|Your clients, employees, boss, children, spouse, parents….. (I can go on and on here) All have one thing in common – each is hungry for sincere appreciation. Most feel that others do not recognize or appreciate their true worth. Praise and appreciation can work wonders in building long lasting, viable relationships.
Here’s an interesting illustration: In the fall of 1860, the steamship “Lady Elgin” set out with a total of 393 passengers and crew members, to make the trip from Chicago to Milwaukee. Just off the shore of Evanston, she was rammed by a lumber schooner and sank. As a result, 279 of the passengers and crew members died. Of those who were saved, 17 of them were saved by a student at Northwestern University, Edward W. Spence. He made 16 trips in all from the shore to the sinking ship and back again, saving the 17 lives.
Because of physical exertion and the coldness of the water, Spence was in shock at the end of the 16th trip. It was reported that as they carried him to the hospital, he kept asking the question, “Did I do my best?” As a result of the incident, Edward Spence spent the remainder of his life as an invalid in a wheelchair.
Fifty years later, Northwestern granted him a Bachelor of Arts degree, not because he ever finished the class work – he didn’t. He was awarded the degree because they decided he deserved it. It was at that time the plaque commemorating his heroism was placed on the wall of the old Coast Guard Station at the southeast corner of the campus. It hangs there yet today.
When he was 80 years old, Edward Spence was interviewed by Chicago newspaper reporters. They asked him, “What is your most vivid memory of that tragic fall day when the “Lady Elgin” went down off the coast of Evanston?” Mr. Spence’s answer was, “The fact that not one of the 17 people whose lives I saved ever came back to say thank you — not one.”
Look for opportunities to express appreciation. People want recognition as individuals more than any other single thing — even those who never perform an act of heroism.