Sincere Appreciation

Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay 

People do things well. We want them to know.

People do things well. They want to know.

We want to express appreciation. We want it to be sincere.

They want to be appreciated. They want it to be sincere.

We have barriers to showing appreciation. Fear, Ego, weird “great, great, great, great, great” patterns.

They have barriers to receiving appreciation. Fear, Ego, and that damn Narrator.

How do we show sincere appreciation? How do we satisfy the need?

Try these three simple steps.

  1. Tell them what they did.
  2. Explain the positive impact it had.
  3. Express appreciation.

What does this sound like?

“Mary, I wanted to let you know that the report you created for that customer was very helpful. They were confused, and you brought clarity. They went from hesitant to signing with us. Thank you for your hard work, your ability to simplify issues for the customers is very helpful, I am so glad you are here on the team.”

“Bill, I noticed last night that after the long day at work you spent time with the kids helping with their homework. Your patience and ability to explain the homework in more concrete terms helped them “get it.” Thank you for the sacrifice and for giving them the gift of your time, especially when you are tired.”

Jessica, thank you for taking out the trash as well as the recycling. Since your sister has been away at school, you have had to take on a few more responsibilities around the house. Your taking initiative to pick up these chores has helped us all with the new workload around the house. Thank you for pitching in and helping, it makes a real difference. Want to go get some ice cream?

Sincere appreciation helps them know they are seen.

Sincere appreciation helps them know their work makes a difference.

Three simple steps. Now we just need to act.

Try it out and let us all know how it goes.

And to help lead the way, I am going first.

Dear Readers of this work. You read, view, comment, share, and like this blog and have been doing so for years. Your participation has made me feel like I not only have a voice in this space, but can make a difference in the lives of others. Thank you so much for reading this, especially with all the choices you have out there. Your words of encouragement or even a “like” helps me break through my own narration that I shouldn’t keep doing this. Thank you for being here.

Want to go get some ice cream?

Thank you for believing in me.

18,181 days today.

18,181 days of breathing, moving, and living in this body.

I have an interesting relationship with this body. I ask a lot from it. I don’t always like it. It is not perfect. I make it run for long periods of time. I keep pushing it to give more, even when it is tired.

But lately we have been at odds with each other.

A few months ago, it let me down.

Yes, I know there are no bad runs, but recently there was a series of not great runs. A few times I had to stop, even during a race.

I began to doubt.

Words began to build up against my body.

Maybe you won’t be able to keep going.

Maybe this is what happens at “a certain age.”

Maybe I pushed you too far and we are winding down.

The words created distance between the two of us.

I could feel the distance, the disappointment, the disapproval.

Yesterday was a long run. I was nervous, and so was my body. We had a rough few weeks. We needed something to change.

So, I took the first step. I looked at the run history on my app and reminded my body of how many miles we ran. I reminded my body that we have run longer and in some of the most extreme weather. I reminded my body that it can do hard things. I reminded my body that I was not mad at it for the past few months.

Then something shifted. Everything felt lighter.

The run was not easy, but we kept going. Slow at first, building and finding our stride.

Then something happened about 2/3rd into the run. I actually heard my body speak. Softly at first, so soft that I almost dismissed it. But my body kept speaking until I could hear it.

“Thank you for believing in me.”

Even as I type these words a wave of emotion passes over me as it did while running.

I had replaced the frustration, the doubt, and the disappointment with belief. And my body responded. I was no longer fighting against it, but working with and encouraging it.

Since this moment I started to wonder how I can continue to show this belief internally, but also externally to those around me? Instead of frustration, doubt, and disappointment they may need belief from me as well.

So maybe, just maybe, it won’t just be my body who says, “Thank you for believing in me.”

Thank You

The phone rang.

It was a long-standing client.

I was quick to answer the call. I assumed they needed something right away.

They only said two words.

“Thank you.”

I was not sure how to respond besides “you’re welcome” so I also asked if they needed anything.

Nope. We just wanted to say “thank you” for our call a few weeks ago. We were a little stuck and needed some direction and talking it through really helped. We also realized that we typically call when we need something but don’t really ever call afterwards, but it seemed important to say “thank you.”

After that call I felt more inspired. More energized.

They didn’t have to make that call, but they did. They didn’t have to say “thank you”, but they did. And it made an impact. My work felt more meaningful, more important.

Where can we make those calls, and use those words? Who is helping, guiding, or assisting us in our journey? Who needs to hear from us?

Try it out today, make at least one call. Be grateful, say “thank you” and imagine the impact we can make.

Gift Appreciation Mode

Comparison.

Comparison is a thing I do.

Comparison happens when I interact with you and cannot help but observe how smart, funny, insightful, amazing, determined, gifted, and completely awesome you are, and then measure this against myself and find a deficit.

This comparison deficit transforms itself into insecurity.

This insecurity finds ways to interfere with other aspects of life, including my relationship with you.

But during a recent conversation with a friend, I discovered a better option.

What if I just started to look at your smart, insightful, amazing, determined, and completely awesomeness as a gift?

A gift that you have to bring into the world and make it a better place.

What if I just spent the next few weeks or months in Gift Appreciation Mode?

Would Gift Appreciation Mode help rewire how my brain works?

Gift Appreciation Mode would allow me to just watch your smart, insightful, amazing, determined, and completely awesomeness, and instead of comparing or judging, I would just sit and appreciate it, like a fine work of art.

Gift Appreciation Mode could act like a ticket to the best museum of awesomeness around me, and all I have to do is walk around, view the exhibits, and appreciate those gifts for the beauty they bring into the world.

Comparison is harmful.

Gift Appreciation Mode brings healing.

Comparison excludes and separates.

Gift Appreciation Mode opens and connects.

I hope the Gift Appreciation Mode museum of awesomeness has a gift shop at the end, or at least one of those cool audio tours. I wonder who we could get to do the voice…

Mourning the loss of who you thought you would be

cemetery 8

(Image Courtesy of the Great Robin Lake)

We start out in life thinking we are going to be a certain thing.

We make plans. We make choices. We move in a direction. We become invested in who we are going to be.

Sometimes dreams don’t work out. Plans change. Choices are made. Sometimes we fail. Maybe we succeed at different things. Our journey took us in interesting directions, and the people we met and experiences we had created forks in the road. We took some of those forks.

We are “here” today, right where we ended up. Not to say that “here” is a bad place.

In some ways “here” is better than we expected, in other ways maybe not as good.

However, there was a lot of us in the original plan. It was part of our story. Part of our narrative about who we were, and how we described ourselves.

And if, as I recently realized about my own original plan, it was wrapped up in a healthy (or unhealthy) dose of ego and pride, part of it remains with us years or decades later.

A few recent events triggered some interesting emotions surrounding an old plan. What I thought was long gone, had just been lying dormant. The freshness of the ego and pride associated with these events caught me a little off guard.

But I had to ask,

“Why are these emotions still here years later?”

“These plans, or goals are long dead, how did they return?”

It was in asking the questions that the answer came into focus.

Long dead.

What do we do when someone or something dies? We mourn.

Mourn:to feel regret or sadness about (the loss or disappearance of something).

When we don’t mourn, losses remain.

Even when we move forward, un-mourned losses lay dormant.

I never took the time to mourn the loss of who I thought I would be. Life moved forward, the plans changed. Life turned out better than the original plan.

But the un-mourned losses remained.

Where has your life taken you? Where have your plans changed, and your dreams shifted?

Where should you be mourning the loss of who you thought you would be?

Mourn. And may mourning help you move forward in your journey.

Celebrate Events

Flags in DC

(Image Courtesy of My Daughter, and the Washington Monument)

A few years ago I wrote about lessons I learned from my mom.

They were simple lessons:

Be Tough. Work Hard. Celebrate Events.

Last week, I was able to share these lessons with the crowd of family and friends that gathered for her memorial service.

More than just the words, or the lessons. We decided to put one of her lessons into practice: Celebrate Events.

We decided to make this 3,138 mile journey memorable and celebrated events along the way.

Car Trouble.

Mountain views.

Hershey Park.

Fast Rides.

Park food.

Visits with great friends.

Sushi. (Arguably the best I have had.)

Long days in the car.

Audio books.

Car Dancing.

Hotel pools.

Traffic.

Food. Food. Food.

Hugs from those who are close.

Tears, memories, and more hugs.

Connection with those you love.

Ocean.

More driving.

Sea World.

Cousins!

More rides.

Florida rain.

A round of frozen drinks to toast the one we lost.

Driving still.

The meal at the Bull.

Washington D.C.

Gluten Free Grilled Cheese!!!

Memorials that move you.

Remembering great people and great events.

Walking. Walking. Walking.

Museum.

More road time.

TRAFFIC.

Family.

Driving still.

Home.

Despite the loss, despite the sadness, we celebrated.

Great new memories.

New stories.

Mom, we will miss you.

Thanks again for the lessons.