Give yourself an Oscar

reese1It’s the season for award ceremonies – particularly in the world of entertainment.  We’ve just had the Grammies and Bafta, not to mention SAG, Golden Globes, Emmys… the list is endless.   Tonight things reach a climax with the 81st Academy Awards, the Oscars.

Other industries do have awards, although there isn’t such a song and dance made about them. Good companies also have staff recognition schemes, where individuals or groups/teams have awards for “going the extra mile”. This normally would imply some achievement or additional effort that takes them beyond their basic job description.  Or benefits the organisation in some way in the eyes of its customers.

Whether you are winning (sorry, receiving) an Oscar or some staff recognition award, its nice to have some positive feedback from your peers and superiors that they think you’ve done a good job.

Getting good feedback or recognition happens in other ways. My twin daughters both work at a local restaurant. Waitressing remains one of those jobs where it is still custom to give tips for “good service”, although this practice has been abused and diluted by restaurants adding a flat “service charge” to the bill.

Despite the fact that the restaurant they work at is a pub with pretensions of being a restaurant – awful name “gastropub” – they do pretty well for tips. Last week they were both working one night and one daughter returned upset and angry. She’d spent the evening just servicing one large party, who had left virtually nothing in tips.

However, her frustration turned to joy the following shift. Someone from the party had sent a thank you card, containing a small remuneration, to the manager thanking the restaurant for such a nice evening and singling out my daughter for particular praise and  “working hard to make the evening special”.thanks1

The manager pinned the card to the staff room wall, and there’s been no living with her since!

Now it’s fairly clear that both our self esteem and self confidence are given a huge boost when we receive praise, thank you’s and other recognition for a job well done. One important point though is to ensure you accept such feedback properly. Don’t say “it was nothing” or “anyone could have done that”.

No-one receives an Oscar and says “I don’t really deserve this, anyone could have done what I did .. I just showed up and did my job”  So, learn to accept feedback and enjoy the moment. Say thank you, but, again, don’t dilute or try to shrug off your achievements.

Whilst watching award ceremonies can be excruciating, its quite interesting to see how recipients are generous in their praise and thanks of others (we just wish they didn’t have so many to thank!).

The other point relating to building your own confidence and self esteem is to give yourself appropriate positive feedback and “achievement awards”. Unfortunately, saying thank you and handing out praise isn’t as widespread as in the entertainment industry.

Criticism can be more likely than recognition at times. And as I said above, recognition is usually for doing something out of the ordinary and beyond your usual job or role.  You can work hard and contribute greatly, but if thats what you normally do it goes unrecognised!

Get in the habit of being pleased when you have done a good job – be it at home, school, work, wherever. Don’t find fault, find strengths. If you have perfectionist tendencies start chipping away at your unrealistic aspirations. Treat yourself as you would a friend – give yourself praise for doing a good job, rather than waiting for things to be perfect.

Saying thank you to others is also something that can indirectly improve our self confidebce and self esteem. This is osmething we should get in the habit of doing naturally, and not allow it to become a forced or “corporate” led activity. Giving positive feedback should come naturally, being aware you are helping others through what you say is a nice side effect of saying “thank you“.

Photos by davierae and  psd on Flickr

Rick Falls February 22, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Hi David,
Excellent post.

I am practicing celebrating the good thing (and only the good things)
with everyone I come in contact with. Even when someone blazes a shot
past me and I lose the point in a “big boy” tennis game I say “great shot”.

Helping others have higher thoughts of themselves through our sincere
compliments is a good way to feel better vibrations about ourselves as well.

Keep up the good work providing this is very needed information.

Thanks again, Rick

channel marketing February 23, 2009 at 5:24 pm

I love how praise means more to people than monetary reward (for the majority of people I come in contact with). I do have perfectionist tendencies but I’m getting better at valuing what I do even it is not nearly perfect. I also really liked the part at the end about thanking someone who compliments / recognizes you. In my experiences, not only does this make the person recognizing you feel good, it makes the person being complimented feel an extra boost of accomplishment and utility.

yes, but still.. February 24, 2009 at 9:13 am

@channel marketing

You raise an interesting point: Social rewards are more powerful than monetary rewards in many cases. It’s a perfect example of why one should praise those who deserve it.

yes, but still..s last blog post..Life optimization weekly tip #5: The power of 10 minutes

David February 24, 2009 at 9:24 pm

Thank you all for your comments. I have read somewhere that research has shown that people do rate praise above monetary reward, although thats a fairly broad statement

Chicago prostate cancer February 27, 2009 at 7:37 pm

I agree. Getting a ‘thank you’ is just as nice as getting a paycheck. The only problem is that the thank you’s don’t pay rent. We should do things not because we want recognition but because we are either passionate about them or because it is the right thing to do. Regards!

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