The Power (you get from giving) Praise


How we recognize the presence, impact and value of those around us in any situation is important.  Whether it’s a simple interaction with a stranger in the grocery store, or a formal performance discussion with a teammate, your words have the ability to encourage, motivate, and lift up others in powerful ways.  I suspect we all innately know this.  Imagine the life impact if we intentionally sought to positively impact people in every interaction, every day!

I was recently seated in the gate area of a busy airport terminal a few feet from a family with three very young children.  The youngest was a newborn, nestled safely in his mother’s arms.  I watched as this mom fed her son and looked affectionately into his eyes with obvious love and care.  Meanwhile, two toddlers were full of energy, bouncing from chair to chair.  The dad quietly announced he was heading to the restroom.  Immediately I could clearly see the panic set in on mom’s face.  I sat nearby watching, and ready to assist if at any point the rambunctious toddlers seemed too much for this young mom feeding her son.  Mom’s eyes darted lovingly from her youngest, then anxiously to the older two, and back and forth and back and forth as she hoped dad would just get back before someone ran off or fell off a chair (or who knows the horrors she was imagining).  Her shoulders were tight and it was obvious she was waiting for the situation to fail her.  At one point she looked at me apologetically.  As our eyes met, I simply said, “You’re a good mom.”  Four simple words, and yet visibly her shoulders relaxed, she breathed a sigh, nodded at me, and I could see a renewed confidence in her situation.

What simple, honest words of observation could you offer today that just might change the trajectory of someone’s moment or even his or her day?  Perhaps a co-worker needs a few words of encouragement in order to renew her focus on a project.  Or maybe have an authentic conversation with a service worker that you interact with everyday about how much you appreciate the work they do for you.  And what about our loved ones and family members?  What situation could be improved if we would simply take the time to praise our loved ones for things they’re doing well?  It’s so easy to focus on the things that aren’t quite right.  What if we focused on recognizing each other’s strengths?  What if we committed to pointing those things out genuinely and on a regular basis?

I challenge you to offer genuine praise to five people today who are outside your usual recognition circle.  I predict you’ll be amazed to find how profoundly your spirit will be lifted as you lift the spirit of another.  I’d love to hear your stories!

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