The New Year is traditionally a time for looking forwards towards the coming 12 months and forming our resolutions, all those things that we would be pleased to see ourselves doing, the changes in our ways of living that we wish to make. Over the years we at BRIEF have questioned the effectiveness of this approach to changing our ways of living and have proposed a more Solution Focused approach to this, an approach that is more likely to be successful. However this year we would like to offer you an alternative. Earlier in the year I was surprised, and delighted and touched to receive an email from a colleague. This is someone who initially trained in Solution Focus with me, probably over 10 years ago, and with whom I have stayed in touch through his regular invitations to me to participate in an innovative and exciting project that he has been developing for some time. However this year, as a part of his preparations for a major and demanding expedition that he will be undertaking, he contacted those people who had made a contribution in his life to express his appreciation and I was lucky enough to be one of those people. Of course we have known for a while that it is ‘good for us’ to say thank-you, that an appreciative attitude is associated with mental health. But receiving appreciation is powerful as well. Appreciation energises and strengthens the ‘receiver’, enhancing the relationship with the ‘giver’ and increasing the likelihood that the ‘receiver’ of the message of appreciation will ‘do more’ of ‘what worked’.
So here is our proposal. Find yourself some quiet time. You will need a minimum of 30 minutes, perhaps longer. You might want to make an ‘appointment’ in your diary.
Reflect back over the past year and bring to mind those people who have made a significant contribution to your life, either at work or at home. Think about each of them in turn.
Choose just three of these people.
What has each of them done that you have appreciated?
What impact has each of them had on you?
What difference have they made?
How have they added value to your living?
And how have the ripples of their impact extended out and touched on other people’s lives?
Think about these questions in relation to each of these three people in turn.
And then consider what you would like to do to show each of these three people your appreciation and your gratitude. How will you let each of them know? What will be your unique way of expressing your appreciation, perhaps the same for all of them, perhaps different in each case? And watch out for the difference that this makes.
So finally, as we come to the end of 2017, the whole of the BRIEF team sends you our very best wishes for 2018. May the coming year be fulfilling, a year in which you find the time and energy to make your own special contribution in those communities that are important to you.
31st December 2017