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The Power of Appreciation: Who Could You See Differently? What Could You Celebrate?

February 28th, 2013

I was enjoying a rare day at home, working in my jammies, when I got the news that a man I worked with for over ten years had died.  His service was starting in just 45 minutes, so I quickly dressed, jumped in the car, and made it just in time.

His rabbi and family members shared stories of the difference this man made in their lives: How he listened and took a genuine interest in them, made them feel loved and valued, and inspired them to pursue their passions; how they became lovers of music, dance, theater, and art because they experienced it with him through his eyes; and, how the twinkle in his eye, and hearty laugh, helped them to find humor in every experience, especially in difficult circumstances.

His children and grandchildren all nodded in agreement with every word. I was nodding, too.

And then, I remembered that when I was working with this gentleman, I didn’t appreciate these qualities. I was busy being focused on the work to be done and his ability or inability to get the work done. My head (at that time) was filled with thoughts of judgment and criticism because, in my opinion, he didn’t seem to enjoy his work, he wasn’t getting results, and I prided myself in being the queen of results.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote:

To laugh often and love much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better
whether by a healthy child, a garden patch,or a redeemed social condition;
To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

Hmmmm….. What I focus on is what I see. What I focus on is usually all that I see. What I focus on creates my reality. Because of my focus, I missed out on truly experiencing the “all” of this man. I missed out on appreciating and utilizing the gifts, and the success, he was bringing to the table.

I wonder… What could have happened (for me, for him, for the organization) had I asked him about all of the loves of his life, and saw the world for a moment through the light in his eyes? What could have happened (for me, for him, and the organization) had he shared his life experiences, his love of the arts and what inspired him? What could have happened had our breaks and lunches and social events been infused with the spirit of the arts and children?

How might we and  how might I have approached our work differently? How could our results have expanded had we ignited our creativity, invoked our state of wonder, and revitalized our energy? What difference could we have made, how much greater could our results have been, had we and I approached our work with joy and aliveness?

As I reflect, I could beat myself up because of what I didn’t think, say, or do at that time. Instead, I choose to acknowledge and celebrate that I am always in the process of creating the next version of the highest vision of myself. And today, the new, evolved version of me can SEE him and appreciate him. The new highest vision of me celebrates me thinking differently, powerfully, and choosing to see and experience the divine spark in everyone one and everything, including myself.

I acknowledge and celebrate that I have grown from the Queen of Results to the  Queen of Significant Results!

Who could you see differently at work? At home?  What could you appreciate about them? What difference could that make? And what can you celebrate about you?