Trade Expectations For Appreciation

Back in 2012, I decided to write a journal for my wife. Every day for almost twelve months, I wrote something positive about her and the reasons I loved her.

I looked for the small things she did, which I tended to take for granted, rather than her bigger and more obvious qualities. I looked for the qualities and reasons why I fell in love with her in the first place. I gave the journal to her for Christmas that year, and she cried and said it was the most thoughtful gift that anyone had ever given her.

Here’s the kicker, though: the person that the diary had the greatest emotional impact on was me.

Research suggests that when a human being expresses kindness and appreciation to another human being, it raises the serotonin levels in both people’s brains. Gratitude and appreciation physiologically makes us feel better. Although I invested fewer than five minutes on it every day, the journal made me focus on my wife’s positive aspects.

I noticed that I was consciously looking for all her positives – and, due to this perception and mindset change, I was seeing the subtleties in her nature and behaviour that I would otherwise had overlooked and taken for granted. By looking for the positive qualities in your co-workers and changing your perceptions, you change your view of them, which in turn changes the way you interact with them. Seeing first-hand how this perception impacted my personal relationship and believing that other people would be experiencing the same difficulties, I now feature this in my presentations and training programs, and the results and feedback have literally been outstanding for everyone who has decided to commit to it.

A Professor from UC Berkeley found that when people feel valued and cared for, and received a literal pat on the back for a job well done, and that the person they reported to genuinely cared about them, they were 43% more effective and productive. It doesn’t matter if you are a small business owner or you own Google, appreciating and recognising positives in your workplace will make your staff happier and your business more money, and lots of it.

My Takeaway For This Week:

Think of showing appreciation and gratitude whilst having a positive mindset like a bank account. The more gratitude you show and the more appreciation you build up, the greater your wealth of happiness, health, and successful relationships both at home and at work. Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated and nothing will deflate their motivation more than not feeling valued or appreciated.

Thank you very much for your ongoing support, reading and sharing. Inspiring, motivating and educating you on a fortnightly basis means a lot to me and my team.

If you are interested in discussing a Selfless Leadership corporate training program and transforming the culture of your organisation, or schedule a keynote presentation for a conference or event, please contact me at

Have a great week ahead.


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