We All Need Appreciation

With Thanksgiving just two days away, I’ve been reflecting on the subject of appreciation (aka gratitude). If you’re at all like me, you might not always remember to express appreciation for the good that has come into your life, your work, etc., from various individuals. Without minimizing any challenges you might be experiencing or anticipating, I wanted to take a moment to talk about how appreciation enriches our lives in a variety of ways.

Appreciation is Best When Reciprocal

I believe everyone wants–even needs–to feel appreciated (valued). This is true both in our personal lives and in our professional career and job search activities. It’s not that you have a burning need to hear appreciation expressed at every turn–just that hearing it now and then provides a lift to your enthusiasm and energy that you might not experience otherwise.

To give a couple of work-related examples:

  • Your job probably encompasses a number of expected performance factors. If you fulfill those as expected, you don’t necessarily need constant validation of your work. However, if your boss seldom or never indicates that he/she values what you have accomplished, you could wonder if it’s worth the effort you put into it. On those occasions where you go above and beyond to produce stellar results, appreciation would definitely be in order (although it doesn’t always happen).
  • Someone has provided you with a possible job lead and maybe even offered to speak to the hiring manager about you. Whether or not that results in a job offer or even an interview, appreciation for the effort is appropriate.

For the flip side of the coin, you might consider whether you yourself can be more alert to opportunities to express appreciation to those you work with or for–that goes for customers, team members you manage, peers you collaborate with, and even your boss. Remember that bosses can take a lot of heat from the ones they report to, and they don’t necessarily receive expressions of appreciation as often as they’d like.

What or Whom Do You Appreciate?

When I sit down and think about what I am thankful for, it doesn’t take long for the list to grow. Yes, there have been challenges (in any given year), but on balance, I have to honestly acknowledge that I’ve been fortunate. By that, I mean that I’ve had some delightful family members, friends, colleagues, bosses and, of course, clients in my life over the years. At this particular moment, I’m thinking of all the ways in which 2013 has been marked by growth, opportunities and appreciation from others.

So even as we look forward to Thanksgiving Day, I’d like to emphasize that appreciation isn’t a once-a-year thing. It can happen any time, and it should. I’d also like to share a couple of quotations that reinforce what I’ve just been saying:

* Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well. [Voltaire (1694 – 1778)]
* Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary. [Margaret Cousins]

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