I recently received a shout-out from a person who used to work for me. She had achieved success in her new job and shared her accomplishment with the message: “Cheers to YOU — and all you taught me.” There was no need for her to acknowledge any influence I had in her achievement, making the nod of appreciation even more meaningful.
Many years ago, I received a similar note from someone who took the position I vacated. He thanked me for leaving the documentation and notes in a way that would help him be successful. It was my intent to do just that, but it was still touching that he made the effort to let me know he noticed.
We often hear about paying it forward and that truly is a good thing to do. But paying it backward and acknowledging the impact people have had is a powerful thing to do as well. Let your appreciation flow both ways.