Good, bad or ugly, we’re all guilty of making mistakes, being rebellious and beating ourselves up for what we did in our decisions of the past – like turning down an invitation for Miss Australia because I feared that coming second (in the 1992 Miss Gold Coast pageant – pictured above) meant “I wasn’t good enough to win, so why bother taking it further”!#normalthoughtsforayoungwoman
If only I knew then, what I know now – my advice remains the same “focus on your strengths and stop dwelling on your weaknesses” AND while we ALL know to do this, knowing and doing are two very different things.
How many of you know that you “should” focus on your strengths, only to find yourself in a meeting holding back, not speaking up or being brave when it comes to saying what you really want to say? How’s that owning your strengths? How many of you go ‘weird’ when someone gives you a compliment, responding with comments like “it was no big deal” or “I’ve still got a lot of work to do”?
Come on, we all do it! So lets take a close look at how much freedom you have (in reality, in action) to celebrate your strengths and accomplishments – whether that’s at work or at home. Are you free in your place of work, in front of your colleagues, or with your employees or your boss, when it comes to celebrating your accomplishments; or are you resentfully waiting for someone else to point it out – because, let’s face it, “they should notice it” and “I shouldn’t have to make a point of it”?
Admit it! We all long for others to show their appreciation, to acknowledge us for our accomplishments and to make a point of saying “thank you, you did a really good job” and of course, it’s even better when its in front of others right!?!? At the end of the day, we are human beings and human beings all have a desire to be heard, known and appreciated – just dig out Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, after the basics of food, shelter and water, what do we ‘need’ – a sense of belonging.
What would happen if you stopped waiting (and wanting) to be acknowledged from others (given, they are also doing the same – waiting for others to acknowledge and appreciate them) and we took it on ourselves to celebrate our own success, results and accomplishments.
I stopped celebrating my accomplishments because I feared it wasn’t safe and I’d be perceived as a ‘bragger’ or ‘big-noting’ myself – and “no-one likes a bragger right?!?!”
It all started when I was 14 and after getting the top mark in Maths and being mighty proud of myself, one of my best friends says “YOU THINK YOU’RE SO MUCH BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE”…
In that very moment I decided it wasn’t safe to brag about your accomplishments and if I wanted to make friends I needed to keep my mouth shut!
For the next 14 years of my life – until I did the work on myself to unpack all the stories I created that were limiting my natural freedom and self expression in life – I stopped celebrating my strengths, I went all shy when someone paid me a compliment and I literally stopped being proud of my accomplishments and instead hid them like they were something to be ashamed of. #tallpoppysyndrome
Are you living this life to have people LIKE you, or are you committed to yourself and others living an extraordinary life, where they are free to be proud of who they are, what’s possible and fully express what they’re capable of?
Here’s a few simple practices Kylee applies in her own life, and in her coaching of others, in mastering the art of acknowledgement, having the freedom to celebrate strengths and have the experience of being a leader:
1. OWN YOUR OWN GREATNESS
Start with being a role model for acknowledgement, by going public with your own accomplishments. Yes, I was runner up in the 1992 Miss Gold Coast pageant! It’s been over 20 years since that happened of course, but its incredible how much freedom I have when I publicly declare something that was not only one of the proudest moments of my life, but ironically a major turning point in my decision to play it safe!
I understand the natural aversion to going public, so here’s the coaching: 1) #justdoit and 2) Give up whatever beliefs, opinions or fears you have about what could or will happen if you do! #bebrave
2. ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT
When was the last time you asked someone to acknowledge you for what you accomplished? “What I want to be acknowledged for is…..” I’ve become a real master in asking for what I want, and I can tell you now (authentically) it didn’t start out that way. I used to be someone who expected others to notice it and pay me the compliments I wanted without me saying anything. Now, however, I do the work to look at what do I want to be acknowledge for and who do I want to be acknowledged by – I then go and ask for it!!
I’ve become such a master in it, that I’ve even trained my husband who only this morning said to me (after with-holding a comment that he could see was only intended to cause an argument), “hey, given your a guru on acknowledgement how about you acknowledge me for what I just did in pulling myself up for not starting an argument”. #brilliant
Your first action here has to be identifying what you want to be acknowledged for; list the people for whom getting the acknowledgement from really matters to you, then go and make time with them and ask them, “Hey, there’s something I want to be acknowledged for…”
3. BE A LEADER
Start asking the people around you to acknowledge you for the things you want to be acknowledged for, and then ask others around you to share their wins, accomplishments and results with you.
I understand your busy and you may not have time to stop and listen, but trust me if you don’t make time for the people around you to share their wins with you; how the h*** do expect others to do the same for you – its called operating with #integrity
One very simple and productive way of doing this, is to make sure you put ‘Accomplishments’ on the agenda in your team meetings, or for your one-on-ones. Ask your team to come prepared to share about their accomplishments, then when it comes time to speak simply ask them “What do you want to be acknowledged for”?
Be warned, you may find people struggle to share their accomplishments and may say “I don’t have one” in which case you MUST make sure you are also coming to the meeting with something to share AND you must stand for them backing themselves – you could even give them an assignment at the end of each day find at least 3 things they want to be acknowledged for! Trust me, we all have them, we just gotta be willing to look and speak up – breakthroughs in communication only happen in action.
4. BE A ROLE MODEL
Make a point of being someone in life who is really great with giving and receiving acknowledgement – acknowledge wins, acknowledge losses, acknowledge effort, acknowledge emotions… damn, just become someone who is present to what’s present and use acknowledgement as a source of power.
Heck, whenever you have a thought about something someone did that you appreciated, liked or enjoyed, make a point of saying something. Stop what you are doing and take action – send them a text, send them an email, or better yet, get on the phone and call them in person, and even better again bring it up in your next team meeting – and watch them light up!
At the end of the day, WHY BOTHER?
1. When we focus on the ugly, of course we feel ugly (wishing we, others and life was some other way); but when celebrate success, we’ve a much greater chance at creating success. If you don’t step up and start being someone who recognises the greatness in yourself, and others; then rest assured you’ll be attempting to operate over a morass of resentment.
“The acknowledgement of a single possibility can change everything.” – Aberjhani
2. Breakthrough performance becomes possible when we engage with others in the insights, lessons and success of life. We all have stories we are (and can be) proud of – we just need to be brave and share them without fear of what others may say, think or do. YES, I am talking about the condition of human being called, let’s belittle those who want to praise themselves for their success and let’s keep ourselves small to protect those around us from ‘feeling bad’.
The more you share your experience, and the more you make your acknowledgements public, the more you get back!
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