The Promise of Appreciation

My son with his new stuffed animal penguin from the zoo.


How many times have you been on a plane and thought, “I sure hope this pilot doesn’t succeed today!”

Hmmm.  Probably never.

As a Dad I rarely recall thinking, “I hope on Christmas Day on our 2-week vacation to Kauai the kids will ask, ‘Why didn’t Santa bring us more presents this year?'” (yes, this happened last year. Ouch.)

As a Speaker and Performer I don’t recall the last time I was like, “Dang, the audience is laughing hysterically again?  Taking notes about what I’m saying?  Another standing ovation?  How sick can I get of these?”

Yeah, that just doesn’t happen.

And yet I think of how often either little acts of service, or huge, major accomplishments go vastly unnoticed.

It’s not that we meant to say nothing, but sadly when we don’t say something of acknowledgement or appreciation, in essence our silence can make it so there is not just a lack of expression, but possibly even a question of whether or not we want those around us to succeed!

The ultimate example of engagement as The Audience in regard to this concept is:

The cheering audience for the accountant who just tried his best to get through his speech, in front of his peers, even if he was scared, admitted it, couldn’t swallow and needed a drink of water, and had a tough time getting through it.

Awesome!  The audience sent him love and good vibes.  Perfect.

Promise kept by Performer and Audience.

The ultimate example of engagement on The Team in regard to this concept is:

The basketball player shooting free-throws who just missed the free-throw.

High-Fives for Everyone!  (You’re still loved, still on this team, buddy.  Now hit the showers.)

How about The Promise to The Family?  How often are we expressing true appreciation to those we are around day in and day out?

I took my son on a Daddy-Son trip to San Diego last week.  It was his special trip, so that meant San Diego Zoo, his favorite place on earth.

He got to pick out a gift from the Gift Shop as his Trip Gift.

He chose the smallest, cheapest penguin he could find: $16.

I asked him if he wanted the bigger, larger than life, too big to be real penguin for $57.

He looked at it, touched it, smiled, and then looked at the little one, and said, “This one is great.”

I asked, “Don’t you like this GIANT penguin?”

He said, “I think that price is too much for a stuffed animal, Dad.”

Pride beamed from my wallet.  This boy is our saver, he saves every penny from his chores, so I knew what he’d choose.

What he didn’t realize was that I’d budgeted for the bigger penguin and planned to get it for him.

After 45 minutes of going back and forth I finally demanded he put the little penguin back and accept my gift of the gigantic, overstuffed, ridiculously monstrous penguin for $57.

As I reached in my wallet and made the transaction he wrapped his arms around my belly and held on for an extremely long time, hugging and thanking me over and over again for this rare and wonderful gift.

It dawned on me he’s pretty much the hand-me-down son of our family, always getting his big brother’s clothes, toys, stuffed animals….this one was a real gift to him.

And it was a real gift to me to give him this gift.

What a wonderful moment of appreciation between father and son, over a stuffed animal penguin.




But have you been on the receiving end of NON-Appreciation after you’ve SUCCEEDED or given your best at a high level and not gotten at least a little bit of love?

For this reason, as a Pilot stands there and says, “Have a nice day”, I realize the truth behind his words – in actuality he’s saying, “Happy you’re alive.  It’s because of me.  Don’t mind me.  You’re going to have a nice day because of me.  And the rest of your life.  You’re welcome.”  That’s when I say, “Brother, thank you for not crashing and being awesome.”

Pilots always laugh when I say that.

Or how about when you KILL on stage and the audience just kind of sits there, not responding, not laughing, not embracing the brilliance of all you’ve done.

Well, if it’s an accountant group, that’s understandable, since they laugh inside.  And clap there, too.  (Oh come on, that’s funny!)

But what if they DO clap, and love you, and ask you to return as soon as possible?  Then that’s cool.  That’s great!

But what’s worse than that?

Answer: When the meeting planner doesn’t even acknowledge or appreciate that you did well!  Brutal!

In other words, we are all a part of The Audience, we are all a part of a Team and Family, whether we want to accept that fact or not.  We keep The Promise when we show appreciation for a job well done to all parties involved.

And therein lies Leadership!  Yes friends, it is very simple: Acknowledgement, Appreciation, Gratitude – guess what!  These things are USELESS unless EXPRESSED!

So hi-five the pilot.

Smack the behind of the airball free-throw shooting center.

Give ONE PERSON this day, even simply ONE person you work with, or serves you in some way, or maybe that person you take for granted at home who is always there, just give that person ONE compliment, and YOUR LIFE WILL CHANGE.


With a hug and a smile tell the Audio Visual team, Catering, Servers, Stage Manager, Plate Setter, Bellman, dude vacuuming, lady polishing the glasses, The Photographer, the DJ, Event Planner and Speaker and Band and every Attendee how AWESOME they are.

Maybe even just give them a thumbs up.

A wink of approval.

A smile?

Heck – look them in the eye for goodness’ sake!

Because guess what!  They probably don’t hear it enough, probably don’t feel appreciation as much as everyone wishes they could.

No one says to themselves, “I sure hope no one acknowledges or appreciates me today.”

Only place not to show too much appreciation – MEN, leave the ladies at the gym alone.  They don’t want your appreciation, it makes them upset, just stay away and do your bicep curls.

Everyone else, everywhere else, APPRECIATE!

And if you see someone give a great talk, or do an amazing performance, even perform at their job to a high level of awesome, TELL THEM!  Because a standing ovation is something no one has gotten tired of EVER, and we keep our Promise when we express that level of appreciation.

~ jason hewlett

Jason Hewlett, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, is a Keynote Speaker and Master of Ceremonies for the largest corporate events in the world. His primary message, The Promise, a combination of engagement and entertainment meets inspiration, has been acknowledged as life-changing by Conference Attendees, C-Level Executives and Hollywood Elite.


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2 thoughts on “The Promise of Appreciation”

  1. Jason, oh how right you are in asking that we pay attention to all of the people who serve us so well and allow us to keep our focus on the message. This is exactly why I created Anne’s Toothbrush Club. I wanted a unique way to say thanks and something that was practical and useful. And the two dollar bill is magical. It makes people smile, it makes people laugh…..and it says thanks in a different way. Now my turn to say thanks to you. Your friendship is priceless, your smile is contagious and your focus on goodness is appreciated by so many. My life is richer for knowing you.

    1. Anne! You are so wonderful. This is so amazingly kind my friend. Right back at you! And we have heard from your referral so I will let you know if that event comes through, what an honor you would refer me to your clients and friends!

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