The Power of Recognition

Life is moving at a breakneck pace, and each of us is forced by our e-mails, our iPads and our need to stay afloat to keep going faster. In this rush, many of us have forgotten to say “thank you” for even the simplest things, from a bagger in our grocery store, to a waiter in a restaurant, to an operator giving us a phone number – even for an invitation or an event we are privileged to attend.

“So what!” you say. “People don’t need constant pandering Angie”. You might be surprised at how much we all need acknowledgment. 

We all crave recognition.  We crave recognition almost as much as air and water. Truth is, we NEED recognition and praise to carry us all through the difficult times we face.  To add another layer think of how badly our CHILDREN need our time/recognition.

Needing recognition is not a weakness, it is just a part of life.

I know lots of people who say they don’t need recognition. They are “self-fulfilled.” Well they may need a bit less recognition than other people but they are delusional if they don’t think they need any recognition from anyone ever.

Humans have this thing known as an ego. (The ego has totally gotten a bad rap.)  If you have a heartbeat then you have an ego. It’s not bad to have an ego so long as you pepper it with humility. You’ve all met people with over-inflated egos… not pretty.  What we have a tendency to forget is that egos are actually important.

An ego needs to be fed in order to stay healthy. One of our primary responsibilities in our relationships is to feed the ego of other people – in a healthy way of course. Just like with a real human diet, small consistent “feedings” are far healthier than binge feeding once in a great while and then starving for nourishment in between.

Those small consistent feedings are called compliments, feedback, and active listening. If you’re a person who starves the people in your life of ego food then you are missing a big piece of your relationships.

None of this is new; most people intrinsically know that others need recognition and feedback. The mistake they make is believing they can provide that recognition and feedback when “they have an extra moment” or in their “free time.”

Look at your calendar, go ahead and look right now. Exactly when is that “extra moment” or “free time” on your calendar?

Most of us don’t have extra time or free time in our day. That means the time required to provide recognition and feedback to others in your life must be a priority. It must be planned and intentional. It needs to be more than “once in a while” because a “while” can be a very long time when you’re a busy.

If you really desire to grow your relationships with others then you need to give them the recognition they NEED in order to grow. When was the last time you purposely stopped what you were doing to give well deserved recognition or feedback?   When was the last time you put the phone down, didn’t send that Tweet, Text or Whatsapp and told you son/daughter how proud you were of him/her?

If you don’t know the date and time then I would say it’s been too long.

The biggest benefit of appreciating others is it just simply makes you feel good. They feel good, you feel good, and good things are accomplished both personally and professionally. Win-win-win. Take a moment today to be mindful and purposeful in your interactions with others. Make sure that they are acknowledged and know they are appreciated. It takes so little effort to create a sacred space for your relationships.