Appreciating others is something we need to keep in the forefront of our thinking. While showing that appreciation can sometimes be elusive; personal awareness of the challenge goes a long way toward the resolution. Everyone wants relationship ROI; in order to get, you must give.
One of the things that I love about speaking professionally is that I get to meet, and keep in touch with, great folks from all around the world. The president of a good sized contracting company from South Carolina recently sent me this story suggesting that it went along with advice that I offered at his industry’s recent annual meeting:
When I was a kid, my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of eggs, and sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed! Yet all my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that biscuit and eat every bite!
When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I’ll never forget what he said: “Honey, I love burned biscuits.” Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, “Your Momma put in a hard day at work today and she’s real tired. And besides – a little burnt biscuit never hurt anyone!”
Culpability is an uncomfortable relative, however like all relatives, must be acknowledged. I, Ed Rigsbee, must admit some personal guilt here. After reading this story, I instantly thought about a comment I recently made to my wife after she overcooked some cornbread muffins one recent morning—my bad! The important thing to keep in mind is that we will all make relationship mistakes; it is inevitable! The question is simply this, “Have you made enough Relationship Bank Deposits to cover your withdrawals?” And trust me; my comment cost me a big time withdrawal.
Be Mindful and Keep Perspective
The story above, in my opinion, illustrates appreciativeness at its best. Do (we, you, I) appreciate all the large and small things that our special someone does for us—even the effort and the intent? This is something of which to be always mindful.
Another important element in this story is that the husband kept things in perspective. When you think about it, a crusty biscuit really is no big deal. However, opening one’s mouth in the situation could be. By putting the situation in perspective, realizing the wife’s exhaustion and intent, even when the implementation was not as successful as usual—the intent is really what mattered. The wife made the effort! How many times in your relationship have you failed to even make an effort? I sure know I’m guilty in this area.
I truly believe that appreciativeness of others can bridge many deep relationship valleys and help to climb difficult relationship peaks. Make your Relationship Bank Deposits today.
Ed is the Founder and CEO of the 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, Cigar PEG Philanthropy through Fun, and president at Rigsbee Research which conducts qualitative member ROI research and consulting for associations and societies. He has been called “the dynamite that broke up our log jam” by association executives—rarely politically correct and almost always provocative—and from a dozen years as a United States Soccer Federation referee, Ed calls it the way he sees it. Exceptional resources at www.rigsbee.com.