At one point in my career, I was fortunate enough to be a member of a regional sales team where everyone had simply slaughtered their annual revenue goals. Shortly after that milestone event, our CEO came to our regional office arriving with great fanfare escorted by a small executive entourage, and a professional photographer. Our egos were so overly-inflated at the time that we naturally assumed they were there to interview us and that we’d be taking pictures with the executive team. Man, were we wrong.

After rendering his heart-felt gratitude speech,our senior executive reached into a big cardboard box and pulled out T-shirts in various sizes. On the front of each t-shirt was a huge red heart with the words emblazoned “Heart of a Winner.” He then personally handed out the t-shirts (and envelopes with $200 in cash) to eight people in the office. The recipients of the t-shirts and cash were employees who may or may not have been part of the sales organization, but had shown character, pushed thru adversity, sacrificed when it mattered, all while contributing to an overall sales team win.


  1. An office with one 45-year old male grieving because there wasn’t a competition for the t-shirts (and if there was, he was confident he’d have won it.)
  2. 135 people present in that regional office meeting whose lives were un-expectedly and positively changed forever because they saw some of their colleagues securing public appreciation for their efforts and walking around wearing $12.00  Heart of a Winner t-shirts that people wanted, but couldn’t win nor buy.


Irrespective of title, role, position, influence, or income… everyone wants to feel appreciated. You don’t have to do much, say much, or pay much to make a positive difference. Be a people builder, promote positivity, help others win, and when given an opportunity, deliberately make a point to show your appreciation and say thank you.