A few years ago, I began a practice that would radically alter my life: appreciations.

I stopped assuming that people in my life knew how I felt about them.

I stopped assuming that someone knew that I valued their time, their work, their input.

I stopped assuming that the cashiers or the sales workers on the floor didn’t need to hear my sincere thank-you, because after all, it was “their job.”

I stopped assuming that the people I randomly interacted with who had beautiful smiles or a fun outfit knew that they looked fantastic.

I stopped assuming that the mothers who were taking care of kids walked with a belief that of course they were good mothers, of course they were doing a great job with their kids.

So I stepped into a practice of appreciations.

It felt incredibly strange at first–oddly, my biggest fear that kept me from wanting to make the appreciation was a fear that the person was thinking I was kissing up or just trying to get something out of them. But I tried it a few times and noticed how the person’s face would just light up entirely (usually), and I liked that moment of connection. I grew up watching my Dad chat up cashiers–he would always ask how much time they had left at work, and ask how they were doing in such a sincere way, and I noticed that it made it such a nice experience.

Working with the Challenge Day organization has reinforced this all the more–co-founders Rich and Yvonne encourage people to ask strangers, “What are you grateful for?” or “What’s your biggest dream?”

Asked with a simple, casual and conversational tone, these needn’t be questions that are “too deep” for everyday conversation, but rather quick questions that can inspire this little hit of connection between people.

Try Something New: experiment with telling everyone, from the casual encounters to the people who mean the most to you, something you appreciate about them. Acknowledge them for all things big or small, even if you think that they probably “already know” this about themselves.

Who’s the first person you would like to acknowledge, and what would you like to say? Do you notice a difference in your day if you make interactions with the more “casual relationships of your day,” like cashiers or service staff, more personal?

Click to tweet: Practice radical and abundant appreciation.