Saying thank you to show your appreciation is “cheap” it doesn’t really cost anything to do it and takes hardly any energy. As such it’s the bare minimum for showing our appreciation to someone, whether that be a helpful coworker or a thoughtful and attentive loved one. But if it’s the only way we show appreciation it really only goes so far. Most of us appreciate the acknowledgement of our efforts to make someone else’s life easier or to make them happy (by no means am I implying that saying thanks means nothing), but there is a direct correlation to the amount of effort we put into showing our appreciation and the long-term motivation of the person that deserves to hear it.
“To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.”
– Albert Schweitzer
Consider, for a moment, the level of effort that person just put in to help you, or brighten your day, or alleviate some of your stress. Chances are its much greater than your effort to just say thanks. Over time those quick thank you’s really start to sound hollow as the other party goes out of their way to make your life better. Unless the other party is one of those rare creatures that really needs no appreciation to go above and beyond on a consistent basis. That beautiful individual contains that rare internal gratification that gives them extra energy to not only balance their life but give you a little extra energy for your day too and expects nothing in return. God bless them, because in reality they really are a rare creature.
In reality most of us need some level of recognition and appreciation to keep that “little extra” we give to another going. So don’t be afraid to put in a little extra work in return to show them that you really do appreciate their efforts and want to pass a little energy back to them. Maybe that’s some extra public recognition or a gift card to a coffee shop, a free lunch, or what ever it is that motivates them or helps them feel appreciated. Maybe its a personal relationship and it’s giving them a little extra quality time, or leaving them a hand written note, or taking them out. The key here is really understanding what makes THEM feel appreciated. Not what would make us feel appreciated. Everyone has something that makes them feel appreciated, motivated, and recognized. For some it might be public recognition, while others would hate that, but appreciate a free coffee and a hand written note. It pays to take a little time and really understand what that is for those important and helpful people in our life so we can truly make them feel important and appreciated. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it has some great side effects such as:
- Greater engagement
- Increased motivation
- Stronger morale
- Increased sense of loyalty
- Increased closeness
- Stronger personal bonds
- Healthier interactions
- Improved sense of trust
It can be easy in the day-to-day trappings of our personal and professional lives to take those that are important for granted. I have been guilty of this myself. Don’t be afraid to use some real energy to show your appreciation in a way that really resonates with that helpful or loving person in an individual way. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it will increase the success of both your personal and professional relationships.
What are some ways that you show appreciation to others? How do you work this into your day-to-day relationships?