Acknowledge & Celebrate
Acknowledge – v. To recognize as being valid or having force or power. To express recognition of. To express thanks or gratitude for.
Celebrate – v. To observe (a day or event) with ceremonies of respect, festivity or rejoicing. To extol or praise. To observe an occasion with appropriate ceremony or festivity.
“I can live for two months on a good compliment” ~Mark Twain
Ever been to a sporting event where no one cheers and celebrates a good play or score? A game where everyone just sits by as a silent observer? Where the players just move on and don’t acknowledge each other? Or the fans wait until the end of the game to cheer and celebrate all the good plays that happened at once? Would the athletes have any idea which play or player they were cheering for? How awful. At a great sporting event there is a ton of energy and fans provide feedback and enthusiasm immediately throughout the game. You’ve witnessed the shift in momentum and energy that happens when the fans get into the game. You often hear commentators say the visiting team “needs to take the crowd out of it”.
Isn’t the need for acknowledgement and celebration as strong in the office worker as it is in the athlete? Don’t we want that momentum and energy in our work and personal lives? Think of the difference between the two types of games above. Now think of this in terms of the difference it could make in your work and personal life.
Unfortunately in our fast-paced and measured, goal-oriented lives we tend to focus on how much still needs to be accomplished today, this week, this year and don’t take the time to recognize how much or what has already been accomplished by us, our teams, our colleagues, and the people we care about. Or we wait until the end of a project to celebrate, but think of all the energy and motivation we miss out on by doing that. Often times by then we’re moving onto the next project that needs to be tackled.
When acknowledging, it’s best when we are sincere, specific, and do it as soon after an accomplishment as possible.
One year after a very tough transition to a new job I was thankful to so many people at the end of the year, I recognized that it had been incredibly hectic and I hadn’t really done a good job of this. I certainly did some of it, but given the amount of gratitude I felt to all the new people I was working with – it wasn’t enough. I bought small Starbuck’s gift cards for several of the people that I really appreciated for all the help they gave me during that tough year. In each card I wrote a note making an effort to be very specific about what I appreciated. I later had someone make a snide comment implying that this was the general kind of recognition that falls flat. Would it have been better if I had given consistent, immediate, specific acknowledgment and celebrated throughout the year? Absolutely. At the same time, don’t skip it if you realize later that you’ve been remiss. I still got many thanks for the time I took to do that. Maybe not perfect, but it was sincere.
Your challenge today, should you choose to accept it, is to acknowledge AND celebrate something you’ve accomplished, something someone at work has accomplished and something someone you care about has accomplished. How will you celebrate? Aren’t you having more fun already just thinking about it?
I want to thank all of you that have sent such wonderful messages wishing me well in my new venture, for all the supportive & kind words. The feedback you’ve taken the time to send and all your kind words are appreciated more than you can know. I am incredibly grateful. I hope I have conveyed this in the responses I've given but wanted to take a minute to say it again.