Yesterday, Elon Musk took to Twitter to thank Tesla customers.

You may not think this tweet is special. Just good PR, right?



Think about it: How many times have you had a silent moment of appreciation for your colleagues or customers?

Now, did you take the time to share those feelings by writing a short note? Or giving them a call? Or sending a tweet? (Come on, it's 2017.)

All too often, we neglect to show--or sometimes even feel--appreciation for the people who have helped us succeed.

Decades ago, Dale Carnegie highlighted the power of showing appreciation in his classic How to Win Friends and Influence People:

There is one longing--almost as deep, almost as imperious, as the desire for food or sleep--which is seldom gratified. It is what Freud calls "the desire to be great." It is what Dewy calls the "desire to be important."

... William James said: "The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated." He didn't speak, mind you, of the "wish" or the "desire" or the "longing" to be appreciated. He said the "craving" to be appreciated.

We all have people who have helped us along our path. When you take time to thank those people, you satisfy a basic human craving and strengthen your relationship.

Not to mention that it makes you feel pretty good, too.

So, how can you take advantage of opportunities to show appreciation to others?

Here are four, simple steps that will help.

1. Reflect

Sometimes it feels like the world is moving at breakneck speed, and you're struggling just to keep up.

Bet Musk feels that way sometimes, too.

But we all have the same amount of time in the day. The key is to identify your priorities: Nothing wrong with checking your social media feeds in the morning, but why not first spend 15 minutes reflecting: on your values, goals, and, yes, even your accomplishments--and strive to remember those who have helped you along the way?

2. Keep it real

This isn't just a single message from Tesla's famous CEO; it's a piece of a much bigger picture. Over the years, Musk has demonstrated through both words and actions that he appreciates Tesla's customers.

All of this adds power and believability to that emotional appeal at the end of his tweet:

"We won't forget."

Appreciation only works if it's genuine. Empty flattery or token appreciation will backfire because people detect insincerity from a mile away.

If you struggle to show sincere appreciation, work first to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Train yourself to be appreciative, by looking for the good and positive things in others. The smiling, kind barista isn't just doing her job; she's making your day a little bit better. The people cleaning your office aren't just making a buck; they're doing you a huge service.

By learning to show appreciation for the little things, you'll naturally do so for the greater things, too.

3. Be specific

Musk's message is short and sweet.

Three sentences. Less than 30 words.

But in one sentence in particular, Musk tells us why he appreciates Tesla customers:

"It matters to us that you took a risk on a new car company."

For those who know the history of Tesla, it's a story of David versus Goliath. (Musk himself told it recently on ... what else? Twitter.) Those who took a risk on what was once a fledgling company now own a car produced by America's most valuable automaker--who just happens to be disrupting the entire auto industry.

Lesson: Don't just tell people that you appreciate them. Tell them what you appreciate and why.

4. Show appreciation as soon as possible

So often I've told myself that I want to say thank you to someone, and then I get caught up in something and forget.

Maybe it's true that "late is better than never," but never is certainly the worst-case scenario.

Take advantage of the moment to show appreciation as soon as possible, and you'll build stronger, better relationships with the people around you--and you'll feel better about yourself, too.

So, come on, what are you waiting for:

Who can you thank today?

Jul 5, 2017