In Praise of Praise

BulletProof Consulting

Last Friday, I received a slap-in-the-face lesson about Praise, and today I want to share it with you.

I was walking the last 20 minutes of my daily 90-minute trek when a gentleman stopped me and asked if I had a phone. Of course! What’s the problem?

There is a lady over there (gesturing to the front lawn of a nearby school) sprawled on the grass who needs help. Absolutely. Let’s help her.

It was a 5’oclock on a beautiful 80-degree afternoon. The lady in question was lying flat on her back, half in and half out of the blazing sun. The gentleman leaned over to wake her up. After a few minutes, he succeeded.

To condense 15 minutes into a few sentences, she was drunk as a skunk – reeking of alcohol and barely coherent – and very obstinate about NOT moving. My new buddy and I discussed whether to move her physically. Ultimately, I cajoled her with a “hey sweetie, would you please move over to that tree and sit up. We don’t want you to get heatstroke, and leaning against that tree will be easier on your breathing.”

The next 20 minutes was me on a call to 911. Big lesson learned. Never try to be tactful and use the term inebriated. Apparently, both drunk and drugged fall under that category. Just call a spade a spade. While providing all the specifics to the ambulance peeps, the lady’s son drove up. Ultimately he took control of his mother, dealt with the ambulance peeps and drove her home.

Here’s the interesting thing.

It turns out my new buddy was a 34-year veteran firefighter. Who has kept his eye on this woman for a couple of years because she has a habit of getting wasted almost daily. On occasion, he has driven her home, called 911 himself, and regularly moves her out of danger. Obviously, he is a good man, and I told him so.

After the son drove her away, the firefighter and I chatted a bit. It seems we both have experience with drunks in our families. And while I will never begin to understand what he has seen in his line of work with the public, we both have a similar view about the state of addiction.

We shook hands and started to walk our separate ways. Then, he turned around and yelled out to me. ‘Hey, we did a good deed for today. It’s a great day! We did good.’

His simple statement hit hard — for three reasons.

  1. I never compliment myself for any decent ‘humanity’ actions I might take. (I genuinely believe we are all connected and have a responsibility to look out for one another.) So maybe it’s time to give the occasional high five.
  2. ALL the emergency personnel we have and take for granted do decent humanity actions every day. We expect it from them because it is part of their job. Yet how often do we, genuinely and in person, tell them so?
  3. We all need to be told, acknowledged, complimented or praised that we did a good thing – regardless of whether the outcome we wanted was delivered or not.

Here’s my Praise Challenge

The next time you do something positive, high-five yourself. Every time you do something good for someone else, pat yourself on the back. The feels go a long way in boosting your self-confidence.

The next time you see someone do something ‘good,’ no matter how small, act like my new friend the firefighter did – and call it out! The feels are amazing.

Because the truth is — when praise is involved, everyone feels the feels!

Change your thinking for the better

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