The Power of Intentional Appreciation:
In Your Community and Your Business
“The Giant of La Costa Village”
La Costa was a peaceful village by the sea. One day the military scouts spot a fearsome giant heading their way. The villagers, soldiers, farmers, husbands, wives and children all run into the castle of the Duke for safety.
The giant arrives and bellows: “Feed me or I will kill you all!”
The walls rumbled; the people trembled; but the Duke had a plan…
What does a story about a little village in Spain have to do with community, business and appreciation?
Fair question – I’ll get back to that story soon but first I want let’s talk about community.
A community is a place where people live together in collective support, safety, and growth.
Speaking of growth, there is an African Proverb that says: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time…is now.”
Communities need good people, who display engagement and leadership. They need YOU to make a community that thrives.
This leads us to appreciating the places, we call ours. How do we show that appreciation?
Drs. Gary Chapman & Paul White have written a pair of books called the 5 Love Languages and the 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. Replace “in the Workplace” with “in your community” and apply it to where you live.
Both books highlight “Acts of Service.” This is selflessly doing things for others. They are telling us that “Acts of Service” express both love and appreciation.
Here is a list you can do as “Acts of Service”:
Honoring those who have gotten involved everyday
Volunteer any way you can
Share your talents and your time
Start a community-based project
Show up to events – remote for now, but when it’s safe, let your community see you
Attend meetings, let your valued voice be heard
Those who work with your kids, need you there too
Share the beauty and flavor of your community
Brag on it
Post about the great things
Comment on others’ posts
Show the world the unity of your community
Here is another thing you can do: Support your local businesses
The idea is to keep your money in the community as much as possible by promoting your local businesses, let other people know where you spend your money and why.
Your support brings more business. Creating thriving companies will attract customers from outside who will bring their money into your community, this then creates a cycle where more businesses will bring their goods to you and your community then improves its infrastructure creating more jobs and opportunities.
If you are going to start a business, start your businesses in your community! If the thing you need, is not in your community, don’t go with your money to another place, create it in your community with all your passion and energy!
Some of these trees were planted already, the next best time…is today!
Now let me get into the Power of Intentional Appreciation and how it can evoke change.
Showing of appreciation should be intentional. Appreciation should not be given randomly or without understanding the purpose and possible outcomes. That could be planting seeds in possibly infertile ground.
Appreciating with intent means knowing who you are or should be appreciating; knowing how to most effectively show that appreciation because not everyone recognizes or values the same forms of appreciation; knowing why you should be appreciative in a given situation and recognizing things that are done to your benefit or on our behalf; and being genuinely thankful, because if it is not genuine then it taints how it is received and it will lead to negative reactions.
The power in that is the way it changes things and like ripples in an ocean it travels far.
There is a restaurant I frequent when I go on vacation. It is popular and during the summer it is very busy. My wife and I were being served by a waitress who was also serving a large family of ten right next to us.
I observed her take their orders and when it came time for their food to arrive there was extra servers on hand to help hand out the meals. She oversaw the activity and when a plate was being handed to a small boy she stopped server because she noticed that this one plate out of ten had an incorrect meal. She apologized and sent it back to get the proper order.
I was amazed. When she came over to my table to check on us, I asked if I could talk to the manager. I had to allay her concerns that something was wrong and when the manager arrived worried about a complaint, I relayed what had happened and her excellent service.
The manager beamed at me and said she’s his top server. I told him, I hope he lets her know that. He promised, that at the end of the shift he would gather the staff together and acknowledge how much he appreciates her.
Think about the impact that could have on a hard-working employee in a position where thanks are few and complaints are likely the only feedback given.
You have now planted a seed in fertile ground where a more loyal and positive employee will grow.
Now what if that server was new and they never get encouragement or compliments. Think about the impact our lack of appreciation has on someone that is trying to grow without any positivity or gratitude.
It is not unreasonable to expect to see disillusionment, withdrawal, and withering effort.
NOW…Think about the impact your genuine appreciation gives and the results that continue to occur like joy, positive energy, reciprocity & multiplicity – you’ll get it back and it will be paid forward exponentially!
Your employees, your business and your living community will react the same way - as an overworked waitress, who needs to know she matters or like a disgruntled employee, who never knew they could be better.
The Power you have will make the difference!
When will you plant the tree?
Oh and here’s how the story ends…
The duke told the giant he would gather all the food but that maybe if he had time to meet with his wise-men that maybe they could to give him something special along with the food.
Skeptical but intrigued the giant agreed.
The Duke gathered the wisest people of the village, they came up with a plan that needed everyone to act.
Over the next few hours, the farmers and bakers and the cooks all brought carts and carts of food to the giant and while he ate, the soldiers and craftsmen and builders cut down trees, tied the trunks together and covered it with hay, making a huge bed for the giant on the beach.
That night when the giant ate his fill, the duke said, “For sparing us, we have made you a bed of hay on our beach to let the soothing sounds of the waves aid in your slumber.”
The tired giant liked the idea and laid down into a deep slumber.
That night the tide came in and floated the sleeping giant’s bed that was actually a raft. By morning it had carried the giant far away to the horizon where he looked as if he were a distant mountain until he was gone from the horizon.
The villagers celebrated and were quite joyous. The duke spoke to them and said, “Mark this day, with my appreciation, and learn this lesson: When we work together, we can make even giant problems go away.”
I just love “Dad Jokes”!