As busy people, it’s easy to get wrapped up in shooting off short texts and email answers, forgoing “please” and “thank you,” to save a minute, and hoping the people we’re communicating with know how highly we esteem them. Doing that becomes a habit, and that habit often leads to not even considering taking the time to acknowledge and appreciate others. We know, of course, that doing all those things are smart; investing in our relationships with others brings a great deal of return our way. Plus, it’s just nice, right? Who wants to be an efficient-but-not kind human? Not me. And I bet not you.
A couple of years ago, I realized I was on the edge of becoming exactly that person. As a general rule, I’m a naturally gracious person. But with my VA, I got lazy. And I didn’t like it one bit.
At that time, I wrote to my VA, Nicole, and told her that while I felt sure that she knew how much I appreciated every single thing she did for me, I wanted to be more aware of always saying “please” and “thank you” (consciously), and of doing better to let her know just how highly I think of her and how deeply I hold her and our partnership in my heart.
Honestly, it’s the least I can give to this woman who supports me the way that she does. She truly deserves more than a gold star. She deserves the world from me.
If you’re sitting there thinking you’d like to be better at this, too, let me offer some suggestions.
To do it well, always start with a very sincere and genuine “thank you.” Done mindfully, that’s almost enough on its own, you know?
“Please” comes next. It may seem extraneous, but it means so darn much to others.
They belong in pretty much every interaction you have with another human.
For the cherry on the sundae, from time to time, add a sentence where you say something like, “I appreciate,” or, “_____________ means so much to me.” You get bonus points if you say it to her outloud, or send an email or card with ONLY this in it.
As to what you might appreciate/acknowledge or put in that blank, here’s a list of 25 beautiful things to get you started:
- Your sense of humor
- The way you look out for me
- How you make things easy for me
- The perspective you bring to my work
- Your sincerity
- The way you connect dots that I miss
- Your patience
- Your ability to switch gears; to zig when I zag
- Your natural graciousness
- Your calming presence
- That you’re often two steps ahead of me
- Your skill; you make everything so simple
- That you make being organized seem easy
- How you make my clients feel welcome
- Your sound advice
- Your curiosity
- Your can-do spirit
- Your willingness to have difficult conversations, believing they will make things better between us
- The way you pitch in when you see I’ve bitten off too much, again
- That you believe in what I’m doing
- Your kindness
- Your high standards
- That you work well with others
- Your maturity
- Your ability to help me see what needs to be seen
I probably could have given you 50, or 100, but this should get you started. What others would you recommend adding to the list? Drop a comment below and let me know.
And try this out and see how it improves your relationship.
You’re welcome. (that’s another great one to add to “please” and “thank you.”