Have you noticed how being surrounded by grumpy and low energy people is draining and stressful?
Have you ever observed how great you feel when the relationships with your colleagues at work or those at home are positive and constructive?
Would it be great if the people around were always in a good mood?
Whilst it's true that we can't make others behave how we'd like them to (wouldn't that just make life so much easier?) there is something that you can do to create more positive relationships with anyone that you come into contact with. It is ridiculously simple and has a profound effect on whomever you bestow this gift upon. What is it? It is called acknowledgement.
What is acknowledgement?
Dictionary definition of acknowledgement:
1. Recognition of the existence or truth of something.
2. An expression of appreciation.
When was the last time someone recognised a beautiful truth in you? What was it, most recently, that someone told you what they saw in you? When did you last feel really seen?
Acknowledgement is a vital tool in my coaching toolbox. I use it with all my clients to show them that I am fully paying attention to them and who they truly are. It is powerful way beyond its simplicity.
The acknowledgement may sound a bit like this:
"You are talented and dedicated. You are doing great work."
"You are a strong woman. You are holding your whole family together."
"You are a radiant sunshine that brings warmth and lightness to us all."
How does it feel to you to be acknowledged? If you can't remember a time when you've been acknowledged, it's possible that your perfectionism is stopping you from hearing it.
I must confess that I love to be acknowledged. It makes me feel valued and motivates me to do more. It makes me feel connected and seen. It makes me feel significant. It's a pretty awesome feeling! And by the way, all three of the examples above have been said to me at various points of my life. How does being acknowledged make you feel?
What do you think will happen when you take time to acknowledge your spouse / work colleagues / children / accountant / etc? How do you think they'll feel and, in turn, how will your relationship with them be affected?
How to acknowledge properly
So, here's the deal; it must be authentic. You will not have the desired effect if you make stuff up that isn't true and that you don't mean; you'll come across as sarcastic! You've got to really believe what you're saying.
Secondly, it must be simple; don't diminish what you're saying with superflous adjectives or explanations. The formula goes like this:
You are ________. (Add the characteristic in the blank space.)
- You an inspiration to me and those around you.
- You are a great mentor.
- You are instrumental in our success.
- You are hard-working and talented.
- You are a creative genius.
- You are beautiful and courageous.
- You are a caring and dedicated mother.
Finally, be with the person and allow time for what you've told them to sink in; do NOT immediately change the subject or do a 180 and walk away. If you're with them physically, look them in the eyes whilst you say it and stay with them in the moment. If you're on the phone, pause afterwards to give them time to absorb and receive the gift you just gave them.
Some people are so unfamiliar with being acknowledged that they'll try to undermine it with a "well, anyone would have done the same" or "don't be silly, I'm not really" and so on. With those, you'll need to repeat it and then teach them that the correct response is: Thank You.
Consider what the effect will be of you acknowledging those around you; especially those that you find difficult. What would be available to you and that person?
Are you up for it?
The challenge is to improve your relationships in order to create more lightness in your life by using acknowledgement.
How? You will acknowledge 5 people in the next 24 hours (after reading this blog post) and share what happened in the comment box below. I promise to acknowledge you for all your efforts!
I'm really looking forward to reading about what you did!