Appreciation magic

Working in complexity can be a challenging space to work in. There are often conflicting values, endless information about what are often heart wrenching problems with no obvious solutions and a constantly changing environment.

Amidst this mess, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and impotent. After all what can you do to navigate this complexity? Two of the simplest yet most magical tools I have observed that anyone and everyone can do are to Listen and Appreciate. I will muse more on the art of listening in another article, for today I want to comment on what it is to appreciate.

The Oxford Dictionary defines appreciation as “the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.” Another definition is the “recognition of the quality, value, significance, or magnitude of people and things.”

Bringing appreciation into your daily life is a profound practice that enables you to operate at your best. Bringing appreciation into collaborative processes takes that further and can unleash the combined experience, knowledge and wisdom of the collaborators.

Doug Avery, New Zealand author of The Resilient Farmer, says, “when you wake up every morning and you are grateful for what you have got, you have got the door already open to have a better day.”

HOPEI love his phrasing of having “the door already open” as isn’t this exactly what we are aiming for when we take part in collaborative processes? We are getting together in HOPE (Help Other Possibilities Emerge) for some innovation, for some better solutions to the challenges we face.

Bringing appreciation to this task is crucial. What does appreciation do? It:

  • Makes us pause
  • Encourages us to observe
  • Enables us to reflect
  • Provides a means for feedback
  • Takes us outside ourselves
  • Makes others feel good

Not only does the act of appreciation enable you to tune into what you value, it also provides feedback to the people around you. When people feel valued, they deal with and accept change more effectively. In other words, when you feel good, you can do good.

Author Melody Beattie says:

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

There are many practices of appreciation that you can adopt to ensure the magic is alive and well in your life. It could be an appreciation journal, a commitment to offer an appreciative comment everyday. Perhaps play the appreciation alphabet game that we frequently do in our family. This involves using the letters of the alphabet to prompt your appreciations for that day.

Whatever act of appreciation you undertake, it is bound to cause a ripple in the ocean of complexity and move us all a step closer to the success we seek.

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