What Have You Done?
To acknowledge is to express gratitude, to take notice of, and to recognize as genuine or valid. Think for a moment about someone you spend time with: your employees, your family, your friends. How would they respond if you never acknowledged or noticed the things that they did? Not well, I suppose. Beyond that, you might have high turnover and lose contact with close friends. Family may become resentful and begin to act out in order to get attention, even if it’s negative.
Alternatively, how do you feel when you are acknowledged? Maybe it’s acknowledgment from an employer with a bonus, or a hand-written note from a friend or relative. Perhaps it’s an unexpected gift from your spouse or child. Chances are that their expressed gratitude changed you, at least for the moment. Life didn’t seem so crazy, your deadline didn’t seem so important, and you were able to become present in that space. Wouldn’t you like more times like that? Wouldn’t we all?
Acknowledgement and gratitude are powerful tools for creating the change that we want in our lives. When we take notice of others and acknowledge them, we act as powerful agents of transformation in their lives. Similarly, and just as important, is acknowledging our own accomplishments and contributions. Whether small or monumental, giving credit where credit is due creates space for growth, inspiration and new ideas.
This next week I invite you to try this brief exercise:
1. Make two numbered lists. The first list is “My Accomplishments.” The other is “Others Accomplishments.”
2. Put it somewhere we’re you’ll see it (on your computer desktop, your bulletin board, or wall).
3. At the end of each day, take down or open your list and spend five minutes listing everything you accomplished that day. It can be large or small tasks, i.e. sent gift to friend, ordered supplies, completed project, etc. Write down at least five. If you can’t come up with five, ask someone else to help you.
4. After completing your list, put it back where you can see it and take down or open the list for others. List at least five things that someone else accomplished that you heard about or noticed. It could be the same person for all five or five different people. Again, ask for help if you can’t think of five.
5. At the end of the week, look over your list of “Others Accomplishments” and choose one person to acknowledge by sending a note or giving a gift. Then look over your list of accomplishments and reward yourself…with a gift, note, or some extra time.
Keep in mind that large or small, each person makes a contribution and craves acknowledgment. The more we acknowledge others and ourselves, the more we will open up space to pursue the things we love and are passionate about. You really can make change. Begin small…make baby steps…get help!
Until next time…live creative!