Valentine’s Day occurs this week. While the day has become a “Hallmark Holiday,” conjuring up images of romance, cards, flowers, dinner and sweets, there is a deeper meaning relevant to TED* – that of expressing appreciation.

Showing and voicing gratitude and appreciation is a practice we suggest cultivating as a Creator. To do so conveys the message that “I see you as a Creator and acknowledge your contribution to my work and life.” It builds positive energy and relationships as we relate to others as Creators, Challengers and Coaches.

In our executive coaching we often suggest to leaders that they “catch people doing things right” and thank the employee for it (a practice from Ken Blanchard’s classic One Minute Manager). This puts the emphasis on what you want, rather than correcting what you don’t want. While Creators focus on what they want, all three of the Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer roles of the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) ™ are reacting to what they don’t want.

Express-AppreciationExpressing appreciation is just as applicable at home as it is at work. “Catch” your children – especially teenagers – doing things right and acknowledge them for it.

We often begin or end the day with appreciation by sharing at least one thing we appreciate or value about each other. It can be as “mundane” as taking the initiative to put away the dishes, to an aspect of the other’s “character,” such as being vulnerable and telling the truth about the ups and downs of daily life.

A few weeks ago, Donna was with a group of professionals in a large and highly regarded healthcare organization. She learned that one of their standard practices is to conclude meetings with time for each person to express what they appreciated about the time together. Donna was inspired by these corporate leaders who could state their personal appreciation for one another.

A colleague of David’s recently shared that she and her husband refuse to “celebrate” Valentine’s Day as a special day because, she said, “We believe every day should be Valentine’s Day.”

Every day provides abundant opportunities to express appreciation.

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