Yesterday I received an unexpected, wonderful acknowledgment from a long-time client. I’ve never met her in person but I’ve coached her over the phone for several years. I’ve had the privilege to support her through numerous ups and downs, anxieties and achievements of professional and personal growth. She sent me a lovely little book for inspiration and a beautiful handwritten card in which she says: “Thank you for being such an inspirational coach for me. I hope you know what a gift you have been in my life. Your intuition, generosity and compassion have created an empowering and engaging coaching alliance which I love. My heartfelt thanks and gratitude go out to you!” This appreciation was a surprise and moved me to tears as I felt very humble in receiving it.
While my heart was filling with a warm sense of gratitude, I began to feel another sensation as well: doubt. Is she writing to me because she wants to end our relationship? I noticed how I started to convince myself that the coaching session we were scheduled for today might be the last one. So, after I thanked her for her thoughtful gift, I asked if she has decided to end our coaching relationship. She burst out laughing and saying: “NO! Of course not, I just wanted you to know how much the work with you means for me. I need your coaching more than ever right now.”
This made me think how in our culture we often thank people when the relationship is ending: teachers get their “apples” at the end of a school year, employees are appreciated for their contributions at work when they leave or retire… or die. And while all that is appropriate, how much more delightful it is to experience random acts of appreciation. To be a recipient of this lovely act of appreciation, has made me think of everyone I’m thankful for in my life right now and makes my heart explode with gratitude.
Who will you surprise today and let them know that you appreciate them?