by Lisa B. Marshall
My Mother’s Appreciation Tea Party
Today I went to my daughter’s preschool for my Mother’s Day Appreciation Tea and was greeted by my daughter with a beautiful white rose. She also handed me a card that contained her answers to a series of questions: My Mom’s favorite color is…I know she’s really happy when…
My favorite answers were the last three.
My Mom is 20 feet tall and weights 2 lbs. Most of all I love her because … she loves me.
Of course, this was a memorable “Mom moment.” My heart swelled and I really did feel like I was 20 feet tall. It’s amazing how a few words of appreciation can transform you.
Showing Appreciation is Important
We all need to know that we’re important in other people’s lives. We all want to be noticed and valued. And we really need to be noticed and valued. Appreciation is at the core of all healthy relationships.
So today’s Mother’s Day episode is a reminder to develop an attitude of gratitude-- to make a conscious effort to express daily, your delight and encouragement. Don’t just express your appreciation on Mother’s Day; make it part of who are.
Most of us feel like we don’t get enough appreciation. Did you know that one of the main reasons people leave their jobs is because of a lack of appreciation? It’s demoralizing when you’re not recognized for your efforts and skills.
So what can you do to develop an attitude of gratitude? To develop a culture of recognition?
Did you know that one of the main reasons people leave their jobs is because of a lack of appreciation? It’s demoralizing when you’re not recognized for your efforts and skills.
Use Your Words to Show Appreciation
Like I tell my kids, “Use your words.” It is amazing how far a simple, “Thanks, I appreciate that,” will go.
When I’m putting my kids to bed we always talk about the day. I try to point out one or two specific things that happened that I appreciated. “When you picked up your toys today without me asking, it made me happy. Thank you for remembering to do that.” My twins are five years old; you can probably imagine how they light up from the praise.
Just last week I was beaming. I received an email from a listener. She expressed her appreciation and then said that “I made a difference”. I’ve got to say, it really made me feel good; so I sent her a email telling her that she made my day.
At one job, my boss’s boss, Fred, was great at showing appreciation. He would regularly send “atta girl” emails using a HUGE font and bright colors. He would say stuff like “Way to go! You are amazing!” and then he would copy all of the senior management. After receiving one of his emails, it made me want to work even harder. It didn’t cost Fred anything, but a few moments of time.
Show Appreciation with Food and Drink
I’ve also found that you can’t go wrong by sharing some food or drinks. It is important to discover the currency of the people you work with. For some it’s chocolate; for others it cookies. Sometimes it’s beer or a special wine.
I always keep cookie dough in my freezer so at a moment’s notice I can make a few appreciation cookies. (Ok, I admit it, with the cookies, sometimes I show myself appreciation.)
At work you can bring in bagels and doughnuts, or a fresh fruit basket every now and again. If someone in particular stands out and you are feeling really appreciative, buy him a gift certificate to his favorite restaurant or take him out for lunch yourself.
Show Appreciation by Listening and Talking
One benefit of taking someone out for a meal is that you also show your appreciation by spending time with them and by listening. I know it may sound silly, but sometimes we just want to be heard. If someone shares a personal story with you, don’t interrupt. Do remember to ask questions to show you are really listening, but be sure they are appropriate to the relationship.
If you are a manager, you should be asking regularly, “What got you frustrated today? What wasted your time today? What was too complicated?”
Employees at all levels should be given the opportunity to express their suggestions and disappointments. Everyone should feel good about contributing ideas and experiences no matter how small or big the impact is.
Managers also need to communicate and share as much information as they can. If the staff knows where the company is going they can take on more responsibility and feel good about their contributions. If people know they matter you will create a culture of appreciation.
Commit to My Seven Day, Seven Seeds Challenge
So, at this point, you may have noticed that none of my tips are overly complicated or difficult to do. I think it’s the simple things that people appreciate. Daily, simple, genuine recognition--in my mind--trumps any large formal recognition program. The problem that I see is that many of us haven’t developed a daily appreciation habit. That’s why I created my Mother’s Day seven day, seven seeds challenge.
Beginning on Mother’s Day I encourage you to commit to giving daily appreciation. Start each day with seven seeds in your pocket (or a pennies, or pebbles or a marbles). When you give someone praise or show your appreciation, move a seed to the other pocket. The goal--of course--is to end each day with all the seeds in your other pocket. My hope is at the end of the seven days, you’ll planted the seed of an appreciation habit.
Appreciation feels good. It strengthens the bonds between people. Even the most accomplished people need and want recognition. Offering your praise and encouragement will motivate others to achieve. Wouldn’t it be great if we all felt appreciated everyday?
This is Lisa B. Marshall. Passionate about appreciation; your success is my business.
This episode is dedicated to my mother, Carmel, and to another very special mother in my life, Vincenza. I can’t express how much I appreciate having you in my life. I love you, Happy Mother’s Day!
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