Accepting a compliment is one of the hardest lessons I’ve ever had to learn. A few years back, my best friend commented favorably on my outfit. I immediately informed her of the bargain pricing I got on the pantsuit (my way of seeking validation in the choice I’d made). She touched my arm, smiled kindly and said, “Just say thank you.”
It’s that simple—just accept the compliment as it is offered. Acknowledging strengths is like that. I’ve seen employees become flustered when I notice their abilities, yet by the light in their eyes, I know they were delighted about receiving the recognition. Positive reinforcement seems like a small thing to do, but like the waves from a pebble dropped into a lake, it spreads outward to a broader reach. Energy can be infectious. As women, we often aren’t recognized for the work we do or for how effectively we juggle our lives and careers, because, quite frankly, it is just expected of us.
Talking about our strengths could also be perceived as bragging—no one likes a braggart. Or if we do stand out because of an exceptional effort on our part, we sometimes have to run the gauntlet of peer rejection due to jealousy. Bottom line, who needs this anxiety? It’s very possible that we start holding back and doing just enough to keep our jobs or maintain our role as a mother, sister, or friend.
What Do You Think?
Why don’t we acknowledge our strength and accept it boldly and embrace the opportunities that working to our strengths can bring us?