I spoke last week at The Millennial Leaders Summit about what are the top things that people most desire from their work. I have been tracking this topic the last 30 plus years, and the number one item on almost every survey or study’s list, no matter the age group, is Recognition and Appreciation. We all want to be seen for who we are and what we do, and to be valued by others. This is actually what we all want in our lives, not just at work. We humans are connective beings, and in that need for connection we require an exchange of energies that keep us safe, secure, loved and appreciated.
Why is recognition and appreciation so important? What is it so universally desired by people across all demographics? If you think about it, the benefits and payoffs to being recognized and appreciated are being accepted, valued, affirmed, noticed, respected, understood, and acknowledged. Who doesn’t want any of these things in their life? Yet how often do we actually receive the gifts recognition and appreciation bring?
When we recognize and appreciate someone or something, an interesting thing occurs. If we pause long enough and truly see who or what is right before us, we are invited into the realm of appreciation. In the moment of appreciation we allow ourselves to connect to a universal source of tranquility, and we feel that sense of well-being stirring within. Even though some external source stimulated our appreciation pause, we are the beneficiaries of the ‘feeling-good’ state. In appreciation, we find something in another we value, treasure, and hold dear.
In this place of appreciation a positive sense of awe embraces us – wonder, admiration and reverence wraps around us, even if for just a moment, and that gives way into gratitude. When we feel grateful, when we are dipped in the nectar of gratitude, we are in a state of grace – words seem unnecessary, we just experience a standing-still moment of an elixir of joy, peace, ease and aliveness.
It is this aliveness that gratitude stimulates a sense of being fully present and connected – to ourselves, to others, and to Life. It is that connection, those meaningful-moment connections, we all crave. When we feel connected we know, even if it’s just for a fleeting moment, who we are and why we are here. In those moments of connection we are free to just be – be who we are, what we want to feel and express, and how we can best show up for others.
Isn’t it funny that what we all desire, recognition and appreciation, not only has positive aspects for us being recognized and appreciated, but has equal opportunity for positive outcomes for those who do the recognizing and appreciating! It’s a two-way street to the highest states of what it means to be a healthy, loving human being!
So if you want to feel better or feel good, remember the chain-reaction of recognition and appreciation. When we pause and just look at who or what is before us, and without judgment/shame/blame just see it, find something about it that you can appreciate, or see some positive in it, the flood of warm feelings from awe and gratitude will simply flow. When you recognize and appreciate another, not only are you momentarily swept into a state of presence and connection, so is the other as you share your appreciation with them.
This holiday season we seem to put a premium of being grateful, giving thanks, and spreading good tidings. We don’t have to wait for calendars to turn or external clocks to trigger us into these states – we can do it ALL THE TIME! If recognition and appreciation are the number one motivators for human beings, then by all means let’s offer them freely, often, and consistently. If the receiver and the giver of recognition and appreciation win, then let’s keep on winning, together!
Go ahead, try out offering more recognition and appreciation to those in your work and private life! Do it one-on-one, or watch the exponential effect that cascades onto everyone when you do it publically. You and they will feel better when the recognition and appreciation is genuine and meaningful.
Go ahead, recognize and appreciate those around you – and be the source of some terrific outcomes!
Recognition → Appreciation → Awe → Gratitude → Presence → Connection