The Appreciation Factor

All things Appreciation: Things to Appreciate and the Ways we look at, Show and Think about Appreciation.


You Could Change a Life … or at Least Someone’s Day

As you’ve seen read know by now, I’m/the Appreciation Factor is a huge proponent of writing and sending Thank You notes.  I’m also in support of writing and sending what I call the “Just Because” note.  

I think that we are all affected by one person or another each and every day – and many times in a positive way.  So I ask, why not send a note (a”Just Because” note) to those who we want to reconnect with, those who help us, inspire us, positively challenge us and/or care about us?  I believe that we all can benefit from an unexpected note of cheer if we’re feeling down, going through a challenge or transition, or even be congratulated as reinforcement on a good job.

Now I’m not saying, as my title may allude to, that my or your note is definitely going to save a life, but who knows?  Words are powerful. Perhaps your note will arrive at just the right time to be that force of change, the one thing that changes an attitude, inspires and/or turns things around.  Can you think of a note you’ve received that’s meant a lot to you?  Personally, I have several notes that I carry in my planner.  I have one that recognized me for acting professionally in a very challenging and negative situation, one where I’d sent a gift that was especially meaningful, and another that shared how my actions created a positive reaction in someone else’s life.  I re-read each of them periodically.

My Approach in 2015:

I’m sure you’ve been reading/seen quite a few resolutions online already.  I’ve even seen several resolutions where the writer plans to increase her/his appreciation.  I decided to take things a step further. (As an aside, I don’t set resolutions, I create goals to strive towards.)

One of my goals this year is to “Write 1 note of appreciation/just because note (hand written is preferred*), each week or minimally 2-3 times a month.” 

It’s sounds a bit daunting I know. How many of us find time to keep up with all of the “To Dos” we already have on our plate, let alone adding a task that will take concerted energy, effort and stamps!  As this is in conjunction with my commitment and desire to be even more thoughtful and appreciative in the coming year, I think I will be successful.
(These will be in addition to the Thank You notes I already write after interviews, receiving gifts, going to lunch etc..)

Here are just a few examples of the types of Just Because notes I hope to write (I’m sure more will naturally come to mind as I progress through the year):

  • A note to tell someone how much they’ve inspired me
  • A compliment on a good job – (e.g., a note to our handyman for keeping the property running efficiently)
  • Congratulations on an achievement I’ve heard or read about
  • An “I’m impressed” for someone who acted with integrity through a challenging time
  • Encouragement to a job seeker or friend running/starting their own business
  • “Just because I was thinking of you today” – when something I’ve seen or heard made me think of a friend or colleague or simply just because they are my friend

I’m really looking forward to working on this goal.  I think that even the simple task of finding/buying fun and interesting stationary and blank note cards will add to my success.  Don’t get me a wrong, do I think a call would be a great way to connect and express my sentiment, or even a store-bought greeting (vs. blank) card?  Sure, but I’ve always found that the personalized hand written notes I’ve received have been the most powerful.  I’ve appreciated the extra effort it took to write something and mail it.  In fact, I have several that I keep in my planner that I have read many times over because they’ve meant so much.

Here are some cards I already have on hand. (I’ve tried to list the source or a link to purchase where possible.)

Just Because Cards 2

Clockwise from Left to Right Row by Row. 1. Vineyard Vines Patchwork (Unfortunate Appears to be sold out – Try your local VV shop), 2. Be Optimistic unknown source (picked up at craft fair), 3. Ciao (Unknown was a gift),
4. “It’s My Bag” by Simply K (I make these. Contact me for details.), 5. Anchor Thank you Paperchase, 6. Blank Stationary,
7. Turquoise/Orange Spiral graph Flowers In May (Ask for info as I bought at an outdoor market), and 8. Hey Stranger Paperless Post electronic card.

*My one exception to the hand written note is using an electronic one when I don’t have a mailing address.  My new favorite resource (for those of you who read my post about Electronic Thank You Cards – which I’ve since updated), is Paperless Post.  This is a great free* site that does not limit the number of online cards you can send.  (*The site requires “coins” if you want to send one with an “envelope,” a designer card (e.g., Kate Spade), and for some select categories.  However, upon registration you’ll receive 25 free coins!)  Paperless Post also has the option of  sending your personalized cards as a paper option through the mail.   It’s definitely worth checking out!

*NOTE I am NOT paid nor compensated by Paperless Post. I simply really like using it! Plus they are great listeners when it comes to feedback. A tracking improvement suggestion I made is already in the works!


While promising to write a set number of cards per week or month can be too much for most people.  I hope you’ll consider sending out at least a few of these Just Because notes in the coming year.  The time and consideration will definitely make an impact on your recipient, and should she/he say thanks, you’ll hear in their voice how much this extra effort meant to her/him.

Do you already send Just Because notes?   What has prompted you to mail one?  Have you ever received one that resonated with you?  Do you keep it on hand to read again and again?  Think you might try to write some this year?


An Inspired Idea

As you may know, I love sharing articles that I think inspire appreciation of life, self and others.   I couldn’t pass up sharing one from this week’s MV Times, (the paper from my favorite island, Martha’s Vineyard), Artist Plants Positive Messages on Martha’s Vineyard Landscape”.  The artist here executed a unique project that lends itself to an abundance of positive outcomes.  Don’t be surprised if you see this shared on Facebook or executed in other locations!

Quick Overview
Martha’s Vineyard artist Julie Kidd came up with an idea to “inspire Island residents to focus on the positive aspects of their lives and feel good about themselves.”  Her idea:  post inspirational and encouraging signs/messages in unexpected places around the island.  “Every person that comes across them will have their own interpretation based on who they are.”  There are I believe, 10 messages (it wasn’t confirmed in the article), which will be located in downtown areas, libraries, theatres, random road side locations and even the in the regional high school’s cafeteria from April 23rd – May 7th.

Here’s an example:
Photo by Steve Myrick 










Here are Some of My Favorites:

    • I love looking at you  which will appear on at least one of the Island movie theatre screens  (Don’t you just love the irony here as well?)
    • You are a bright idea  is located in the high school cafeteria  (What a great compliment to pay a student.)
    • There is so much to love about you  as seen above (How many attributes could you come up with about yourself after reading this statement?) 

Not only do I love Ms. Kidd’s concept and her messages, I was also impressed with her perseverance.  Apparently she came up with the idea several years ago, and despite being previously turned down by several town officials and potential locations she tried again and went through all the red tape needed to see it through.  Ms Kidd said that she felt that this was something that she really needed to do and that she was “called to do it.”  This thought she believes, brought the energy and right people together this time to make her art project a reality.

Now I know that some may see her messages as too lovey-dovey or saccharine, but I love them for their simplicity and their ability to be interpreted in so many different ways.  I also love the idea for its originality and the unexpected locations.  I can’t think of another execution like this – Can you?  If so please share.  Think of the change this could bring about if someone was having a bad day, or if they needed some inspiration.  It’s almost like having a mobile inspiration door.

I’m heading to Martha’s Vineyard this weekend, if I come across any of these signs, I’ll be sure to post pictures!


If these messages aren’t inspiring to you, what words, messages or approach would be?  What do you think about Ms. Kidd’s approach?  Is this the best way to create a little more positivity out there – even if only affects one resident at a time?