things seem like they may not change?

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      That’s a tough spot to be in, Daren. It’s hard to draw water (and then share it with others) from an empty well. When I’ve been in the position in the past, I have to intentionally shift from dwelling on what I lack to how many others likely feel the same way. If I’m feeling unappreciated in an organization, it’s likely part of the culture and not just something personal to me. I then “appoint” myself to be the one who does it different. I may not be able to change the organizational dynamics as a whole, but I can make sure at least one person knows he/she is valued.

      • http://cherionethingivelearned.blogspot.com/ Cheri Gregory

        Changing yourself and changing one other person will, ultimately, change –or at least shift! – the organizational dynamics

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

          So true. The world is changed one person at a time. We can’t underestimate the power of small decisions.

      • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

        That’s very true. Thanks for the advice!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Michele shares words of wisdom here. You don’t have control over how other people are acting or treating you. But you can decide to make a difference yourself by setting a good example. I love what Michele says. Appoint yourself Chief Encourager and start a culture of appreciation for those around you. I think you’ll find it to be contagious!

  • Anonymous

    Giving encouragement and showing appreciation comes naturally to me, but I’m rarely strategic about it. This definitely gives me some things to work on! Thanks for the post!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      I’m learning that being good at it is one thing. Being intentional about it is quite another! It’s so easy to forget.

      • Jim Martin

        I like the way you distinguish between these two, Tracy.

  • http://www.justcris.com/ Cris Ferreira

    Tracy, I had tears in my eyes as I read the email you sent to your husband. You’re right, it’s so simple and so powerful at the same time. Thanks for sharing it and the other examples with us. One’s got to walk the talk so others can follow, right? Thanks for that.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      I’m so glad my words resonated with you! Not only is it simple, it takes so little time. It took just a few minutes to write that email, but the effect lasted the entire week. Pretty good investment of time, I’d say!

  • http://exciramedia.com Shannon Steffen

    Thank you, Tracy, for being an inspiration! It’s interesting that your post should come out today when I had chosen the following quote for my Facebook status update: “Water and words… Easy to pour impossible to recover.”

    If only we would take a moment to think about the words we are using when we communicate with other people. It’s the smallest of appreciation that get the biggest return – for everyone involved.

    We are so caught up in the quickness that technology has placed on us. Instead of communication getting deeper, communication has just gotten fast and a bit demeaning. 

    It is time that we allow ourselves to breathe fully when communicating with other people. Get rid of the “communication rush” and replace it with the “communication depth”.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      What a great quote. And I like your point about technology. It might “feel” like we’re more connected these days, but it’s easy to slip into shallow communication due to the quick nature of the medium.

  • Susan

     Aprreciation is so important!  Thanks for bringing it to the forefront! I think one of the most amazing ways to show appreciation is a handwritten thank you note-not an email- a handwritten note. This almost seems to be a lost art! What do you think? Thanks again-Susan

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      It IS a lost art, Susan. A couple years ago a friend of mine started sending me handwritten letters … long two or three-pagers on spiral-bound lined paper. I saved each one, because that NEVER happens any more!

      • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

        In 2005 my best friend at work was the 8th grade English teacher. She started a club called “The Lost Art of Letter Writing” and the kids loved it! There’s nothing better than getting a handwritten note or letter. I try to write a note by hand in all of the Christmas cards I send. It’s getting harder and harder to do, and I am noticing a steep decline each year in the number of handwritten notes in the cards I receive. I think it’s so sad!

        • Rachel Lance

          Couldn’t agree more. I decided a few years ago, since I’m often not a person of very many words, that I’d make all my cards. I wanted to go a bit beyond a quick signature on a hallmark or an email that just gets lost in all the noise. I need to work on using more words of encouragement. Thanks for the great post!

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

          What a great idea! I’m afraid my kids are growing up in a world where they don’t even know what letter writing is.

  • Jennifer

    Inspirational! Thank you, Tracy!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      My pleasure, Jennifer!

  • Agatha Nolen

    Great post, Tracy! We so often get caught up in the churning of life that demands focused detail, we lose our sense of what is good. Most often the goodnss we experience is either from others directly, or shared experiences of God’s beauty. I’m changing my ways based upon your post and taking the time to write one email per day thanking someone for bringng goodness into my life.
    Right on! Hope it is catching!
    Agatha

    http://www.agathanolen.com

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Great idea, Agatha. I’ve been thinking about getting a stack of cards (remember those?) and sending one out a week to someone I appreciate.

      • http://cherionethingivelearned.blogspot.com/ Cheri Gregory

        Agatha and Michele –

        Lovely ideas! My mother is declining from Alzheimer’s Disease; receiving notes and letters is the highlight of her day. Sending her regular thank-you notes for specific way she’s shared God’s goodness in my life might be a way of reminding her of who she has been and always will be.

        • Rachel Lance

          Cheri, I love this – thanks for sharing. Those daily cards will bless your mom and those around her in this season in countless ways.

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

          This made me smile.

      • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

        I’ve been meaning to do the same thing, Michele! I think I need to actually put it on my calendar so that I get into the habit. Way to go, Agatha. I think you’ll experience a lot of joy in the process.

    • Jim Martin

      Thanks Agatha for communicating your idea.  I know others will be encouraged by your notes.

  • http://cherionethingivelearned.blogspot.com/ Cheri Gregory

    At the California Women’s Retreat a few weeks ago, Lisa Terkeurst said, “Heaven help the woman who writes one letter of complaint before she’s written 100 of appreciation!”

    This reminded me of Gottman’s research on the importance of having 5 positive communications for every 1 negative to keep a marriage healthy.

    Your approach to your “gem of gentle reminders” demonstrates intentionality in keeping the ration of appreciation/positives to critiques/negatives as high as possible!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Wow, that’s a convicting quote! I think places of business should put that up on a sign.

  • Pingback: The Awesome Power of Showing Appreciation – A Reblog « Christ Fellowship, New Port Richey

  • http://mauricefoverholt.wordpress.com/ Maurice F. Overholt

    Appreciative comments speak louder than just about anything else for me.  At one point in my career I had an assistant with whom I dreaded working every day because he thought that it was his job to mentor me (because he was older), even though I had hired him to work for me.  When we are finally able to move him, the world became a much more pleasant place because of the absence his criticism brought.  If you want my attention, appreciate something I have done.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Sheesh! Sounds like this guy was more of a “hater” than a mentor. Did you see Jeff Goins’ post about haters? He makes an important distinction between haters and critics, and provides some good strategies for dealing with them. http://goinswriter.com/haters/

    • Jim Martin

      Maurice, I was struck by your last sentence.  This is so true.  We do pay more attention to those who seem to appreciate what we have done right or done well.

      • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

        I won’t value what you have to say until I feel valued by you. Very true.

  • Andrew Acker

    I think hearing words of appreciation is everyones love language.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      No doubt!

  • http://www.thenancyway.com/ Nancy Roe

    Thank you for writing this article, Tracy.  The right chose of words makes all the difference in inspiring people to be their best. I feel appreciated personnel are happier and perform better at their jobs.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      That’s definitely true in my experience.

    • Jonathan Thompson

      I agree completely with this and I know that I work better for someone who appreciates what I do.  My wife was just on the receiving end of a very unappreciative boss yesterday.  It makes her dread going to work.

      By the way, congrats!  You are now on Bloggoround.com

      • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

        Working for an unappreciative boss is such a morale killer! It fosters resentment and affects productivity. I worked for one guy back in my consulting days who never acknowledged a single thing I did. I began to wonder if he would even notice whether or not I showed up at the office. Needless to say I did not go above and beyond while in that role. I’m not proud of that fact, but it really affected my motivation.

        • http://www.thenancyway.com/ Nancy Roe

          I was fortunate to work for an attorney that was the nicest person.  He always said “thank you” – even in emails!  I put in my 110% working for him.

      • http://www.thenancyway.com/ Nancy Roe

        Thanks! p.s. I hope your wife had a better day at work today. 

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    The day I graduated from undergraduate school an elderly professor of mine hunted me down in the hallway and handed me a card. Inside was a profoundly moving note of thanks for being in his classes and a $20 bill. I was struck by two things – first, that professor made absolutely nothing, and second, it had to take him 30-60 minutes to write that note. Out of everything Mr. Friskney taught me in all the years I sat under him, nothing impacted me more than that note and the 3 minutes we spent hugging in the hallway of Cincinnati Christian University.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Handwritten notes are so personal and make a much bigger impact! I love it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jane-Babich/100002993676826 Jane Babich

      Brian, did this act of kindness and appreciation cause you to be a note “writer”?

      • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

        You know, I’d say it definitely underscored it. I still send a handful of handwritten notes to various people every week.

    • Jim Martin

      Brian, what a wonderful story!  Wow.  I am so impressed by what your professor did that last day.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Great story, Brian!

  • Connie Almony

    Loved your note to your husband. Sending one to mine this minute!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Go girl!

  • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

    My wife! She does so much and I make sure to tell her I appreciate her daily. Also my son. He may not understand all the words I use but he certainly knows what the happy tone and a hug means. 

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Your son understands more of the words than you think! And wives love to know that they’re appreciated for all of the things they do. Some days it can feel like a thankless job drowning in mundane tasks. I’m sure it gives her a huge boost when you express your appreciation.

  • Steven Baxter

    I believe it is important to live with an attitude of grattitude. It makes my life so much more wounderful when it is not clouded by  so much negativity.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      It’s definitely a choice we have to make each day. I find it so easy to fall into the pit of negativity. It’s all around us!

    • Jim Martin

      This is a great point you make, Steven.  It is very easy to become consumed by negativity when we are expressing little or no appreciation for what others are contributing to our lives.

  • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

    Great post Tracy! I too am a member of the “laundry room” gang, and I related completely to the post. Showing appreciation makes such a big impact on people, and really is motivating.  

    I’m heading over to your blog and visit as well.  Thanks.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Love meeting a fellow gang member, Kelly. :) I enjoyed your recent guest post on Michael’s blog as well. Look forward to connecting with you.

  • Momarian

    Thank you for this post! I sent a  text of  appreciation to my dear husband. I so need to do this more often.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      I bet he loved it. A surprise note of appreciation is the best kind!

  • http://www.CrazyAboutChurch.com/ Charles Specht

    Appreciation isn’t something we think about often enough.  For men, it is a synonym for respect.  And it makes us feel loved and needed.  For women, appreciation is a symbol of love.  And everyone needs to be loved.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      So true!

  • Pingback: Just read this: The Awesome Power of Showing Appreciation « Random Thoughts from an Online Pastor

  • http://twitter.com/JobCoachHQ Douglas Andrews

    Great thoughts Tracy!  I am going to thank my wife for her hard work.  I think my staff at work could use a boost tomorrow going in to the weekend!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Thanks, Douglas! Sounds like a great way to end the week to me. Maybe it could become a Friday habit?

  • Justtssol

    I shared your article with my Director today.  He supervises approximately 400 Correction Officers and 150 Civillian Staff. That’s not including the volunteers and other individuals that are somehow involved with our facility. We all in turn supervise the 2600 inmates. It’s a very negative environment. It tends to breed so quickly once the negativity starts. Anyway, I knew he had a meeting today and I thought I would ask him to try something new. Usually everyone is disgruntled when they leave. Today, everyone left smiling and even went and ate lunch together. I didn’t know if he tried it or not but it seemed as if he had. Then, ten minutes or so after he went into his office, he sent out an email to the entire department. The email included your article and then thanked us all for all that we do. I hope he continues the path. I know I will! Thanks!!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      I can’t thank you enough for sharing this story! Your comment leaves me speechless and fighting back tears…the good kind. By sharing this with your Director today you made a huge impact on the entire facility. And I know that you will continue to make a difference! My husband volunteers at a local prison. The guys (inmates and correction officers) need simple encouragement.  It’s amazing to hear how appreciative they are when they receive it. Much more appreciative than average civilians who take it for granted. You guys have a grueling, draining job. Keep up the great work!

  • http://www.dennisbrooke.com/ Dennis Brooke

    The great thing about showing appreciation is it is usually SO cheap and easy, and like Tracy said, has an exponential effect. I wrote a post about creative ways to show appreciation that was picked up by the local paper http://dennisbrooke.wordpress.com/2011/07/05/alittlerespectplease/  Lack of appreciation is often cited as the reason that people leave jobs.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Another great point. Showing appreciation doesn’t cost much.Still so many people view it as inconvenient or unimportant. 

  • http://www.thegeezergadgetguy.com/ Thad Puckett

    I love this post!  One of my all time favorites here at MichaelHyatt.com!  Why?  Because it gets straight to a point I feel passionate about:  Celebrate those small victories!  Pass around the encouragement!  

    People respond to motivating leadership, and know when they are being manipulated!  If we can celebrate the small victories (successes), people begin to trust, and when trust prevails, organizations can do amazing things!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Right on, Thad! I love hearing when others are passionate about celebrating the small victories and providing encouragement. Too many leaders require some serious convincing to believe those things are worthwhile.

      • http://www.thegeezergadgetguy.com/ Thad Puckett

        Tracy, I was just over at your blog and discovered you are a fellow Austinite (okay, we live in the Hill Country).  

        Subscribed to your blog via RSS!

        • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

          Cool. We love the Hill Country! Thank you for subscribing, Thad.

  • http://bit.ly/hWr7Cw Rob T

    Great post and great reminder.  I think I will email my wife right now! :-) 

  • Jim Martin

    Tracy, this is an outstanding post!  You are right, showing appreciation is incredibly important.  It also get us out of ourselves and reminds us of how much others contribute to our work and lives.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Thank you, Jim. It’s so easy to become consumed with our to-do lists and focused on ourselves. It’s harder to look around and notice what others are doing for us. I know I tend to take the day-to-day things for granted.

  • Emily

    Awesome post! So many people tend to focus on the negative, so it’s always important to remind ourselves to be appreciative. Thanks!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      I agree. We focus on the negative so easily. It’s just our human nature. I have to make a conscious decision to focus on the things around me that are going WELL on a daily basis.

  • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

    Awesome post Tracy! I will show appreciation to my wife and kids today. I shared this post everywhere, great message!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Thank you for sharing!

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    I like your 4th appreciation to your husband. I look forward some day to getting that note from my wife (we’re in Wisconsin, her home state; you can guess where I grew up–let’s just say, at one time, I considered Austin “up north”).

    Yesterday my wife said, “I’m proud of you.”

    Me: “For what?”

    Her: “Your book.” (It just released earlier this week.)

    Those words meant a great deal to me. Your article, Tracy, reminds me to let Ellen know how much she’s inspired and encouraged me and others. She’s smart, witty, and a blessing to those who know her. And she makes me feel all those things through her gracious, generous spirit.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      You should give number 4 some serious consideration! I highly recommend it. And I know that Ellen will love hearing from you on all those points. She sounds like an amazing woman. Congrats on your new book.

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

        I will forward all those comments on to her. By the way, in looking at your website, I notice you’re now in Austin (love the city, hate the traffic). My first known sale is a nice young woman from Austin (my niece wrote me Tuesday morning that she ordered it on Amazon). Thanks again for the good words.

  • Paul White

    Tracy, thanks for the excellent reminder.  A point I would add is – not everyone is encouraged or feels appreciated by verbal messages, so we can “miss” those who value other languages of appreciation.  It is important to match the form of communicating appreciation with the action most valued by the recipient — but words are a great starting point for most of us! 
    Paul White, PhD, co-author, 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Thank you for adding this important point, Paul. So often we do for others based on what WE would like. Taking the time to know and consider your recipient is an extra step, but so important if the message is to be effective. Would love to get my hands on a copy of your book.

      • Anonymous

        Paul, terrific addition. Thanks for sharing. We (and in my case those I train/consult) have to meet our people where they are. To that we have to know our people which could come easier if we engaged them on terms other than mistakes, disappointments and “constructive” criticism.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Paul, what a great point!  I haven’t seen your book but will look for it.  

      I’m guessing it has some connection to the Five Love Languages.  I’ve always wanted to adapt Gary Chapman’s philosophies for the workplace.  Please send/post your website, if available.  

      Thank you!

      • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

        I immediately thought about the Five Love Languages as well.

  • http://levittmike.wordpress.com levittmike

    The power of a genuine thank you knows no boundaries.  One of my direct reports was pretty beaten down by the deadlines imposed by another department.  He created a workaround to temporarily resolve the issue, which buys us time to correctly fix the problem.

    I thanked him for coming up with a solution (don’t come to me with problems, come to me with solutions), which seemed to lift his spirits.

    It took me a few seconds to change his outlook, and to demonstrate appreciation.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      And I bet he will continue to get creative with solutions as a result. Way to go.

  • Anonymous

    Great posting. And I especially promote the use of naming the actions and efforts that led to the recognition. In my work I’ve seen this change the morale of a high school athletic team and revolutionize a commander’s approach to creating a positive organizational climate in the US Army. Regardless of your setting, position or degree of influence we can all build trust, relationships and even higher performing individuals and teams by intentionally showing a little appreciation.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Well said, Justin!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Great examples, Justin! I believe this is directly tied to morale and overall health of a team or organization.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks Tracy. It continues to encourage me how the little things can make such a difference. I really like the catch people doing the right things that John had mentioned. There is so much power behind a leader (by position or initiative) who takes the initiative to praise others. Leaders at any level who do so will succeed.

  • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

    What a great post Tracy!  It reminds me of our responsibility as leaders to “catch” people doing desirable things and to share those stories publicly.  It’s the best form of motivation.  Thanks for posting!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Exactly, John. I couldn’t have said it better! I’ve found that if you focus on “catching” people doing great things, you won’t have to worry as much about catching them doing the wrong thing. They tend to make better choices and put forth more effort when you recognize what they’re doing well.

  • http://www.irunurun.com/blog/ Travis Dommert

    So true.  I still have and think of a note of appreciation I received from a previous CEO in 2007.  It was powerful.

    Malcolm Baldrige Award winner Quint Studer talks about this concept as one of the key ways to turn people into fire starters in his excellent book, Hardwiring Excellence.  “Rounding for outcomes” (making a practice of visiting subordinates and asking what’s working) and sending thank you notes.  Two simple, attainable, FREE, and POWERFUL actions to drive superior performance.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Those notes are a treasure, aren’t they? I have an “encouragement folder” that I keep mine in, and I’ve even displayed some special ones on a cork board as visible daily reminders. Having a cheering section definitely leads to better performance.

  • http://www.TehLemonsmith.com Tyler Smith

    This post reminds me of that bible verse about honoring one another above yourself. Thanks for the post Tracy!

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Reminded me of the same verse!

  • http://www.redheadedstepchildbooks.com/ Serenity J. Banks

    Thank you, Tracy. I needed this today. There’s a very important someone in my life who needs to know how important he is, and I’ve been at a loss lately for new ways to show it. I copied your “thank-you list” idea and just emailed it off. So thank you for giving me just the right idea, just when I needed it.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      That’s awesome, Serenity!

  • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

    I used to think that my pessimism was just my natural tendancy and something I would always fight. Turns out that encouraging others is a natural antidote to that tendancy. One of my goals right now is to find ways to be more encouraging. Maybe I will blog about this “experiment” at some point.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Let us know if you do—sounds like a great blog post.

      • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

        I’m with Barry! What a great goal. You could brainstorm different things to try and keep a journal about the results. One of the best side effects to appreciating others is that we end up being encouraged ourselves!

      • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

        I will do that! I think I know how I am going to go about carrying out this experiment.

        • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

          Great, Kari. Keep us posted!

      • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

        Well, I did end up writing a post about encouragement. Here’s the link: http://www.struggletovictory.com/how-to-be-encouraging-just-by-being-you/.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

       I’d love to read about your experiment. I, too, struggle with pessimism and it hurts my relationships. Would love to hear how another person overcomes it.

      • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

        Joe, I think the fact that you’re even aware you struggle with this is half the battle. I’d recommend starting out with an encouragement folder. It has helped me on days I’m feeling pessimistic or just down on the world in general. Hopefully this idea will be a start? http://timewithtracy.com/2012/03/03/why-you-need-an-encouragement-folder/

      • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

        Well, here’s how the “experiment” turned out. Not the journey I expected to take but happy with the results nonetheless. The link is http://www.struggletovictory.com/how-to-be-encouraging-just-by-being-you/.

        • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

          It’s always interesting how the journey differs from our initial expectations. Glad you were able to complete it and find some stellar insights.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jlorennorris J Loren Norris

    I watched friends and employees walk away in the past becuse the ability to truly appreciate them eluded me. Between my personally imposed “high standards” and my own ego manical behavior, I had every reason to replace subpar freinds and employees. But when the mother of my children, my wife of more than 15 years, said she could not stand my lack of appreciation and was ready to call it quits, I had to open my eyes and my heart.

     I am amazed how long it took me to understand The Power of PDA. But since that revelation has come to my very thick skull, it has been my most requested presentation. It is not only important to appreciate your spouse, family and friends, but also your faith, your freedom and yourself.

    I appreciate you for reminding us all the impact we can have on one another.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      When our hearts are closed off to these ideas, there is always a reason. I applaud you for  your openness and willingness to change! That’s not easy. Bravo!

  • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

    Tracy,
    My wife and I have 6 children 10 and under and I know that I don’ t thank her enough.  Your message was practical and heartfelt—Thank You!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Oh my heavens. You should thank her on a billboard! Does she ever sleep? She must be a laundry ninja. And have incredible management skills.

  • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

    My family, specifically my spouse.  I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the love and support of such a great gift from God. 

    Thanks for the reminder that everyone needs and deserves a pat on the back. 

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      It’s so easy to overlook our spouse. As time goes by we get complacent and come to expect them to do the things that fall under their “job description.” I expect my husband to take out the trash, yet I rarely thank him for doing it. We have a basic need to feel recognized. When my kids were babies I occasionally called him to say, “I worked for 3 hours cleaning the house today. You won’t be able to tell, but please comment on how great it looks when you walk in the door.” :)

      • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

        I soooo get the house and kids thing.

  • http://sidekickgraphics.com/ George Gregory

    I’m going to appreciate my wife and children – I feel like the most blessed guy in the universe for their love and support. And I’m going to take time to appreciate the business people who put into my life each day with their wisdom and encouragement.There’s a great energy there that is always encouraging!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Sounds like you have the best of both worlds…at home and work. I bet the people in your life are thankful that you’re fully aware of it!

  • http://www.gailsangle.com Gail

    Having just read The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Gary Chapman I’ve been reminded how important showing appreciation is but I’m also reminded that for appreciation to be the most effective it needs to be delivered in the language that the person speaks, not simply in the language of the giver.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Yes, it is more effective to tailor your communication for the person on the receiving end. Ironically, the co-author of the book you mention commented on this post earlier in the thread. I plan on picking up a copy myself!

  • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

    Wow! I havent been over here in awhile…great guest post! I am appreciating the stage of life I am in. I know that things will drastically change for me in the next year.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Thanks, Brandon! I’m sure that Michael is glad to see you back. I like what you said about appreciating your current stage of life. It’s important not only to appreciate people, but our circumstances as well. I’m guessing you are wise beyond your years.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

       Welcome back Brandon! Hope you’ll be able to become a regular again.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        I hope so…I have spring break this week!

  • http://www.robsorbo.com/p/welcome-from-disqus.html Rob Sorbo

    I think these principles can be applied to job reviews. My boss is great at this, and I always leave my job reviews energized. Other jobs I’ve had I walk away from the review ready to quit.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      That’s a perfect application! I have also experienced both types of reviews.

  • http://www.vanhoozer.blogs.com/ Mike Van Hoozer

    Tracy, great insight and wisdom!  Appreciation and phrases such as “I believe in you!” go a long way towards improving the performance of others and helping them reach their potential!  I know you are living this out with your family and all of the people that you touch on a daily basis within your sphere of influence!  Thanks for being faithful to God’s calling in your life!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      You’ve been such an encouragement  and believed in me over the years, Mike, and I couldn’t appreciate it more. Something I want to make note of here: When you meet with people, you are so good at making them feel like they’re the most important part of your agenda for that day. In this hurried, over-scheduled world you are one of the only people I know capable of doing that. Truly focusing on the person in the moment. It’s another effective way to make people feel appreciated, that’s for sure!

      • http://www.vanhoozer.blogs.com/ Mike Van Hoozer

        Thanks Tracy!

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    I’ll take time to appreciate my wife today. 

  • http://sevensentences.com Geoff Talbot

    This was great Tracy. So good in fact… I am forwarding it onto my wife so she will know how to appreciate me more!

    This of course is a joke. I am grateful for the reminder to be more grateful. Thanks for posting.

    Geoff Talbot
    Seven Secrets to Chasing You Dream

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Easy now, Geoff! We don’t want to see you on the receiving end of hate mail from her! :) But seriously, I have found that if you initiate the showing of appreciation it often becomes a two-way street eventually. Someone has to make the first move. I have to admit, I laughed out loud when I read your comment. Thanks for reading!

  • Heidi B

    You’re in good company with this one, Tracy.  It also reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, “Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” – Voltaire

    Appreciation is good for both the giver and the receiver; the more we seek to appreciate what’s around us, the more aware we are of all that has been given to us.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Brilliant, Heidi. There is so much joy available for the one giving the recognition. Absolutely love that Voltaire quote. Thank you for sharing it!

  • http://tangoleadership.wordpress.com/ PoulAndreassen

    Wow….
    This is something awful to think about and it really touched my
    heart, there are certain things you do not realize until you read
    them, and through your article I have come to realize those few but
    interesting and effective way to leadership.

    Showing
    appreciation for what they already do, and report back on the
    results. Imagine the impact you can have on someone simply by
    recognizing their value.

    Being
    an leader I would like to thanks everyone and I am going to really
    celebrate it.Thanks once again!!
     

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      I’m so glad to hear it! Hope you see some great changes. 

  • Iris

    Tracy – this is fabulous! Just what I needed to read today. I’ve been feeling rather unappreciated by my own family lately, but maybe instead of dwelling on my own bad feelings, I should give out more of what I’m longing for from them. It will set a good example and boost everyone’s spirits, which I know will be contagious. You are a delightful writer! Thank you for this. 

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Thank you for stopping by, Iris! I have found that when I don’t feel appreciated I tend to get bitter or resentful and stop appreciating others. It’s a vicious cycle that someone has to break. I love your idea to give out more of what you’re longing for from them. It goes against the grain, but I think it works! 

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/ Ryan Hanley

    Tracy,

    Great stuff… Celebrating all the little successes is helps not just personal moral but the moral of everyone around us.  It feels good to make other people feel good.

    Thank you!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Yes, Ryan, I promote the idea of taking time to pause and celebrate the small things along the way with your team. If we wait and only celebrate the big milestones we might not end up celebrating very often. That wouldn’t be a very fun way to live or work! Thanks for your comment.

  • http://twitter.com/MusicPowerStrat MusicPoweredStrategy

    I had a boss who had this concept down.  It is such a powerful motivator to just say  “Thank You”.  Try it all day, everywhere you go.  You’ll be amazed how many new friends you make.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      You make a great point. Don’t just appreciate the people you know. Appreciate the strangers you encounter throughout the day! I always make it a point to thank the people at the grocery store, coffee shop, or gas station. And not just a generic “thank you.” I try to point out something they did to make my shopping experience better.

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  • Pamela Karina

    Last weekend, my fiance and I went to the track for a run. I’m always nagging him to go and because he used to be heavily into sports, I always asked for his advice. It was one of those rare occasions in which we went with me and at the end of our Sunday run, I asked why. He didn’t feel appreciated.

    I honestly never bothered to tell him that it made me happy and loved his help. I just assumed.

    Celebrating successes, what a thought. Something so seemingly simple really can have an effect after all.

    Thank you!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      I have also been guilty of assuming that people know what’s in my heart and mind. I’m trying to be better about telling them. Glad that you asked why and opened the lines of communication!

  • http://www.scottwimberly.com/ Scott Wimberly

    This was so on time and perfect. I needed to hear this today! Thanks so much!!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Love when that happens! God’s timing is perfect. 

  • Nancy

    Right now the person I know who needs the most encouragement is my husband. He as been unemployed/underemployed since October 2009 and it is really wearing him down. While he might dismiss a thank you e-mail like was in today’s post, I think that several over the next weeks and months could be a real boost for him. Thanks! 

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Nancy, you are not alone. I have several friends in the same boat. Your husband is blessed to have a supportive, encouraging wife in you! One of my favorite posts by Michael “What to do When You are Forced to Wait” may really encourage both of you. http://michaelhyatt.com/what-to-do-when-you-are-forced-to-wait.html

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  • http://www.15minutewriter.com Sharon Gibson

    I would have loved to have you teaching my kids. This is such an empowering way to teach! I wish more teachers would do this and I would encourage you to think of a way to write this where teachers would see it. Maybe you could even put together a short book or devotional for teachers. People are always looking for teacher gifts. Just an idea.
    When my teens were home, we would thank them  for each chore or thing they did. One of my sons started thanking me for every meal and the others follow his example. It always meant so much because I cooked meals from scratch so they would be healthy and it took a lot of time. Just that simple acknowledgement made me feel valued and that it was worth the effort. 
    Also, I started including in my prayers, thanks to my husband for working hard so we could enjoy this meal and provision. These simple acknowledgements and courtesies  we forget sometimes in the home but they mean so much not only to the recipient but to the giver as well.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Thank you for the book idea, Sharon. I’ll put some serious thought into it.

      You’re so right, it takes a lot of time and effort to cook healthy meals for your family. You’re a great mom and wife for doing that! My poor family has been eating too much cereal lately. Thanks for the inspiration.

      And I appreciate your kind words.

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  • Betty

    Yes, this is so true that “writing/talking appreciation” is powerful. Thanks for the reminder.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Absolutely, Betty. Thanks for reading.

  • Kate

    I let at least one friend know every day that they are special, appreciated, that I believe in them. It’s amazing what I see in them even days after sharing my appreciation for their friendship!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      That’s fantastic, Kate! I am really trying to be more intentional about it. I think appreciative thoughts every day, but it’s not every day that I verbalize or express them through a written note. Thank you for the idea to target someone specifically every day. What a great habit.

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    Excellent post!  I didn’t get a chance to read this the day it posted.  I was at the hospital with my son.  We had a routine dental procedure, where he was knocked out (he’s three), and he had severe breathing problems as he woke up, resulting in a 2 day stay in the hospital.  the night we came home, I took my daughter back to the ER with a sprained ankle. Those two events, along with this post reaffirmed just how much I appreciate my wife and kids.

    Thanks for writing this!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Thank you, Jeff. It sounds like you guys have had a rough few days! Sometimes the best thing to come out of trials is the appreciation we feel for the people in our lives. Glad you can see the positive side of some difficult experiences. Hope everyone in your family gets back to full strength quickly!

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        Thanks!  So far, everyone is doing good.

        You’re right.  Times like these do help you appreciate people so much more! 

  • Your Blog Angel

    Great reminder…I look forward to working out my appreciation muscles today!

    Cheers,
    Catherine

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      I love the way you put it, Catherine. The more we exercise these muscles, the stronger they get.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Tracy, Thanks for this post this morning! I was greatly blessed by the message. Many times, I have overlooked the hard works of my parents and siblings in my life and have taken them for granted. I understand that this appreciation is limited to office life alone. I was not careful enough to apply this principle in my personal life.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      I commend you, Uma, for recognizing that you’ve taken your family for granted at times. I’m sure that the changes you make will have a wonderful impact on your relationships.

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  • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

    Tracy, a convicting post! A friend of mine in Nashville, Louis Upkins, wrote a good book called Treat Me Like a Customer. It’s sobering to think we may treat customers better than our own family.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Wow, that is a sobering thought, Skip. I would love to read your friend’s book.

  • Andrew McAllister

    I couldn’t agree more. Showing appreciation can be tremendously powerful in all sorts of relationships, both personal and professional.

  • Jessica Zirbes

    Tracy, OMG I do the same thing…I call it a HoneyDo List. Instead of the HoneyDo list I sent him an audio message with tons of thank you’s. It made his day!

    Thank you for the post!

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      I’m so glad to hear that you took action to appreciate him in a new way. Changing it up can make a big impact. Thank you for reading, but more importantly for taking action on it. I hope you will continue the practice!

  • http://relationships-relationshiptips.blogspot.com/ Njut Tabi Godlove

    great article. I’m also very easy drilled when i give someone some thing and i get a thank you reply. sometimes i feel like giving that person some more. get daily devotional at http://rhapsody-of-realities.blogspot.com/

  • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

    Appreciation and affirmation are like wind under the wings of an eagle. It energizes and propels people to positive action. I am learning to practice what I preach in my relationship with my young adults and all other relationships in the church and my neighborhood. The results can be drastically different.

  • Amenzies2

    Thank you for opening my eyes to something that will help me greatly! We hed been talking about this at work and you have reinforced what I had been thinking.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      That’s great to hear! I hope you see a positive change in your workplace.

  • Chris Arend

    Great points Tracy!  I can’t wait to apply a few of these nuggets to those around me.  I hope to see you post again.

    • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

      Thank you, Chris!

  • abdul krishna

    Life is full of hopes and aspirations but the circumstances might not always be conducive. One feels utterly helpless when confronted with situations that are impervious to one’s dearest wishes and heart-felt desires. Should you give up all hope and surrender to the forces that you surmise are beyond your control?

    No! Because not all things that you think to be beyond your control, actually are. There are forces in the universe, which can be oriented to benefit you. You can experience these forces when you believe. A very simple example is you miss someone intensely and the person calls almost immediately. Is that just coincidence? Or, have you made the other person call by thinking so strongly about him/her.E mail me today at prophetofgoddess@yahoo.com or spells.prophetofgoddess@gmail.com or view my website at http://www.prophetofgoddess.com for a better life.
     

  • http://timeclocksandmore.com/ David @ Time Clock

    A great reminder that a few kind words can go a long way.

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  • Tgold1964

    I want to appreciate my husband more for he works hard and I am and have been not an easy person to live with due to chronic pain, I want him to know that I appreciate him for sticking it out, thank you.

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  • http://www.RepaySomeday.com/ Repay Someday

     A great way let someone know they are appreciated is to make a pledge
    for them at http://www.RepaySomeday.com  It will a wonderful way to let someone
    know they are a great person, have positively impacted someone and are
    very much appreciated