A Handful of Habits: Recognition, Celebration, Gratitude and more

There is a topic of interest that has come up throughout the past few weeks once again but it has emerged in my own life in various ways over the years. To which you are then able to see the relevance and direct correlation of things even thoughts, behaviors, circumstances and so forth, that you otherwise would ignore without the topic having been on your radar (it feels too icky, weird, awkward, uncomfortable, new) to “go there.”

Liz Gilbert refers to inspiration as starting as a whisper and then getting harder nudges until it moves on, or you agree to take it on. I believe certain aspects of ourselves, or perhaps more specifically our gifts that we choose to ignore get hidden deep within us and others prevail. The wolf you feed. Some of these topics could fall under one umbrella- others, maybe it’s the same thing with a different label. Sometimes we are not ready. We hear something, and we’re just not in a state of being or place in our life where we can act. It’s not to say that it won’t come back around, sometimes it may, sometimes maybe not. With that said, I invite you to figure out which piece speaks most loudly to you and how you can take action to make a difference in your own life.

The topic(s) are recognition, complements, celebration, gratitude, and over apologizing.

I know it seems like a lot, but because they are so closely related you could either create habits that make the others easier, or weave in something you aren’t already doing, or start with one concept at a time.

I read about the recent death by suicide of Jeff Dennis, co-founding member of Blue Pearl Veterinary Group. In brief, it was noted in the article about the positive impact he had on animals, people with and separate from the veterinary community and all of the wonderful things he accomplished. Also, that he shrugged off compliments.

I’ve had conversations about the importance and impact of positive and consistent leadership recognition (efforts/results alike).

Last year I read a study that the “wave” of positive feedback can be ridden longer, than the reward of money bonuses for employees. You can even see a spike in productivity that last longer.

I have heard a Dean of a College state “it’s lonely at the top.”

Making me stop and consider, whether we welcome other people into our circle that may enhance our existence, if so, who/where? How can we creatively make that which we’ve worked so hard for, less lonely, more adaptive, more innovative to support ourselves and one another. Perhaps its with leaders outside of our industry, peers, perhaps within, but anonymous?? I’m not sure of the answer- it’s been months since I’ve had that conversation- but the gears are still turning. Loneliness is definitely a rabbit hole for another time…

I have discussed with my own leaders and friends the habit I learned about a couple of years ago and chose to embrace, shifting my mindset and approach and that is NOT over apologizing, instead, offering thanks for understanding. Take for running late, for example, knowing your friends time is valuable but she gets it. The first words shouldn’t be I’m sorry but thank you for waiting.

To stop discounting recognition when it does come our way. Whether it is something that has yet to meet our vision but an area we’ve made vast progress in or is absolutely stellar even in the beginning stages. Example- just after publishing the Mind of Blisswebsite, my mother in law was complimenting it, and literally we had JUST finished a conversation on this subject, we both caught me in the default behavior of “oh, it’s not yet finished, I’d like it to be more …” and I quickly corrected myself, digressing from myself deflation, welcomed her feedback and aimed to be more proud of myself even though there was improvement to be made. Or we see this in the realm of compliments, “that was great Renee” “oh, it’s no big deal.” All the while taking a (or a bunch of) negative events to the grave. That line of thinking doesn’t support or serve us- which I now know.

**Think about it, we teach people how to treat us- if every time your boyfriend gives you a compliment, instead of welcoming it, you ‘leave it on the table’ by not acknowledging it, or ‘toss it back to him’ rolling your eyes sying “ugh, I look awful.” Do you think that creates a positive experience, that people want more of? The point here is not to scold yourself, or me because we’ve all done this or something similar. My point is to be aware, ask different questions, look for new perspectives, be open to opportunities where you can practice your new growth habits. Consider new theories.

Another habit (reignited again recently, much like how personal development inspiration /tools can be especially, if you don’t grasp on fully) is the spark for celebrating. I early on (as a child) began to rationalize reasons not to celebrate, only furthering my personality tendencies rooted in what I called logic, but devoid of spirit and my true essence, wiping out many if not all of any DREAMS. Again, the wolf we feed, shaping me into who I was a 20 something.

Start small- find small reasons to celebrate and celebrate in small ways, reasons to check that apology at the door and look to connect through understanding, be proud without being boastful or deflating your accomplishments, give a compliment/ recognition to literally anyone, receive a compliment or recognition. REALLY RECEIVE it, “thank you or I appreciate that” and then shut up! It is a CHALLENGE.

Oh, that reminds me- I said something like “ this ol’ shirt” (one of my all time favs) the other day- see! A work in progress. It’s an art of allowing yourself to recieve, but you have to be aware of your present conditioning that is shaped beginning as young children. Always a practice, but it’s in the training where things take on a new shape, that we can OWN. Something that is YOURS. Not a chain or limitation or a belief system that is put on you because of someone else's opinion or rather what we think other people might think.

Even if its pats on the back, visual kudos for yourself /high fives whatever -think of a movie where the guy lands the girl and they have that jump for joy moment- but then they get caught because she’s still there! Hey, whether she’s there or not, whether you jump physically or mentally, call your mom, do something!

It doesn’t always have to be a big production, if you can have a 30 sec dance party- go for it- if you want to celebrate a holiday with a BBQ or have a ceremony, believing that one day you’ll make it happen, go fo it. This way of being goes so much further than snuffing out the flame to what keeps us joyous and engaged. I promise you all of my research points in this direction, and my life. Celebrate the wins!!!! For yourself, for others- CREATE THE SPACE — for celebration. So that you, your team, your family, can RIDE THAT WAVE!!!!

Don’t get me wrong- I’ve celebrated wins thinking they’ll lead to something bigger- and thinking that it was the bigger thing that I was celebrating, then when that thing doesn’t happen your let down. That’ll stop you in your tracks BUT!!!! Here’s the key with those scenarios- I was also celebrating that I picked up the phone, swallowed my ego-driven pride, sent that email, made that content whatever. It’s one step at a time, and it deserves celebration because who’s to say how big of a step that is for you. Maybe going to the grocery store is no big deal for you- but if you have a phobia of leaving your house, stepping on the front porch is freaking huge. YOU GET TO DECIDE.

This ties so closely with gratitude, being defined as ‘an emotional response to a gift’ but to me it’s still different. And I think that’s GREAT! Which keeps me more engaged, keeps it fresh, and fun. Get people involved. That makes THEM more engaged. Your team, your family, your friends, your partner! GET CREATIVE. That’s how innovation is born. Your clients! See the ideas flow when you decide to open your mind to it.

NOT celebrating creates an undercurrent of cynicism, depression, and low-level feelings overall. BLAH. Do you really WANT to feel that? Do you want to be around other people that operate like that? Chances are NO. Good news is that if you are operating from that place (I ONCE DID) you can grow, you can create the person that you want to be, the culture you desire to have with your organization, for your faculty or students, the climate within your marriage or the relationship you develop with your children.

But you have to start where you are. More often we let our egos play a larger role in our lives than our heart, or spirit or essence, the light whatever you want to call it. Instead, I encourage you to ride the waves, learn to chart un-navigated waters, enjoy and embrace this moment. Be the Light.

I’ve been at low points in my life, of course, it was the catalyst for me to be the person I am now and who I am becoming.

I considered leaving you with a few compliments people have given me but instead- I invite you to pick out some of your own and the last tool/tip/habit I will leave you with is start a folder. Call it “Think Amazing Thoughts” or something you like — make it tangible, make it digital, refer to them often and most especially during blue moments, hang them on your walls, your fridge or your clothes closet, the dashboard in your car — people’s kind words matter, even when people may be stoic by nature, your words matter. Be that person for someone else.

The world needs more good, kindness, mindfulness, growth, vulnerability, the space to learn, course correct, listen to inspiration, more light. All of which you have.