Leadership Lesson: Appreciation Before Goals

Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you.  Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.”

~Ralph Marston

Here we are again, looking squarely at the end of another calendar year and looking up at the coming of a new year. Wow!  Where did the time go?  No really, where did the time go?  Over the next few weeks, your organization and inbox are going to be filled with talk about goals for the new year and how to make 2013 the “best ever”.  I always chuckle at these titles, as if each year is competing against other years to be “THE BEST YEAR”.   I now present the award for best year ever to- (insert year here).   Of course, I am definitely for setting goals and believe that writing down your goals and telling people your goals are critical steps in moving towards reaching them.  Certainly in a few weeks I will be sending out a new article about goals to you as well.  So before I set myself up to look like the biggest goal hypocrite ever, I will get to my intention of this article.

We often skip a step when we set goals. This step skipping can be harmful to our future success and to our overall health and energy for leadership.  That all important missed step is taking time for appreciation. Without appreciation for what we have achieved and overcome, our lives can become like one long drum solo- exciting at times and enjoyable along the way but without pause or any true distinction of key moments. We must pause and pay attention to the details in order to notice what we are doing and to be able to learn from what we’ve done.  This appreciation also includes acknowledging those that have helped and supported us along the way.

Over the next week, or even right now, take some time to reflect on your year.  Take a piece of paper and write 2012 on the top of it.  Then start filling the paper with all of the things that you’ve accomplished.  What did you do? What did you overcome to do it? Who helped you along the way?  Don’t censor!! Write everything! Pay attention to detail.  We sometimes skip the details and dismiss them as unimportant.  It can be the little things that make the biggest difference.  Fill the page, or two or FIVE!  No matter how small the achievement, write it down and notice all the work that you’ve done and gifts that you have received.  It may be hard at first, but stick with it.  It will get easier.  

Now once you’ve completed this task, take the time to take in all that you’ve done and overcome.  Note who helped you along the way.  Thank them!  Notice the strengths and talents that you called upon so you can summon them again.   Then celebrate you! It’s been quite a year.   I know from talking with so many of you that you’ve  overcome some big challenges and accomplished amazing achievements.  Take the time to own it.  Take it in.  Mark this time.  THEN, you will see just where the time did go.   Acknowledge it.  Appreciate it.  Celebrate it!

The aim of life is appreciation; there is no sense in not appreciating things; and there is no sense in having more of them if you have less appreciation of them. “

~Gilbert K. Chesterton

Thank you for taking time to read this article.  I wish you courage, strength, support and all the success that you can handle as you continue on your leadership journey.

Please share your comments with those who read these articles in the below comment section.

Larysa Slobodian MA, L4 Leadership

This article is dedicated to my great mentor and dear friend Frank Sessa.  Your lessons live on!  Thank you for everything.


  1. Cathy December 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    As always Larysa, you encourage us to do our best work, whether that be at work, at home, or in our communities. Thank you for taking the time to help us on this amazing journey. I am grateful that you are in my life.

  2. Kathy Cabral December 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    Thank you for another great reminder and lesson. I always appreciate your thoughts and leadership.

  3. Boomer's buddy December 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

    Thank you Larysa for the reminders to pause and reflect. Humility is required to learn; gratitude to complete the lesson.

  4. Lisa December 20, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    What a timely reminder. With all the year end rushing, some time to count your blessings and achievements is often skipped. Appreciation is a great gift to give yourself and others.

  5. Larysa Slobodian December 20, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    Thanks for comment Boomer’s Buddy. Love the quote!

    Larysa Slobodian
  6. Larysa Slobodian December 20, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    Always great to see a comment from you Kathy. Thanks for reading!

    Larysa Slobodian
  7. Rahel Abraham December 20, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    Where did the year go indeed?
    I am taking the time to breath and take in this milestone in my life. And more imprtantly, I am taking the time, to recognize everyone who helped me get to this point. Thank you for the wonderful reminder.

  8. Larysa Slobodian December 20, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    Thank you for reading Rahel. Take in this amazing year and milestone. You’ve had a tremendous year!

    Larysa Slobodian
  9. Larysa Slobodian December 20, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    What a beautiful note Cathy. Thank you so much for your warm and thoughtful words. Much love to you and your family!

    Larysa Slobodian
  10. Wendi December 27, 2012 at 8:34 am #

    Always great advice!!!! Pause, reflect, react!!! I have jotted only a few, but will take the time to thank those involved. Thank you again for the reminder to keep in check. Have a great New Year!!!

  11. Michael B December 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    Good guidance and reminder. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Larysa Slobodian December 27, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    Thanks Michael. I appreciate the comment and you taking time to read the article!

    Larysa Slobodian
  13. Sabina Nawaz January 1, 2013 at 10:25 am #

    Great reminder Larysa. I am going to do this appreciation list for 2012 *today* with my family. Happy New Year!

  14. Larysa Slobodian January 9, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    Thanks Sabina! I did the appreciation list with my family over the holidays too! Hope you enjoyed it and found it useful. Happy New Year!

    Larysa Slobodian

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