The Art of Appreciation


Two things happened to me in the last couple of weeks that brought me to this blog post. I wonder if you can relate.

Firstly, I ran a masterclass on living with your inner critic and managing imposter syndrome recently (this is rapidly becoming my most requested masterclass), and that evening I received an email from one of the attendees:

“I just wanted to reach out and thank you for the talk you did today… I really enjoyed it and it really resonated with me. I shall be trying out the techniques you mentioned (in fact right now, my mind is asking whether I have the right to contact you and ask for your support! I’ve reassured her that at worst you’ll say you can’t help, so I’m not in danger)”

This message made my heart sing. One, she was practicing already some of the techniques I shared, two she was reaching out to me, despite feeling nervous about it, and asking for help with something and three, she was saying thank you for my talk.

This small act of kindness (which had taken an act of bravery as you can read in her message) made me feel like doing a tiny happy dance. 

The irony of running a masterclass on the inner critic is not lost on me when quite often I have to have a conversation with my own inner critic about why ‘I am actually perfectly placed to run this thank you very much’ and ‘yes, I am sure I have the knowledge, skills and experience to speak on this topic with authority’. 

Even those of us who look comfortable and confident have an inner critic whispering in their ear, and your words of appreciation go a long way, even when it feels like it might just be a throw away comment to you or something that seems silly to say.

The second incident is that I ran a session at a CIPD conference. It was a virtual session run over zoom, and while I was presenting I wasn’t able to see the chat or view anyone’s face so didn’t get the feedback on how it was going. At the end of the session I was thanked and off I went onto the next thing, hoping it had gone okay. A few moments later I received an email from one of the organisers with a screenshot of the chat during the session. She realised I might not have been able to see it at the time, and wanted to share it. It was full of really lovely comments and thanks for the session. 

Her thoughtfulness in sending that across, in thinking about the difference it might make to me, completely blew me away.

Again, another small act of kindness that made a massive difference.

So, why I am telling you all this (and let me just point out that my inner critic is now saying ‘stop blathering on about yourself and get to the point’)? 


This second incident actually took place on the same day as Day Four of the Quarterly Personal Challenge Review, all about Tribe, Connection and Support. Part of the task for that day is to explore where you can offer help, noticing who might need it in some small way. I am going to expand and review that part of the challenge for next time, because I believe that it’s really important to tell people about the impact they make on you.

Thank people for a job well done, for making you smile, for cheering you up or making your day a little easier. The chances are that they won’t even know that they had such a profound impact on you and your day.

Say thank you, I can guarantee it will make you smile for doing it just as much as it will make them smile.

Your challenge for today is to thank three people.

You might like to:

  • Be specific (when my boys write their thank you cards – yup, my Mum instilled it in me, and I do the same in them! – I always say that they least they have to write is ‘Dear X. Thank you for my Y. It is really Z’).
  • Send it in a card, text or email. Writing it down never hurts, that way they can choose to keep it at revisit it when they’re feeling like they’ve had a tough day
  • Choose people you don’t normally thank, perhaps someone you take for granted (when did you last thank your Postie, your neighbours, your partner…)
  • Pair it with a small gift – this doesn’t have to be expensive (a couple of homebred biscuits, a book you’ve finished with and loved, a poem you’ve enjoyed)
  • Send it anonymously – if the joy really is in the ‘saying thank you’, it shouldn’t matter if they know it’s from you or not!

I’d love to know who you chose, and how it felt. Perhaps you’re the one that’s been unexpectedly thanked recently. Let me know!