The Best Two Words
Getting an A+, being mobbed by teammates after scoring a touchdown or hitting a three-pointer, being voted as class president or valedictorian, having someone tell you they love you, being praised by your boss — these are some of the best moments that I can think of. What do these moments all have in common? They all involve others appreciating you.
Unfortunately, in our busy lives, it is too easy not to say “thank you” and not show your appreciation for others when they deserve it. We can rationalize such an omission by cataloguing how busy we are and minimizing the importance of a “thank you”. But if we realize that one of the best feelings in the world is getting praise or recognition, especially from those that we care about or respect, it should change the way that we conduct ourselves. We should be actively looking for ways where we can appreciate others given how much it means to the recipient.
The funny thing is that appreciating others benefits both the recipient and the giver of the “thank you”. If a friend went out of his way to help you with your homework for instance, spending hours of his time selflessly making sure you understood every answer and you do not thank him, what do you think will happen? He will feel exhausted having given you his time and effort without being appreciated, and it is less likely that he will be willing to help you again. In contrast, if your helping friend feels appreciated, he will be more likely to help you again and you will be the beneficiary.
According to a Forbes article, Doug Conant, the former CEO of Campbell Soup wrote over 30,000 handwritten thank you notes to employees during his time at Campbell. Conant was of the philosophy that praising someone was a better motivator than criticism. Similarly, by developing a personal relationship with his employees, he found that they were even more committed to the well-being of the company.
Questions for Discussion:
- Can you think of an example where you felt under-appreciated? What type of appreciation were you looking for?
- Can you think of an example where it felt great to be recognized or appreciated?
- Is it worthwhile or a waste of time for a CEO to write thousands of handwritten thank you notes?
- How can you find ways to thank people more even in the midst of your busy schedule?
- Who can you thank right now?