It's a wonderful feeling to be appreciated. As humans, we crave and desire recognition & appreciation, whether we acknowledge it or not. I firmly believe that our levels of joy, and those around us, increases as we express and amplify moments of gratitude within our lives.
Many of us are raised and directed to follow this procedure:
- An event happens where another person does something which makes your life better/easier/pleasant
- A parent or an adult in your life says: ”What do we say when so and so does xyz?”
- You reply: "Thank you!"
😄 Appreciation is the expression of one's gratitude to another.
It's as simple as saying:
Sharing your gratitude for others requires reflection, recall and recognition. When someone does something great, tell them about it. When you can express gratitude in a few moments, go for it. It's more encouraging than you'd think.
I've found that it's beneficial to write down a quick note about your friends' or team members' accomplishments, especially if you do any sort of end of year summary or have trouble remembering.
I imagine most of you have experienced a time when you weren't appreciated, and times when you were appreciated. If you haven't experienced the latter, I have something to say to you (and to each of you reading). I want to express my personal gratitude to you for taking the time to read this. You may be having a great day, maybe a sleepy day, maybe a rough day, maybe even a hopeless day. I wrote this for you because I want you to hear it and remember it. You taking the time to read or listen to my words means the world to me. Thank you for being here 💜.
I like to think that the expression of appreciation can be given in micro or macro doses. These can be expressed at random or at a timely moment. Gratitude can be delivered in many different formats and mediums as well.
With each of these the most critical part is to keep them genuine and to deliver them from your heart, rather than fabricating them or providing them as a cultural norm. An insincere thank you is oftentimes worse than saying nothing at all. That's why I'm writing this; I want to ensure that we're each equipped with an attitude of gratitude in all that we do.
Micro-moments of gratitude
Micro-moments of gratitude are generally engagements that take 10 seconds or less. These could be as simple as a thank you for holding the door open, a smile when you're greeting someone, or a wave hello (there are thousands of examples which I could write, but I’m sure you can think of a few more).
You can easily experience or initiate 25+ micro-moments of gratitude in your day with very little effort.
It starts with saying, “thank you.”
These micro-moments are small investments of encouragement into one another's lives. They add up.
Macro-moments of gratitude
Macro-moments of gratitude are more substantial. They take planning and forethought and typically require more than 10 seconds.
Some examples include (but are not limited to):
- Company-wide praise for completing a big project
- Going to your friend’s graduation or big life event
- Thanking someone after they've made a big impact on your life
These are typically delivered at the end of big life events or accomplishments, and they're sometimes forgotten or feel insincere.
Macro moments of gratitude oftentimes are best expressed:
- Via a handwritten note/card
- Via a recorded message
- Via a friend that's close to the person you're expressing gratitude towards
It takes 5 minutes or less to compose a thank you at a macro level, sometimes a bit longer if you're going above and beyond. The 5 minutes which you invest into that thank you card or recorded message could help change the trajectory of someone's life.
Timely moments of gratitude
Timely moments of recognition are like a cold drink on a hot summer day, or a warm beverage after a snow storm. They're gratifying and timely.
I don't want to mistake these for something which they are not. These are not a rebuttal to someone asking ”Why didn't you acknowledge that I did that?” or a consolation “good job.” Again, that could come off as insincere.
Instead, a timely moment of gratitude is something we should be on the lookout to deliver at any moment without a typical social cue.
These are instead delivered when:
- We see someone did something awesome, and we want to say thank you
- We notice someone may have had a less than awesome day, or we observed them having a less than awesome life moment
- Someone does something nice or kind for you that you weren't expecting
- You think about a time when someone did something kind for you and tell them thank you out of the blue
- You notice that someone did something that made your life or someone else’s life marginally better
There are many more moments where we can deliver a timely thank you.
My typical mindset to retain timely moments of gratitude in my day:
😄 If I think a thankful thought, I should share it with that person for which I'm thankful for 💜
The medium and format of expressing gratitude varies from person to person
We each like to receive appreciation a little bit differently, and it's important to ask one another how we like to be appreciated (a good reference could be love languages for some if you have never heard of the concept).
Some of us appreciate quality time, some prefer gifts, some a thoughtful note, some an embrace or a handshake, for some it's the mere notion that peace or homeostasis has been reached.
For many, public praise goes a long way. Here was a small Twitter poll, which I did a few months ago asking folks, "How do you know when you're doing a good job at work?"
These results were from 354 participants:
- Recognition from the team: 57%
- Clear expectations/reward: 23%
- There's food on the table: 4%
- Financial reward: 16%
More often than not, feeling recognized by your peers goes a long way. Be mindful of your actions, be kind to one another, and encourage each other.
Oftentimes, the medium in which someone really appreciates receiving gratitude is also the one where it's easiest to create riffs in your relationship.
For example, maybe a team member truly values quality time and personal praise. You may have weekly meetings scheduled, but you're frequently late, or you have to cancel meetings. While the other person is likely understanding, they may feel distanced or unappreciated, even though you're telling them thank you publicly or giving them financial rewards.
It's critical to your relationships to ask and understand how you can make your team members feel appreciated, or how to best communicate your gratitude for and with them.
The next few chapters of this book will go into practical ways in which we can reward our team members for the work which they do each day.