The appreciation circle: A new birthday tradition

by Betty Lochner on June 22, 2011

We celebrated my husband’s birthday last weekend.  At the last minute, I realized I didn’t have a card for him.  I started to write a simple message on a blank card.  I wanted it to be special but was drawing a blank. Then, I had brain spark (a small, but mighty idea):  Why not tell him my message in person when I give him my present?

Since showing appreciation is even more powerful when:

1) You say it in person, and,

2) you say it in front of someone.

I knew I was on to something.

Then, I took it a step further – why not have everyone do that?

Here’s what we did: When I gave him my present, instead of having him read a card (that wasn’t there), I told him what I appreciate about him and then asked everyone to go around the table and do the same.

There were 9 of us gathered.  Everyone, without hesitation, said something spontaneous beginning with “I appreciate…..”

Some of the things shared were “your humor”, “that you let me date your daughter”, “that you taught me about music”, until we made it all the way around the table.

It was a simple and powerful way to show some birthday love.  And, you could tell by the smile on his face that he felt the love and appreciation.

I think we have a new birthday tradition.


Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home.

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