None of us typically remember the details of seemingly big events such as who won the Nobel Peace Prize, who won an Academy  Award for a given year, or who won a particular sports championship but most of us can remember vividly who makes us feel appreciated, who has been there for us not only when the elevator is on the way up but more importantly when it is on the way down, or when someone has taught us something worthwhile and nudged us along to success – remembering those people is much easier to do.  As Jack Canfield states in his book, The Success Principle, “The people who make a difference in your life aren’t the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards.  They’re the ones who care.  If you want to be remembered for being important to someone else’s life, make them feel appreciated.”

I’ve never known anyone to complain that they have received too much appreciation.  It would be a great problem to have yet with studies showing that our greatest desire is more appreciation it isn’t likely to become an issue.  Mother Theresa is quoted, “There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”  Management studies show over and over again that employees’ greatest motivator is appreciation while, to the contrary, managers rate appreciation as number 8 on the same list of 10 motivating items (10 being the lowest).  A large management consulting firm found in one of its surveys that 46% of employees leaving a company are doing so for lack of appreciation; 61% said their bosses don’t place much importance on them as people, and 88% said they do not receive acknowledgement for the work they do.

I’m not sure why things come in threes but they so often do.  We spoke of the importance of the above topic at one of our recent management training sessions at Saco & Biddeford Savings.  The session provided a nice reminder of the fundamentals of not only being a better manager but simply being a thoughtful person.

Only a few days later I received the nicest card from the Desjardins family with a personal note from each of them acknowledging my photography efforts for the recent Royal Family Kids Camp.  Coming on the heels of our bank training, the importance, value, and meaning of taking the time to appreciate others really hit home.  The fact that an entire family would take the time to jot down a few thoughts and forward them over in a card re-energized me.

This week our dear friend and prior co-worker, Nancy Graffam, passed away.  At the funeral the family read a past article where we, as her friends and co-workers at the bank, shared our thoughts about her.  Interestingly, the article was created and given to her almost 10 years ago and yet she still had it in a safe place – sharing it with her family for the first time only a few weeks ago.  In it we quoted James A. Garfield, “There are men and women who make the world better just by being the kind of people they are.  The have a gift of kindness or courage or loyalty or integrity.

It really matters very little whether they are behind the wheel of a truck, running a business or brining up a family.  They teach the truth by living it.”  Phew, that was Nancy – and I am so glad we took the time to share with her our thoughts of our appreciation of her – it meant more than we knew.

We never know the impact we may have by just slowing down for a few brief moments each day to acknowledge and appreciate others.  An impact not only on one other but on ourselves for as Voltaire offers, “Appreciation is a wonderful thing – it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”