In 2014, one of my goals was to be an encourager to others. I had been at the receiving end of written encouragement and appreciation many times, but until then had done a very poor job of paying that forward. I had experienced it in multiple areas of life – church, family, and even work. Several of our executives and team leads are particularly good at this, and I have received several hand-written notes of appreciation from them over the last four years.

… best of all, he sends hundreds and hundreds of handwritten notes on embossed stationery recognizing people. He recognizes his team, his leaders, their spouses, customers, and even strangers, in writing. It is really hard to do something right within the view of this guy and not get a note of appreciation from him telling you how great you are… Recognize people in writing. They will remember it, and don’t be surprised to find your note framed when you visit their office.

– EntreLeadership, Caught in the Act, p 243.

Last year I set a fairly aggressive, at least aggressive for me, goal to write one letter of appreciation or encouragement a week. The year started off quite well, and I did get one out per week for about two months. The momentum slowed down, and after a while, I regret to say that I forgot about that particular goal.

The odd thing is – every time I wrote one, there was true appreciation from the recipients. They were amazed that someone had noticed what they had done, or that someone would take a moment to thank them in such a way. I know from being on the receiving end how nice it is to be noticed by someone who might not normally notice something (say, someone other than my direct leader or the next person up the chain), and I could see how much of an impact it was to the ones that I wrote, so I truly regret not doing a better job.

So, for 2015, I want to try to do a better job and make this a goal a second time. My revised goal is to write at least one hand-written note of appreciation or encouragement to someone (other than my wife) per month.