“I like your necklace. That’s unique.”
She was referring to a painted wood necklace I was wearing that had been trimmed with a piece of lace. It WAS unique. And a bargain.
I’d gotten that necklace for $1 at a small town shop that featured items from a variey of sellers–a sort of upscale flea market.
But I didn’t tell her that.
I was tempted to. After all, aren’t we inclined to downplay a compliment?
For the way you handled the client: “Oh that? It was no big deal.”
For the project you turned in early: “I’m usually not that good at this sort of thing.”
Regarding the new accessory in your business outfit: “I got this for only a dollar!”
For your overall contribution by being a “rock star:” “Well, I try.”
Why do we have such a hard time just accepting and enjoying recognition or appreciation? Maybe we feel like it’s arrogant to smile and say “thanks” rather than dismiss it. Or maybe we don’t have the confidence to believe the person giving the compliment may be right!
Overwhelmed professionals are often too busy flying through their day to pay much attention to compliments. They are always on a quest to do more, be more, accomplish more. They often feel like they don’t measure up. I know I struggle regularly with whether I’m contributing enough–whether my business is healthy enough. But compliments are a grace that can energize you and remind you of your valuable contributions to life and work. (Even if you are complimented on your haircut or outfit, it means you’ve done something to brighten the environment or to put your best foot forward!)
I challenge you to react differently the next time you are paid a compliment. Remember, a compliment is a gift from a person who didn’t have to bother to give it. Don’t discount their wisdom and opinion by refusing to accept it well. Instead, smile, say “Thank you, I really appreciate your kind words” and carry that gift of grace in your bank of happy memories.
Your turn: What’s a compliment you received that still warms your heart?