The Power of Showing Your Appreciation

Posted by Todd Smith

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William James, well-known psychologist and philosopher, said, “The deepest principle of human nature is a craving to be appreciated.”  If we are honest with ourselves, we all want and need to feel valued for who we are and recognized for our contributions and accomplishments. It’s important for us to know that we have made a difference in someone’s life.

If a person takes the time to express their heart-felt appreciation for something we have done, it boosts our spirit, passion, and purpose.  It builds our self-confidence, self-esteem and our entire self-image. It gives us energy and motivation to work harder and do more.

Six benefits you can derive by showing your appreciation

1. When you give people a sincere compliment, words of encouragement or just a warm smile, you are making their world a better place.  You are making them feel appreciated and valuable.

2. When you express your approval or gratitude for something they have done, you will not only enhance their lives, but you will enrich yours as well.  You will feel more fulfilled because you have done something to make someone else’s life better.

3. One of the laws of the universe states that what you give you get in return. It costs little or nothing and it almost always follows suit that they will demonstrate their gratitude for what you do.

4. When you show an interest in others by noticing the good things they’ve done, they will be drawn to you like a magnet.  It will accelerate the relationship building process and enhance their overall impression of you.

5. It will increase your value to the market. When you show your appreciation to others, their respect for you will grow and so will your influence as a leader. In today’s world people have choices. They absolutely prefer to work with people they like and trust and who show an interest in them.

6. It’s a free form of currency. People will do more for recognition than they will for money. If you are in a leadership position, remember that people will work harder and do more if they know they will be recognized for their accomplishments.  Show them you care and they will be loyal to you, even if better opportunities come their way.

Six Tips to Show Appreciation

1. Be genuine about your praise and don’t expect anything in return for being nice.

2. Be very specific with your words and use the person’s name whenever possible. This makes it more meaningful. For example, “Bill, thanks for making us feel so welcome when we arrived at the hotel. It was the perfect start to our vacation.”

3. Demonstrating eye contact and positive body language goes hand in hand with the words you choose.

4. Think of special ways to show your gratitude. For example, buy flowers or do something special for your spouse that you know he or she would love. You don’t have to spend a lot of money for the thank-you to have value.

5. Send a hand written thank you card or note of appreciation.  Most people don’t take the time to do this simple act.

6. If the praise or appreciation relates to a specific act or circumstance, give it as soon after the event as possible to have the most impact.

My challenge to you

I want to challenge you to make your expression of appreciation stand out from the crowd. Make sure it is genuine and something that will make an impression. It will require more effort on your part but it will be worth it.

While going the extra mile is admirable, don’t forget the simple little things we can do on a daily basis to let people know they are appreciated.  For every handwritten thank you note I write, I probably send 30 emails thanking people for the little things they’ve done for me.  For every gift I buy for my wife, I probably tell her 50 times how much I appreciate all she does for me.

Make a list of those people who regularly do things for you, including your co-workers, friends, family members and those who work under your leadership.  When this list is complete, go back over each name and determine how you can express your appreciation for the things they do for you in a way that makes them feel noticed and valued.

Let me also encourage you to thank 100% of the people for 100% of the things they do to make your life better, even if it’s part of their job description.  Whether it’s the hostess who seats you in a restaurant, a grocery clerk who scans and bags your groceries, a hotel bellman or a co-worker, everyone deserves to be thanked.  Begin to adopt an attitude of gratitude!

“Three billion people on the face of the earth go to bed hungry every night, but four billion people go to bed every night hungry for a simple word of encouragement and recognition.” -Author Robert Cavett

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About the Author:

Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 34 years and founder of Little Things Matter. To receive Todd’s lessons, subscribe here. All Todd’s lessons are also available on iTunes as downloadable podcasts.


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