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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

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Show Your Honest Appreciation - Today.

You are Never Too Old to Give or Get Gold Stars.
Show Your Honest Appreciation - Today.
- jonathan lockwood huie
When I was very young, my mother gave me gold stars whenever I did something she liked. Usually they were small gold foil shapes with sticky backs, but Mother also saved some really big ones - three inches across - for extra-special accomplishments. Together with Mother's love, those stars made me feel special, important, and appreciated.

As adults, we are much more likely to receive criticism than appreciation. Our boss, our spouse, and the others in our lives expect much from us. When we fail to live up to their expectations, they criticize, but when we go beyond the call, or better yet do something delightfully unexpected, we are likely to get an "ummm..." response at best.

Appreciation, whether verbal or as physical shiny gold stars, is perhaps the greatest gift we can give to those around us. In the timeless How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie lists "Give Honest and Sincere Appreciation," as one of his fundamental principles.

When was the last time you offered sincere appreciation or a gold star? Perhaps it was recently. In a few offices, gold stars have become a common, if sometimes insincere, practice. Some on-line communities provide gold stars - or green stars or butterflies - for members to award each other. However, most of the time most of us fail to express our appreciation to those people who make our lives better in small, or large, ways.

Consider these ways to express appreciation:

1. Give someone a shiny gold star. It's only tacky or childish if your action is insincere.

2. Send a note of appreciation. Again, if it's sincere, it's always gracious and never inappropriate.

3. Speak your appreciation directly. Say "I appreciate what you did."

4. Say "Thank You" as often as you can.

5. Express appreciation for the person as well as the deed. "I appreciate YOU. Thank You for being my friend - or co-worker, or..."

Give somebody a gold star - Today.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I work in Customer Service at Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. We have several recognition programs in place to incorporate all of these "gold star" principles. It makes a HUGE difference in the moral amongst peers & co-workers. Never let a day go by without letting someone know how much you appreciate them! with heartfelt appreciation, Kym from NH

Anonymous said...

The book mentioned above, "How to Win Friends
and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie, was the best book I've ever read. Why? It determined how I faced life and interacted with people ever since.
Thanks, Jonathan, for bringing it to the atention of the many people on your web site. Seesee

Michele Carbery said...

Lovely. Thank you for writing and sharing this Jonathon.

It's also interesting how beneficial it is to the person engaged in giving sincere appreciation.

I think when we feel and give gratitude and appreciation it opens our heart. We become bigger and rise above the silly wall of insecurities and ego that keeps us all feeling small and separate from each other.

Thanking and appreciating another is one of the simplest ways to appreciate the joy of giving, and it's free! In reality, it is giving love.

~Michele

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