When To Congratulate Yourself
Towards the end of the recent podcast interview with Mark Bristow, he used a line which has really stuck with me.
He commented that if we spoke to other people the way we spoke to ourselves, we wouldn’t have too many friends.
This was again brought home to me when I was talking with a client of The Eternal Business Consultancy recently. I’d like to repeat for you what he said in full:
This chap owns and runs his own business, and has done for many years. I work with him on preparing his business for the sale to an Employee Ownership Trust. He also has teenage children.
Recently, he won the biggest contract of his career, securing many jobs. This is what he told me about the experience.
“I was talking to our Managing Director, catching up on a few things. At the end of our conversation he said ‘Oh, and one other thing. Well done on getting that contract.’
This rather caught me in my tracks. It made me realise that nobody ever says well done to me. Employees come to me with their problems, they hardly ever say ‘well done’, or let alone ‘thank you’.
It’s the same at home. My kids never congratulate me or thank me for anything.
And that’s fine. That’s how it goes, I get that. I don’t expect to be thanked, so I’m not complaining.
But there is something else. . .
It also made me realise that I never say well done to myself. I plough on, doing the things that are expected of me, and that I expect of myself. I never take the time to look at what I might have achieved, and just have a quiet moment of satisfaction to myself.”
That night, my friend told me, he took such a moment, and just raised a glass to himself. Quietly to himself, with nobody listening, no fanfare, he just took a moment to acknowledge to himself that he had done something good.
We all spend so much time beating ourselves up for things that we may have said that came out wrong, or things we did that perhaps had unforeseen consequences. Maybe we should balance this out by taking the time to give ourselves a little pat on the back when we do things well.
When should we congratulate ourselves? When we deserve it. Which is an awful lot more often than most of us tend to!