Skip to main content

On the Power of a Compliment

No matter what business we're in, there's a point where we're all in "sales."

And that doesn't necessarily mean that we're trying to actively coerce people into buying something they don't want, but rather we're trying to get our point across and let our opinion be known in a way that people will act upon our words.

If we're looking for a job, we're selling our personalities and skills.  If we have a job, we're offering opinions on the best ways to do things based on our experience.  And even in our lives, we're offering opinions about things we've enjoyed or found useful to our friends and family.  It's just the way we live in a world where we don't have some sort of hive-mind allowing us to just act - we have to influence others or we don't really exist in the world.

And for people whose self-confidence is low about giving opinions, this can be a real challenge in being an effective person in the workplace, home, or just in their lives in general.

So I'd like to share what someone did for me recently in this regard.  For whatever reason, I am one of those people who frequently has trouble giving an opinion on some things.  It's a self-esteem issue and it's something I'm working on in my life, but the problem is valuing my own opinion enough to give it to other people.

I was posting a Randy Gage blog entry on Facebook.  As these things do, the comments in the discussion turned to something else. The person with whom I was discussing things told me that I was very passionate about what I was discussing and that he thought I had an ability to bring people along with me because of that passion.  And I thanked him, agreeing that passion had that power.

Then, my fifth grade schoolteacher, Sue Kennedy, commented the following:
You know, Jamie, you were a very effective communicator as a boy. It was not so much passion as budding charisma back then :)
I can't tell you just how much that compliment has meant to me recently.

When I start to doubt myself in giving opinions about things, all I have to do is think about the opinion of a person I admire greatly about who I was when I was ten years old, and realize that I'm still that person.  It's changed the way I think about myself and let me realize other points in my life where I've shown the traits she saw in me back then.  All that has built up to give me more confidence and self esteem, and made me a more effective person.

So never doubt the power of a compliment.  It's a great way to spread positive energy to the people you care about.

And let me send my own compliment to Sue: it's amazing the power that an effective and beloved teacher can have on a boy/man, even 30 years after I sat in her classroom.  Thank you!


Popular posts from this blog

Taking on a Challenge: Is It Worth It?

Over the past 30 days, I've been doing one of these internet meme athletic challenges, in this case the #PlankChallenge.  I'm sure you've seen them.  These are the challenges where someone posts a picture like this: It's pretty easy to see how this works.  You basically just do the prescribed amount of reps/time for the exercise in question for each day, and then announce your progress on social media using the indicated hashtag.   I think these are a great idea, but not necessarily for the reason you think they are. Yes, they help you get in better shape, especially when it's a challenge on a core muscle group like planks above.  That can't be denied.  I will take issue with the amount of rest this particular challenge allows you, however.  Some of these challenges will actually do a hard day, then drop back to an easier day as a rest of sorts... the one I just completed did not do this, as you can see.  That got to be pretty tough in the second ha

How Essential Oils Are Manly

The real man's toolkit: essential oils and duck tape.  "Yeah, I use essential oils." Silence. This is the normal reaction I get why I, as an adult male human, tell other men that I use essential oils instead of things like aspirin, Tums or Rolaids, Ben Gay, or any number of other pharmaceuticals. There's this impression out there that essential oils are girly, I guess, or that they're like most other products that are primarily for making things smell nicer: they're for the ladies. Or even that they're new agey and woo-woo - to be used only when listening to Windham Hill CDs and cleansing your chakras. Real men don't care about smells, right? They thrive on sweat, piss and vinegar. They belch, fart, and otherwise release smells into the air that are simultaneously hilarious and relieving to the body. They get upset because their wives bought decorative soaps and guest towels for the bathroom that they're not allowed to use. They frown a

Your Goals Might Not Be My Goals

I got a tweet to my @Train4AutismCLB account the other day, just out of the blue, that really got me thinking about goals and motivations.  For those who aren't in the autism community, there's a bit of a rift regarding the charity Autism Speaks, which is the biggest, most visible autism charity out there.  Many people who are higher-functioning autistics believe that one of the organization's stated goals of "curing" autism would only take away a facet of their personalities that make them what they are.  Then there are those who would love to have a cure for autism or at least some way to relieve some of the nastier aspects of autism and help their loved ones to have an easier time functioning in today's society.  It's a fine line, no doubt.  But the tweet I got was from someone whose profile said they were an aspie, which is shorthand for someone with Asperger's Syndrome.  This is a high-functioning form of autism where people are very smar