Doing Things Right

I have been thinking about how important it is to be caught doing things right. Some people think you have to be careful; you don’t want to praise people too much, because they’re going to get a big head. People don’t get a big head by getting caught doing things right. People get false pride and big heads because they’re not praised enough. And they start to crave it, and they need it, and they start to push and shove for credit. When I was a kid, I was so fortunate, no matter what I did there was always somebody there—my mom or dad or my sister—to give me an “attaboy” and tell me that I did great. I think one of the reasons why I’m able to keep things in perspective, if I happen to achieve anything, and laugh about it, is because I’ve been told I’m okay all of my life. So I don’t really need or crave it or need to push or shove for it. So I just wanted to say to you how important, again, it is to help people who are important in your life and give them an “attaboy” or “attagirl” and tell them that you love them and you care about them. Because what really makes people feel good in the long run is the belief about that. False pride comes when nobody pays any attention to you and you start to wonder if you’re okay. Everybody needs that pat on the back once in a while.

5 thoughts on “Doing Things Right

  1. A great message, thank you!

    The authenticity of a praise “in the moment” is something I know I personally value. It feels more genuine and “real” when someone catches you doing the right thing and acknowledges it right then and there. I try to make niceness automatic in my own life for a couple of reasons: 1)to ensure that my praise of and kindness to others doesn’t feel contrived, 2)so that I make it a priority to go ahead and praise when I see something worthy of it.

    Thanks again for the reminder that kindness creates such an impact!

    ~ Marie Bjornson ~

  2. Thank you for the great message! Throughout our lives as friends, professionals, and families there is always room for an attaboy/attagirl. For me, it can be the fuel to keep going in the face of adversity and universally it is the simple acknowledgement of appreciation, inclusion, and inspiration that bring out the greatness in all of us.

    * Jeanette Sanchez *

  3. Great message. What interests me is the recent commentary in the press about being ‘over-praised’ – in other words, even mediocrity is rewarded with an ‘attaboy’. It was specifically aimed at politicians who don’t understand what a good job looks like (go figure, in the current climate).
    Personally I am fulsome with praise when I think someone has gone above and beyond their norm or above/beyond my expectations. I think that always telling people what a great job they’ve done – even if it’s not – risks devaluing the attaboys in the recipients’ minds, and risks generating a culture where mediocrity is OK and what’s expected.
    Having said that – nice post!

  4. Pingback: Catching People “Doing Things Right” « Ministry Management Memo

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