Sustaining Story Saturday: Daily Practices of Deep Appreciation

butterflyFirst of all, I want to say that I’ve decided to shift to doing my sustaining story blogs on Saturdays.  I’m just finding that Saturday tends to be a better day for writing this post.

Today, I wanted to talk about two practices that you might already do in the course of your day that add to the sustainable abundance of the people in your life in probably subtle ways.

When I say simple, I really mean simple.

These are the two practices:

  1. Saying to someone in your life  – Have a good day.
  2. Asking at the end of the day – How was your day?

Until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t really thought all that much about these daily habits.  Then, I heard a sermon by the pastor of my church that shifted my thinking, particularly about that second practice. She asked us, “Do you know the one question you can ask that helps someone feel deeply appreciated?  Her answer was the simple question – How was your day?  According to a psychological study she had read, it turns out that question makes people feel seen and loved.  It made sense when I thought about it.

If you’re anything like me, you might tend to think these little habits are simply a matter of being polite, or nice, or friendly. Saying these things can be just something we do out of habit.

When thinking about this post, I thought about these habits in the context of business leaders that I’ve known and worked with.  There are many different ways of saying have a good day, and how was your day.

For instance, there are bosses and business leaders who say have a good day so that you perform well for them, and then ask at the end of the day, how did you do, without ever caring about your experience that day.

There are other kinds of bosses and leaders who say have a good day, and really mean, I hope you enjoy the work we are doing together. At the end of the day, they ask how was everything, and they truly care about the experience that their employee had doing the work as well as the result.

The first kind of boss who only cares about achievement is the type that creates the kind of workplace where few of us want to work, but unfortunately many of us have to endure.  The second kind of boss is an enlightened business leader, who creates a great workplace that is reflected in the way employees treat each other and their customers.

Of course, there is much more to being a great boss, or a great parent, or a great spouse, or  great friend than the greetings we say to people.  But those little greetings and the energy put behind them say a lot about the type of person you are.

The awareness we bring to the words we say is more powerful than we sometimes realize.

I started watching myself with these practices a few weeks ago, and found that I could do better.  I could bring more caring and concern to those little habits that I already have in place.   I noticed that when I combined the two together with my kids that they seemed to open up more about their day with me.

When we bring deep appreciation to the people in our lives, we transform their world, even through our smallest actions.  Thank you for all the ways you bring deep appreciation into the world.

Today’s contemplation:

What daily practices of deep appreciation do you have?

10 thoughts on “Sustaining Story Saturday: Daily Practices of Deep Appreciation”

  1. Have you heard of the “5 Minute Journal”, Karen? I’ve been using it to document moments of gratitude, and it’s been doing wonders to improve my world view.

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      1. Here’s a link to the journal: http://www.fiveminutejournal.com/

        You write in it every morning (3 things you’re grateful for), and every night (3 great things that happened to you during the day). It’s an exercise to fortify your optimism while allowing you to reflect on what you could’ve done differently (and better).

        I received one for Christmas and it’s been really helpful. You might like it!

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  2. I usually say things like “So what have you been up to?” or “Anything new?” to clients when they first sit down in my chair, they usually talk about their life as I get them caped, and combed out, or whatever else I need them to sit still for. I can usually pick up on something I can wish them luck about as they leave also.
    It’s true that it opens up the lines of communication. Sometimes I have interrupt to talk about their hair. Their are odd times too tho, when people just don’t want to talk.

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    1. There are so many opportunities to lift up others in the world, but not everyone takes them. I think many hairstylists are healers and life coaches in disguise. Aaron, sounds like you’re doing a lot more than cutting hair through your work. Given some of the high quality writing I’ve seen you offering on your blog, I could imagine you creating a little booklet for your clients that builds upon the comforting experience you already offer. For some reason, I got that intuitive hit when I was reading your comment, that expanding this aspect of your services could help your business grow. Just wanted to share that with you.

      Karen

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      1. Thanks, I think people like to talk with their hairdresser because they get to know them, and we are removed enough from the rest of their life.

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    1. Thanks so much Marvin. I was thinking of you when I was writing about the kind of enlightened business leader who makes the workplace more enjoyable. There is definitely a reason your business won the Winning Workplace Award from Inc magazine a few years ago. 🙂

      Karen

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