Episode 117 – Acknowledging the Humans

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Someone leaves a comment on a blogpost you spent a significant amount of thinking time on.

How does that make you feel?

On the other hand, you hear nothing from the presentation you forwarded to your boss. You thought it was filled with some innovative approaches to move your division forward. But, you hear…crickets.

How does that make you feel?

You get to choose how you feel. And, so does everyone else.

But, there are some trends in human behavior. One of them seems to be that getting some kind of acknowledgement does generate some kind of emotion that seems to serve us.

I talked about this in my weekly Facebook live recently. The importance of acknowledging the humans in our lives – for the gifts received, for the good they are doing, for the work they contribute.

Somehow in the process of acknowledging, we change too.

Tune in to hear some stories, insights, and thoughts to ponder on the topic of acknowledgement.

Feel free to share with me your stories, push back, and insights too!

Note: This is an edited version of that live Facebook session.

Episode 117 Transcript

This is Rebecca Clark Episode 1 17 acknowledging the humans. This podcast is for anyone that knows they haven’t yet found and offered up their best work but are compelled to seek it out and do it. Are you ready to move your desk? Mhm mm hmm. Periodically I enjoy repurposing content from my live facebook sessions and that’s what the content is today. It’s from a facilitation that I conducted on my weekly live session, which you are completely invited to attend and the move your desk group on facebook. But I realized as I was going through and listening to the recording that I had promised to share three stories about acknowledging the humans and I only shared too and my live session. So I’m going to start off by sharing the third story. It happened recently. We were at the pool and like many of you, I want my child to be able to navigate water and he doesn’t have to be an amazing swimmer. But I want him to be confident. I want him to have some skills and be able to take care of himself and perhaps help someone else in need when it comes to water situations. Now, right now, his confidence is higher than his skill level. Yeah, so we’re working on that, and when I say we’re working on that, that means we get to have more swim lessons and more practices so that the skill level can get up to the confidence level right in some situations in life, it’s great to be overconfident. It’s great in other situations to really have skills to support that confidence and I believe that water is one of them. So we’re at the pool and I say before we go into the fun stuff like the slides and the splashy area, let’s go over to the lap pool because it’s a little too high of water. But at the same time I’m able to stand up and help navigate the challenges while giving him practice. So in the pool he’s practicing his version of all the strokes and laying on his back and bobbing up and down and navigating the water and we’re having a good time while he’s also receiving some correction from me. And meanwhile there’s two women talking on the side of the pool and one of them started to take notice of us and she would say to him, keep going, you’re doing a good job, keep trying, that’s great, that’s how you do it. And she was just a very supportive person that just decided that it was important to support this little person that’s learning how to swim. So that was fun. We kind of splash around for a bit and then said we can get out and we got out and as we were walking away, I noticed that this woman’s friend got out of the pool and pulled over a wheelchair to the side of the pool and helped her friend out and she helped her friend out because her friend did not have legs and it surprised me for a moment because it was just completely unexpected. Right? I just expected she had legs and she didn’t have legs. I don’t know if it’s from an accident, from a sickness from birth, whatever, but she needed help from her friend to get out of the pool. For some reason, the kindness that the woman had shown to us a few minutes before became even more noticeable to me as I realized that she did not view her physical body as a limitation to reaching out and acknowledging others and encouraging others to succeed. And it changed my day and she doesn’t even know it. And it changed my day. She’d already changed my day, already paying attention and providing encouragement to my son. But even more so when I saw that she had her own limitations, that she chose to view as a non limitation, perhaps. And she reached out to my son, she was being a great friend to the person that she was talking with and to me, by the way, and my life was elevated in that moment because I chose to look at the pool. Experience slightly differently that day, right? I went about the lazy river differently. I went about going down the slide differently. I kind of stepped aside and let someone cut in the line without any response, I smiled more that little kids going by me and even getting out of the way of different adults. I showed up a little better, a little different perhaps then I would have before that interaction, acknowledging each other is important for ourselves and it’s important for those who are acknowledged, right? As in my point that I went forward differently when I did that. Okay. If you want to hear more thoughts, listen to the rest of the recording, keep showing up to do our work. Okay, So today we’re gonna be talking about acknowledging honoring the influence of our human orbits. So I wanted to start off to share that. I hear a lot of comments when I’m coaching when I’m in interactions with family, friends, neighbors, people to store all the things where we’re not feeling acknowledged for our work or for doing the things we do in our life. So here are some of the comments that I’ve heard. And I put I feel like because I often hear it shared as I feel like, but often that’s not the feelings are often sharing the thought that they’re having first off, right? So my contribution isn’t valued, very common comment that I hear. They have no idea the level of effort I put into that for them Hamilton. You said that, right? You go through all this effort. People don’t acknowledge it. You’re like, well, do I want to keep doing this? I don’t know, Maybe I don’t want to, they never tell me if they liked my gift, you’ve done that. There’s people who keep giving gifts to you don’t hear anything. You’re like, maybe I’m giving bad gifts, like maybe they don’t like me giving them anything. Maybe they feel obligated from it, maybe whatever, or maybe they love it. How do we know there’s no feedback, right? There’s no acknowledgment of it. What I hear most because of the kind of coaching I do with career coaching and the interactions I have. The most common thing I hear is my boss only points out what is wrong, or my spouse only points out what is wrong, not acknowledging any of the good stuff. Really good at acknowledging the bad and have all kinds of thoughts and expectations related to those, right? So I thought to start us off today as we talk about acknowledging that I would pull one of these thoughts to start with to just demonstrate how important it is to acknowledge because of some of the thoughts and feelings we have when we’re not acknowledged and how that impacts our behavior and our actions or inaction, which then brings us our outcomes and our results. Right? So I took one of them, I took the top one. My contribution isn’t valued and it doesn’t matter which one of these we take honestly because each of them can teach us something about ourselves or can increase our awareness. We’re gonna take this and we’re going to take a look at this thought, right? And we’re just gonna get more specific with it. And you may have different words you’ll put with. It doesn’t matter as long as we choose something to take a close look at, right? It’s like we’re taking both of our brains and taking a look at this brain on the table that’s having this thought. My contribution isn’t valued when we think my contribution isn’t valued. There are some different emotions that come up inside of us and that can be different for everyone. But frequently there will be some similar emotions that we can draw from. And in this case I wrote down to if my contribution isn’t valued, I can feel worthless or irrelevant. I I don’t know if this is a motion, I’ll put it down if you have an extra like I’m kind of an extra person here. I’m not needed. I’m not necessary. Why am I here when we have that emotion? And I’m just going to choose one? Let’s just take irrelevant. If my contribution isn’t valued and I feel irrelevant. How do I show up? So as I was thinking about this, I thought when I feel irrelevant, what am I likely to do? Well, I have a little phrase, I just came up with shirk into the shadows. Kind of want to hide a little right? Don’t want to be noticed because you’re like, oh, I’m I’m irrelevant anyway. My contribution isn’t valued. I kind of want to slip into the background so that those are valued are out there doing all their value things so you might disappear. You may not volunteer to help, right? You might have been volunteering before. Suddenly when you feel my contribution isn’t valued and you’re irrelevant. You’re not going to offer to help. You may even push away opportunities to contribute actively push away, which is very interesting. And of course we can participate in mental mind chatter, but also real chatter. Have you seen this at work? I’ve heard this over and over and get. My contribution isn’t valued. My boss doesn’t notice this. They reward this person more than me. And it goes, the list goes on. This becomes water cooler chat like sharing with another person how they’re not valued. The other person starts spreading word about the boss and no one wants to work with the boss or they say, oh this other bosses better at showing and acknowledging your worth, that kind of thing. Right? So there’s all these different things that can happen and from this. What’s the result? Well, my contribution isn’t valued? Well, of course not because you are now contributing less from this thought. Very fascinating, isn’t it? I think it’s very fascinating to notice that, oh my goodness, when I start feeling this way about myself, that I am irrelevant because I’m having a thought about, my contribution is not valid. It changes how I show up. It changes how I show up in life. It changes how I show up with my boss, my spouse, my child, my other employers, or neighbors or anyone else in my life, I show up differently. And the only reason I’m showing up differently is because I’m having this thought and it’s completely a choice. But as I share this, I also want to point out that even though it’s a choice to have this thought and not a thought that serves you better, these kinds of thoughts can teach us something about human behavior. And one of the things that can teach us about human behavior is that as humans we like to be acknowledged, right? It’s somehow built into us and some people need more of it than others and some less, but it’s important. So what does acknowledge mean we’ll have to look up my own definition, right? So as a verb it’s to accept or admit the existence or truth of. So for example, the plight of the refugees was acknowledged by the authorities and then of a body of opinion definition which is also a verb is to recognize the fact or importance or quality of. So the sentence that was provided on google is the art world has begun to acknowledge his genius. I wanted to point out the definition and then share something else. Over the years, I have heard in psychology of different studies about abuse and neglect and being ignored and bullying all these kinds of topics. And one of the Things that came up, one of the studies I just wanted to share one, there’s been a few is that it’s better to be bullied than ignored in the workplace. A study found in University of British Columbia and that was back in 2014. But I think even before then there were studies and I wanted to just share this is an excerpt from the summary that’s being ignored at work is worse for physical and mental well being than harassment or bullying. Researchers found that while most consider ostracism less harmful than bullying, feeling excluded is significantly more likely to lead to job dissatisfaction, quitting and health problems. We’ve been taught that ignoring someone is socially preferable if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. But ostracism actually leads people to feel more helpless. Like they’re not worthy of any attention at all. Isn’t that fascinating? So for some reason that attention in some way, that acknowledgement, even if bad most of our eyes is better than to be ignored. I wanted to share three stories from my life recently. That has made me think about this topic more. So the first is have you been to a kindergarten graduation? I had never cared about these things and like what are they having them for? Their kind of cute in the pictures, whatever. But let me tell you, we had a covid kindergarten graduation in our family and it was very cool. We drove up, there was this red carpet laid out. My tiny person walked down the carpet. He got a little lay, he got a picture of himself, he got a certificate, he got gifts and bags. He walks up the red carpet, he goes on this little stand and he gets to take pictures with his teachers and they have graduation music playing the pomp and circumstance And he felt like $1 million, it was amazing. He was even given this little balloon with a little picture on it. So cute, right? And it not only made him feel different, he chose to love and appreciate that acknowledgment, but I felt different. I was like, wow, I need to do this more often in life. I need to acknowledge in certain ways. I was also the recipient of being acknowledged because I had a big birthday recently, right? So some family members put on something for me and it was super cool because part of it, there were these pictures put up, I’m just gonna show this is a picture of me in Thailand when I was a little girl buried in some dirt and you don’t see the next picture was me putting my arm through it, I was very angry about it, but just different pictures of family and moments in life, basketball christmas, being a little girl, These are pictures I’ve put up on facebook, but my sister Renee took the time to blow them up, put them out there for everyone, and that was not even all of it, right? We had families show up for this, they traveled large distances to come see me and celebrate. Now I understand that the event was for me, but other people got to interact at it. I had a congresswoman friend show up, she had a very busy schedule and she was flying out to europe the next day and she came to see me and talk to me. I had some other friends that did the same, I had some that drove four or five hours to come see me and my family. It wasn’t big, people have got a lot going on, it doesn’t matter, I was acknowledged and had super strong feelings about that acknowledgement and one of the outcomes of that was reminder that I want to acknowledge the people in my life to do anything for me now this is all about thinking people, this is about being grateful. Most importantly, it’s about noticing and being aware of the people in our lives and sometimes it’s hardest to do this with the people that are closest to us, which is why I brought up the boss and the spouse example because these are people that one of them is a working relationship where were paid and one of them are kind of working relationship on just trying to get through life right. And so but in these sometimes we are less effective at acknowledging the good right and that comes out and comments like this very good at pointing out what’s not going right. We’re not living up to each other’s virtual rule books, which we’ve talked about in other podcasts and other trainings like this. And so I think that it’s worth taking time to go what do I need to acknowledge more of and increase my awareness of because the act of doing this increases our compassion and our empathy for others. And quite honestly, we can feel like a rock star. Have you felt that way? I’ll be writing out a thank you note to someone and in the process I’m like so excited that I’m giving this to them or if you’re buying a gift for someone, like I can’t wait till they get this. They’re going to love it now. The person may or may not love it, right, That is dependent upon them. But we feel better when we do it right? I love Seth Godin has some of, you know, he is a marketing guru and has been for many years. He shares solid principles on how to interact with our customers, how to offer up our best work. And he talks about giving good gifts and giving good gifts, meaning giving of ourselves because we want to because we would love to give it and not judging what the others think of the gift. It’s fascinating right to say I’m going to go all out and give this gift and you may not even like it, but I still know that I gave it. Uh huh. And so how do we do this on a daily basis? Well, there’s a lot tied to our thoughts and feelings here, right? If my contribution isn’t valued, if this is how I feel, I am I willing to look at how we’re not valuing others contributions? If I frequently say they have no idea the level of effort I put into that for them. Are we also turning around and saying, oh, am I aware of the level of effort people are putting into things in my life and my acknowledging that with them turn this around, they never tell me if they liked my gifts. Okay. Are you telling others if you appreciate their gifts, no matter how big or small I love in one of Jensen Xiros books, she shares a story about the lady in the neighborhood that makes amazing cookies and she gives them to all the kids and one of the Children come back and say those cookies were the best. They were awesome. I loved your cookies, thank you for sharing them. And her point in the book was, who do you think getting the next batch of cookies, right? Everybody maybe. But guaranteed this lady that’s like making cookies for kids in the neighborhood or for people in the neighborhood, she’s gonna remember that and she’s going to be sharing with that person who acknowledges right? So acknowledging increases our capacity to receive. In the process. My boss, my boss or spouse only points out what is wrong, So flip it around. Do I only point out what is wrong? Do I only notice what they’re doing wrong? Or am I also putting the same level of effort and energy into noticing when they are doing right and acknowledging. And sometimes noticing this can help teach us about what we’re not doing about what we’re showing up now, if it seems like someone is acting a certain way around us, that’s their choice, right? They always have a choice to act like that around us, and we always have a choice on how we are going to respond. But even if we do get to choose how we view that situation, I would put forward that it’s always valuable to take a look at ourselves and go, am I showing up in the way that I want to show up? Because if we are having this thought about enough, uh my contribution isn’t valued and I’m feeling irrelevant. I am showing up differently than I think right. I’m not showing up is my best self in that thought. Now we can flip the thought right? And sometimes we can very quickly flip thoughts. Other times it’s a gradual process because we’re having to overcome a lot of thoughts about someone or the way they are behaving. And so I wanted to offer that one of the reasons are some of the reasons that we bother to acknowledge others is that we show up better when we start noticing and increasing our awareness of who is contributing to our life at home or at work or wherever we feel better, we show up differently. Think about that. Whenever someone’s wish you happy birthday given you a gift, pointed out how you’ve made this valuable contribution, what does it do now, granted in that process, there can be some embarrassment. There can be like, oh wow, I didn’t want this attention. But deep down there tends to be another emotion and in other sets of thoughts that are saying, oh wow, I’m grateful that they did that, I’m grateful. They showed appreciation for me. I am grateful to acknowledge that because I put effort into that and I don’t need to have some big acknowledgment. I just need them to let me know that they are aware and they appreciated it and they’re going to do something with it. Also, when we acknowledge, we set a pattern, right? We become an example of someone who is willing to acknowledge others for their contributions and for the time they take to contribute to our lives. I mentioned that some people traveled four or 5 hours to come see me and my family. That means a lot. There are about 100 other things at least that they could have done at that time. And they chose that even if they came for a few minutes that matters. And it shows that no matter how busy and important some people are, they take the time to acknowledge someone and it kind of gives us a clue as to why they are so busy and important because they are very good at figuring out what’s the most important thing to do at that moment, Who to acknowledge and how and why. As I mentioned, I believe earlier is one of the reasons we acknowledge is to increase our capacity to receive. We go and we think for the cookies and we just find that people keep wanting to share and give and have you be contributing to something that involved in because they know that you will acknowledge it or appreciate it. That matters. What I’ve also noticed is that as I take the time to acknowledge, it increases my compassion and my empathy and my love and my awareness, right? It increases all of these things because you start looking for it, right? You start gathering evidence that you notice things and you’re aware and you’re contributing to your close human orbit, but you’re also aware of the larger world and how it all works and there is a lot of give and take and receiving in that process and so acknowledging as part of that. And so I wanted to just share today the importance of starting small, just taking one thing today and going, who can I acknowledge today to thank them for thinking of me for giving me this thing for taking time to listen whatever. And it can be especially valuable if it’s someone that’s not used to receiving that from you, that demonstrates you are willing to do something different that may be hard and uncomfortable toward building a closer relationship with someone. So let me know what your thoughts are. We are all in the process of learning how to acknowledge people in our lives. And I’d like to finally add that. I think it increases our influence others. If we are willing to step out there and acknowledge all of the different things that people do for us, and all the different ways that they are contributing in the world. We become more trustworthy and people want to come and share with us. People want to be involved in what we’re doing because they know we will always say yes, that person was a part of this. They helped me. They were a contributor in some way. And so when we are acknowledged in those ways, we often tend to want to be more involved in the future with those people who take the time to do that. I think in work and in life we’ve all experienced the opposite, right? Where someone hasn’t acknowledged, they’ve taken all the glory, so to speak. And it doesn’t feel great. Sometimes we decide it doesn’t matter. Sometimes we decided matters, but I would encourage you to decide that it matters how you show up, regardless of what anyone does with the acknowledgement you give and regardless of whether or not you think that the thing you’re acknowledging is big enough or small enough or whatever. So remember that these thoughts are going to enter our minds and when they enter our minds, we can take a moment and pay attention to whether or not we are showing up the same way and we can change it when we’re ready. But for now, like I always say, just be aware, that’s all that’s needed up front. Is to be aware, okay, my friends, I hope you have a great day and find someone to thank today or express gratitude to or just notice. Talk to you soon. Mm mm. Thanks for listening to the show today. If you enjoyed it, I’d love if you’d write a review and share the show with your friends, sign up for a weekly nudge at move your desk dot com. Okay. Yeah.

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