I’m often asked what The Appreciation Company experience is like. I love this question. It’s an opportunity to talk about positive personal impact.
When you contemplate what occurs for people doing the appreciating (gift givers) and those who are appreciated (gift recipients), you’ll feel the depth of what happens during your experience.
You’ll understand that you are making a positive personal impact.
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Why Positive Personal Impact is So Important
Personal impact is the effect of an individual’s actions on other people in an organization or in society. An individual can make a negative or a positive personal impact on others.
Yes, The Appreciation Company is a 100% digital service. And yes, we seek to be elegant and efficient when you are appreciating someone or being appreciated.
Yet, our digital platform is just part of our business.
We also want gift givers to be mindful of the profoundly human and emotional experience that occurs beyond the transaction of organizing and contributing to a gift.
Exercise: How to Envision + Benefit From Positive Personal Impact
I’m going to take you through a short visualization exercise to help you experience what positive personal impact feels like.
Follow along with my video or use the transcript below.
Transcript of Visualization Exercise
Imagine a coach or teacher from middle or high school that was memorable and impacted your life.
- What was that coach or teacher’s name?
- What subject did they cover?
- Want stands out for you that this individual taught, a lesson imparted, or an experience they were present for?
Do you have that movie in your mind? Can you visualize that experience?
Imagine writing your coach or teacher a note today thanking them for something they did that had a positive personal impact on your life.
Don’t get hung up on the mechanics of writing, such as your handwriting, getting a card, or finding the time to write and send it. Instead, focus on what you’ll communicate in your note.
- What would you share?
- Would you tell her about your family and children today, where you live, and something you’ve accomplished?
- What would you share about this person’s impact on you and why it is meaningful?
Stay in this experience for a minute, take a breath, and feel what it feels to imagine sharing what you want to share.
For me, I’d share with my cross-country coach that, to this day, I have a life-long love of running. I’d smile at some of the things that were said and done nearly 30 years ago that we don’t say and do today because things seem so buttoned up with kids.
Envision your person reading your note
Now, imagine the person you are writing to opening your note and reading it. If there was a photo, imagine that person looking at it. How would they feel?
Would that person be touched by your words? Would they smile or let out a little laugh?
Next, imagine you asked 10 classmates or teammates to write a note to that same coach or teacher, and they gladly do.
Those classmates give you the notes, some include photos, and you package them into a box or an album to give to your coach or teacher.
Finally, imagine your coach or teacher reading those notes and looking at the photos.
One by one, they are opened and enjoyed. Some share lessons taught and wisdom imparted. Other notes share funny anecdotes and quips.
Again, consider the feelings that would arise in the person reading those notes.
We all hope that what we do and how we spend our time has meaning and purpose. Parents seek this for their kids. Teachers seek this for their students. Coaches for their players.
Finally, by sharing your note, you deposit goodwill into the bank of purpose for another human being. By organizing the group of letters, those deposits grow and compound.
The Science Behind Positive Personal Impact
The incredible thing about the human mind is that people are the only species on the planet with the ability to envision, as you did during the exercise.
Not only that, the feelings we feel during the experience of envisioning are real emotions. These aren’t fake in any way. Dr. Dan Gilbert has proven this and explains this capability in his Ted Talk.
Our prefrontal cortex–that big part of your brain behind your forehead–gives humans the ability to predict, simulate, and envision what doesn’t exist.
And, the exercise you just went through created real emotions that you actually felt. The positive personal impact you recalled and envisioned your other class or teammates doing elicited real emotion.
It’s also been proven is that connecting with and appreciating others makes us happier. But it matters how we connect matters.
“Benefits of giving spikes when people felt a real sense of connection with those they were helping and can envision the difference they were making in another person’s life.” says Dr. Elizabeth Dunn.
So, what you just did, by going through the envisioning exercise, is to use a uniquely human capability, the prefrontal cortex, to create a movie in your mind.
The act of envisioning your coach or teacher and your friends appreciating that individual creates real emotions in your body.
In turn, those emotions make you happier because you can envision making a difference ins someones life by appreciating them.
How is that for a little happiness magic?
The Role of The Appreciation Company in Creating Positive Personal Impact
To sum up, the experience of The Appreciation Company is the full circle.
Someone had a positive personal impact on your life. You now have an opportunity to appreciate that person and bring some happiness to them.
Research on happiness, gratitude, and expressing appreciation confirms that acting upon feelings of gratitude benefits both the recipient and the giver.
In one study, properly thanking a person, even if done late, creates a surge in happiness for both individuals, with benefits lasting a month.
That’s right, for a whole month, both the person who thanked someone felt happier and the person who received the thank you felt happier.
You now have a visualization and a science-based explanation of The Appreciation Company experience.