Sylvia Henderson

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SL Column: Compliments

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  • “Hey! That’s a nice-looking bike.”
  • “Your machine sure sounds well-tuned.”
  • “You did very well in that race.”

These are great words to hear when they relate to your motorcycle.

  • “The event was wonderful. Job well-done.”
  • “Your report is exemplary.”
  • “You are such an astute negotiator.”

These are great words to hear in your career.

     What is your initial reaction when you receive a compliment? All too often we react with disbelief or self-deprecating explanations.

  • “Oh, it’s no big thing.”
  • “Well, I just did my job.”
  • “But it’s just a small part of [a larger team effort].”

We tend to react as if we don’t deserve compliments.

     Some of us are not used to hearing positive statements about ourselves or our performance because we did not hear such things when we were growing up. Guess what? When we work hard at something and things turn out well, we deserve an occasional compliment in recognition of such. Accept the compliment. Bask in the good feeling it evokes. Cherish the recognition because a new day comes all-too quickly.

     So how to respond?

  • “Thank you.” And let it go at that. No “buts”, “ifs”, or “it was justs…”
  • “How kind of you to say so.” Acknowledge that you appreciate the recognition.
  • “Yes, it does / is / can, doesn’t it?” It is not arrogance to agree with a positive observation.

     When you receive a compliment, do some immediate self-talk to convince yourself that you deserve the compliment (as long as the compliment is sincere and real). And accept the compliment!

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