Recognising recognition…

A friend of mine who is a proud grandfather of three, aged 7, 8, and 9 told me a lovely story this week.

He and his wife had taken the three out for the day – around town, in museums, up hills, down streets. At lunch they visited a Pizza restaurant and as it was so busy, they struggled to get a table, and having thought they might need to wait 45 minutes, were delighted when they got one in 10. Two hours later my grandfather friend lent back in his chair and reflected on their time together. He took a spoon and tapped the glass for attention as if to make a speech. The 3 stopped and listened. He told them how proud he was of them, how much he had enjoyed their company and thanked them for being so entertaining, smart and funny and how impressed he was about how they were growing up. You could see in his eyes how much that moment had meant to him.

We all need recognition. If you are lucky and get that positive encouragement as a child you will build an inner strength that will stay with you for life. If  you are not as lucky, as you become an adult the search for external praise and validation can easily make you turn in on your self. Either way, none of us wants to live a life not recognised for who we are and the contribution and difference we make. But the real challenge if we want to make things better, should be about how generous we are to others. Do we recognise and appreciate the contribution and difference others make and do we tell them? Do we put others ahead of ourselves? Do we take delight in watching others thrive or succeed? Are we able to have enough humility to appreciate it wasn’t our idea but we helped someone else have it instead? Do we take delight in the recognition of others kindness and impact however small?

If you want to recognise great recognition where ever you are and in whatever you do, it’s easier and better to focus on what you can give rather than what you receive.

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