I have written about "appreciations" before, as both a teacher and coach, I have taught myself to listen and observe tellers with the intent of appreciation. What do I see or hear that I appreciate about the teller? Sometimes, in class, the important appreciation may be that the student "got through" the story, after much resistance and encouragement. I try to do the same with all the slams and open mics in existence. I try not to compare, or judge, but look for the good. It's not always easy.
This weekend, I found myself in a perplexing situation. I attended a performance that I was looking forward to. Several colleagues had said it was a great piece to see. As the performance began, I found myself "not liking" many of the elements of this presentation. I was falling back into the old habit of judging, and I seemed to look for more things that I didn't like.
During a break in the performance, I stood outside and wondered why I was so negative? Were my expectations too high? Was I expecting something different than I got? Why was I not enjoying myself or the presentation?
When they started up again, I prodded myself to "watch and listen with the intent of appreciation." I changed my attitude. I began enjoying myself and the performance. I kept finding things that I DID enjoy and appreciate about the people and the presentation.
This lesson was about my attitude and approach to the situation. There were still some parts of the performance that I was not enamored of, but I focused on the good. I did not have the opportunity to speak with any of the performers afterwards, but if I had, I would have given some of them my appreciations.
I think the more important part was that I walked away with a positive feeling vs. feeling grumpy because I didn't like everything.
So, remember - listen for appreciation!