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Offer Praise

JW Way Fundamental #26: Show heartfelt appreciation.“Recognize positive contributions of others. Regularly extend meaningful acknowledgment and appreciation. Give sincere, authentic praise.”

As stated in last week’s message and now restated for this week —teamwork makes the dream work. In the spirit of the long-waited season of March Madness, I will take my shot at some basketball metaphors for this week’s JW Way. Technically, there will be something for non-sports fans also so please don’t block me out just yet!

When we work to create, foster, and maintain an environment that appreciates the contributions of those around us, the team’s connection becomes stronger, thereby promoting growth and our collective success. A cohesive, communicative unit can accomplish great things that the individual alone cannot. This is one of the reasons that many people are attracted to team sports. Unequivocally, a team is greater than the sum of its parts. In constructing a basketball roster, from a rudimentary viewpoint, you need Abigail who can shoot from behind the arc, Bobby for his elite court vision and passing skills, Caroline for her rebounding and shot-blocking ability, Danny for his efficient post play, and Elaine for her one-on-one lockdown defense. Each individually may be incredibly talented, but in order to win the game you need the team to function on all cylinders. Even LeBron’s game has weaknesses. And give me the collective of Abigail, Bobby, Caroline, Danny and Elaine over LeBron all day, any day.

When a teammate makes a positive contribution, this should be acknowledged and praised. One way to show heartfelt appreciation is to provide particular and specific reasons why you are thankful for someone’s contribution. Expressly state what in particular you are thankful for. Such appreciation has a deeper, more genuine meaning than a blanket “thank you” and requires the giver to be conscientious in their gratitude. Meaningful acknowledgment and appreciation can, and often does, take the form of a conversation or written exchange. At the same time, for some, words may not be the best way to show heartfelt appreciation and acts of kindness may be more meaningful to a particular individual in acknowledging their contributions and efforts.

As we start this week, I kindly ask each of you to momentarily reflect on something that someone did or said that positively contributed to your life, which in retrospect, you may have undervalued or underappreciated at the time. Reach out to that person and tell them what their words/actions meant to you, and give thanks now. Be specific in what it meant to you.

To quote Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Living a life filled with heartfelt appreciation will create an indelible mark on the recipients of your gratitude.

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