Many of us find it difficult to accept the praise, compliments, gifts, and service that is given to us by others. We can get embarrassed, timid or flat our deny those gifts. Some of our responses sound like this when someone offers us a gift or even a compliment:
“I wanted to give you this gift card as a thank you for your help the other day.” -Person A “Aww, you shouldn’t have…. I can’t accept this” -Person B “Sure you can, I know you love Starbucks.” – Person A “It really wasn’t a big deal.” – Person B
We may deflect the compliment by giving out information instead of actually accepting the compliment.
“I like your new shoes!”, -Person A “I picked them up last week on sale at the running store. They were a great deal.” -Person B
What happens when we deny other people’s praise
A compliment and gift are just as much about the giver as it is the receiver. When you battle, deflect or fail to acknowledge the praise, you are denying the joy that the giver receives by giving you the gift. It’s also denying their thankfulness which can be off-putting. If someone realizes how much of a hassle it is to give you praise for a gift they are likely going to do it less in the future.
We all want to be validated in what we do by those around us right? Be aware that when you push away the gifts and praise that it could have a lasting impact. A person should not have to argue or play a cat and mouse game with you to give you praise.
What happens when you accept the praise
Accepting praise is not an ego thing unless you make it that way. It’s also not about humility and modesty. When you accept praise the right way you are strengthening the bond of the relationship. You are also showing the person that you are comfortable and confident in who you are as a person and leader.
Tips to take praise well
Say thanks. Acknowledge the compliment without the back and forth that we talked about earlier. Use what verbiage is most comfortable for you but be aware that some generations accept thankful responses differently. Many younger leaders say, “no problem” meaning that it was not a burden for them to help (even if it was). Older generations prefer “you’re welcome” because they may see the help as a task they completed. I rotate no problem, and you’re welcome depending on my audience.
Remember the power of body language. Refer back to show #186 The Power of Body Langauge for tips on making sure you are communicating your non-verbals in the proper way.
Avoid sarcastic and dry-humor responses. I appreciate dry humor and sarcasm, but it has no place here. I often hear this mistake in the running community. You tell someone that their race time was great and they respond with something along the lines of, ” Well you don’t know many runners then.” Avoid self-depreciation and subtlety burning your compliment giver in the process.
Share the praise If you get compliments or praise on a project or service that was a group effort, say thanks and let the person know that you will pass the kind words on to the others involved. This makes the giver feel great and your team obviously will love to hear the positive feedback on their hard work.
Accept praise and gifts. You earned them! Both parties benefit when you are able to navigate those moments with acknowledgment and gratitude.
People rely on each other to make it through life and It often falls down to a close circle of friends and family. Some people aren’t as fortunate to have a strong inner circle and as a result, they isolate themselves, their mental and physical health deteriorates and they will never reach their fullest potential.
When I say Be the Why, I mean for you to be someone else’s why. “You are the reason I made it through all of this.” “I would follow you anywhere.” “You kept me from making some really bad decisions.”
Be a relationship builder
Strong relationships can be taken for granted or undervalued. One of the top reasons great people stay in awful jobs is because of the relationships that they have built with their peers. They are willing to endure stress and dissatisfaction in order to keep relationships that are important to them alive.
Be the Why for someone by building a strong and edifying relationship that adds true value to the other person. When someone feels like you have impacted their life and care for them, they will do just about anything for you. Listen to the person’s troubles and fill in their blind spots for them. Take time with them; time is more valuable than money itself in most cases.
People are creatures of habit and highly value consistency. Oddly enough, consistency is also hard to come by in human interactions. Rooted in poor planning and prioritization and made worse by modern-day distractions, being consistent can be more elusive than it has to be.
Be the Why for someone by being consistent. Be careful of the things that you say you’ll do or promise and then always come through on those things that you do. Just being consistent in a few small things with someone will go a long way. Every time I play music with a guy in town, he texts me afterward to thank me. In five years, he has never not texted me! It’s not a monumental deal for him to do, but it has added a lot to our friendship. I know he appreciates me and I feel valued and as a result, I’ve gone out of my way at times to play just because he’s going to be there. (More to this story can be found at PTB# 107: Finding Leadership in Music)
Be the Why by your willingness to sacrifice things that are important to you for the sake of the other person. It’s important to have a sense of what the other person feels is a sacrifice so that there is not any unneeded tension. For example, Let’s say I missed seeing my favorite band to help my daughter with a school project. She might not realize they were in town so she shows no appreciation for the gesture. I’m then upset because I feel like she doesn’t value what I gave up to help her. On the other hand, my co-worker is over the top grateful because I gave up my lunch to help them on a project when lunches really aren’t that important to me.
Understand that sometimes people will over and undervalue the sacrifices that you make for them. Prepare yourself mentally for both of those occasions. Don’t let the misunderstanding of the amount of sacrifice impact your willingness to continue to sacrifice things for them.
Someone out there likely needs you to be the Why for them. Look at those around you. Build them up through strengthening the relationship and being the most consistent person they know. Sacrifice what you need to in order for others to be successful. Being the Why for someone can change, and even save, a life.
There are few things in life that are permanent. You can even have your old tattoo of Hello Kitty that you now hate removed. People sometimes believe that you can’t shake a bad reputation. Instead of trying to climb out of the situation, they instead embrace it because they really don’t see another option. If you’d like to turn your reputation around or know someone that could use the help, be encouraged that there is a way out with hard work and dedication.
Own up to poor behavior and communicate it with others
One of the best places to start in recovering from a bad reputation is to own up and acknowledge your reputation. Acknowledging the obvious is a great way to break the ice and communicate to others that you have the self-awareness and willingness to change.
Next, (authentically) ask for forgiveness with the people you may have wronged, commit to better behavior and ask for a chance to prove yourself. Once you walk through that step you can go forward.
Seek help, prove yourself and build trust
Know that turning around a bad reputation is a worthwhile endeavor, but it can also be a longer road than you realize. Seek help with a trusted advisor, coworker, or friend that can give you insight or perhaps share their experience in walking a similar path. Be open, listen and take the steps for improvement.
People have a tendency to hold onto memories, especially those that are exceptionally good or bad. They are reinforced through repetition and become difficult to change. You are going to have to prove yourself for an extended period before people buy-in that you have truly changed. Here on some tips to encourage you along the way:
Set realistic expectations for yourself and others. Remember that it takes 66 times of repetition before our brain starts to make a new neural connection.
Celebrate the small steps in progress.
Keep encouraging notes to yourself around the house, school or workplace.
Track your positive change on paper or a calendar so you can visually see the impact.
Accept that some won’t let go
No matter how hard you try to turn around your reputation, some people simply won’t let go of their perception of you. You are going to have to be ok with that. Be confident in your new leadership and life walk and continue to lead yourself well. Don’t let an unbeliever discourage you from the new path that you have chosen.
You can turn around a bad reputation without having to start your life, career, or job over. Focus on the right behaviors, seek honest communication and prove your claims. Show them that you are better than some poor choices and habits….because you are!