How to Make Someone’s Day

trophy-e1448234345798Thursday morning I received an email from someone that changed my entire day. It was unexpected. It was unsolicited. But it was amazing. I’ll just share the first line.

“You may not know that you are appreciated or that your message resonates with others; but it does.”

You know those days where nothing you do seems to work? The days when none of your conversations go the way you want them to? The days when you start to question your own effectiveness and ability to make a difference? Well, this wasn’t one of those days. It was turning out to be one of those weeks.

It was only three sentences long, but this one email changed my perspective in a second. It didn’t just make me feel good; it made me feel great – like I’d won first place in a contest I didn’t even know I had entered.

You’re likely familiar with Abraham Maslow and his Hierarchy of needs. First presented in 1943 as part of a paper he titled “A Theory of Human Motivation,” Maslow’s hierarchy categorizes five stages of human development. Curious about what drives people to behave the way they do, he identified five different levels of human growth.

Level I is made up of basic survival needs – Food, shelter, air, etc. Without these, we cannot physically survive. Maslow calls these Physiological needs. One they are taken care of, we can turn our attention to satisfying our Level II need – safety. This group of needs encompasses personal and financial security as well as general health concerns.

Levels III, IV, and V start to get complicated. They are, respectively, Love & Belonging, Esteem, and Self-Actualization. As humans, we have a strong urge to feel accepted for who we are, to feel good about our place in society, and to believe we are achieving our highest potential. The surprise email I received last week sure gave me a boost in all three of these areas.

I’m betting something like this has happened to you. In the midst of a tough period – a time when you were doubting yourself or feeling unappreciated – someone reached out and gave you a lift. They had no idea how important their words would be. They had no way of knowing just how badly you needed the lift. They were just saying “I appreciate you. Thanks for what you do.”

Somebody out there needs to hear that from you.

This week, as you prepare to gather with friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving, take a minute to think of someone you could reach out to with a word of encouragement. You don’t have to write a book. You don’t have to spend a lot of time searching for the perfect way to say it. Just let the words flow.

I guarantee you’ll make someone’s day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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