a tribute to appreciation

My last training week in Juli, was a step towards reality as we sailed with our skipper and first mate and only our own crew.

We lived in our watch system and sailed day and night, did trial runs for the race start and a practice race to France and back.

I met more of my wonderful crew and experienced us all growing together. The chemistry between skipper, the first mate and crew is really good, which creates a great atmosphere and I know I can learn a lot as a sailor and be safe this year.

It was a milestone to complete all training, and quite amazing for me to see what I have learned, given what I felt like in my first week of training: overwhelmed and doubtful.

learn how to cook

As time passes by, getting equipped for the trip and working on my to-do list, my farewell party marked another milestone.

What I am experiencing is very emotional. Going away and doing something that for most people is not relatable sets free some interesting aspects of our relationships. I am having meaningful conversations, as they are sparked by my motivation for the race, the meaning of life, where we stand in life and what we want from life in this next phase. Going away makes us all reflect on our relationship and friendship. We express what we feel, what we mean to each other and what we love about each other.

After a very emotional night, my friends gave me a gift that completely had me breaking down in tears. Each of them had prepared a postcard with their picture and a personal note of encouragement on it. They are all laminated to make them waterproof and are put together my a little ring as my personal “pocket love” –


I can hang it in my bunk and always remember the people that love and miss me – in good times and in difficult times. I felt showered with appreciation.

It also gave me some food for thought:

  • How come it needs such an event to have people show their love like that?
  • What keeps us from expressing our appreciation more often?
  • What occasions can we create to make it easier?
  • What do we need to build more courage to show our love and appreciation?

It’s a deep desire of most humans to be recognized and seen for what they truly are, feeling accepted and wanted. In your private life as well as in business environments.

My business partner Anne and I see a lot of teams all over the world and those who invest in their relationships and show each other appreciation and acceptance are the once that are truly extraordinary.

One of the most amazing teams I know, I found just outside my doorstep, here in Cologne. My friend Claudia’s team Neumann communications.

Just a week ago, during one of our workshop, a team member was sharing that she was having some doubts about herself and the immediate response of her colleague was:  “it sounds like we should schedule an appreciation rain for you next week – so you are reminded of what you are good at and why we appreciate you so much”

During an appreciation rain, every team member writes down 3 things they cherish most about the team member on a post-it. Then each team member goes forward and the others approach the person one after the other. They look their colleague in the eye and read out loud what they mean to them. After that, they hand over their post its

And yes, depending on the team size this can take some time, and yes it often evokes tears – on both sides, because we are not used to hearing what we are appreciated for anymore and here comes a tsunami of it. 

Just like my pocket love.

  • When have you last told the people in your life what you love them for and what you participate about them?
  • When have you last told your team?
  • Why do you leaders out there have such trouble expressing what you appreciate about your colleagues as most employees state in satisfaction studies on the workplace, that what burdens them the most is the lack appreciation by their immediate superior.
  • What keeps you from doing that?

One answer that we found, working in leadership development, was that this kind of communication is stopped by the leader’s insecurities as they worry about making themselves look stupid and undermining their own authority by putting someone else’s work over their own.

But what is crucial here is the distinction. This appreciation is about your teams or your friend and not about you.

I urge you all to practice to communicate appreciation as it will not only benefit your friend or colleague but will strengthen and clear your overall relationship  – get a coach- write it down – anything….and get over yourself!

The deepest principle of human nature is a craving to be appreciated.

William James

Maybe it is about taming our egos.

It’s not all about you. It’s about those around you. And in the end, you will find that knowing that actually takes a lot of weight off your shoulders.

It feels too good to receive appreciation. It’s healing and puts us in a productive space.

I know – I just had it and it’s so wonderful.

2 Replies to “a tribute to appreciation”

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