The appreciation of appreciation

(A caveat: Often people might interpret my blog as “motivational.” If you enjoy it in that light, great, but this is not my primary intent. My intent is for you to read this as strategy, not just a “motivational moment.” I write about how to create foundations that build great organizations through cultural strategies that positively affect loyalty and trial in terms of sales, marketing and operations.)

We can only get out of the proverbial “box” a couple of ways. One of them is to recognize how the very language we use builds our personal boxes in the first place.

(What box you ask? The feelings, thoughts and beliefs we don’t examine or question — the way the world “is” for us.)  

Each of us ascribes meaning to words we use. If we examine what a word means to us, we can see how the word might expand or hinder us. (For example, I have a colleague who gets annoyed and reactive upon hearing the phrase “trust me.” That is not a negative phrase by itself, but it her interpretation of that phrase based on her life experiences is negative.) Language is the DNA of how things turn out for us. If that stands, how can we use language to get more of what we want to experience? 

Take the word “appreciation.” We are inspired and happy when we are appreciated. We also like it when our real estate appreciates in value. Appreciation refers to positive growth and positive emotion — two things we all want in our life and business. 

How can you “use” appreciation to get more of what you want? For many it means “I thank you for what you do for me. You make me laugh and feel good.  If you weren’t in my life, I’d be screwed.” It’s also a form of thanks. “I appreciate your cleaning this room up.” Appreciation is nice just the way most of us think of it.

But what does appreciation unleashed look like? How can we “use” appreciation to appreciate (grow) what we want more of?

What if you only focused on one emotion today, and the emotion was appreciation? How might that affect you and the people in your life? How would that affect your productivity, retention, loyalty, participation and relationships, not to mention appreciation’s afterglow — joy. If we don’t intend appreciation, depreciation usually creeps in. Things go south — valuation, inspiration, productivity, innovation. Appreciation, untapped, leaves a void.

What could you do in the next five minutes that would result in rampant appreciation? (I’d like to suggest that giving turkeys away on the holidays is nice, costly, usually expected and not the kind of appreciation that buys retention.) Appreciation is not rote. It is an intention to drive success. We could all start with appreciating ourselves a bit more. We are all too familiar with how criticism depreciates our psyche.   

Measuring appreciation is a soft but powerful metric. Experiment with it for immediate yet lasting results. Step up the appreciation of others based upon what most of us want more of in our own lives (recognition, inspiration, relatedness, acknowledgement) and watch your world appreciate … in dollars and sense!