Acknowledgment is vital to everybody. It can be more powerful than money. In fact, money may be considered a form of acknowledgment for our work.
Whether it is for ourselves or the people around us, acknowledgment can do wonders. Learn to acknowledge yourself and your team by reading more.
Acknowledgment vs. Appreciation
Many may say that acknowledgment and appreciation are the same. However, acknowledgment has a deeper meaning.
When I appreciate someone, I praise or compliment them. For instance, I say, “Thank you for inviting me here today,” when I appreciate someone.
On the other hand, acknowledging means more than just appreciation. It means I see them for what they do in the world and how they make a difference. Thus, I express my gratitude and recognize them or their work aloud.
When I acknowledge someone, they will feel valued. So instead, I acknowledge someone by saying, “Thank you for inviting me today. I feel so happy being with you. You inspire me to do greater things.”
This latter statement shows that you recognize their efforts and how they impact you.
Impact of Acknowledgment
Because I recognize someone’s work, I know they will feel loved or valued. That is because when I am acknowledged, I also feel valued. The simple gesture of acknowledgment means I am gracious and socially aware.
Especially at work, being acknowledged has a positive impact on the overall performance of a person. For instance, if I am acknowledged for my initiative to do extra work, I feel happy. I will do an even better job next time because of this.
Importance of Self-Acknowledgment
The secret of being able to acknowledge other people is first to acknowledge ourselves. When we recognize who we are and what we have accomplished, it will be easier to acknowledge others.
Moreover, acknowledging ourselves is essential because of the following:
1. Increases Motivation
I measure success with achievements. This is good, but the negative side is when I only consider significant achievements as “achievements.” Sometimes I forget the small things I have achieved because I am so focused on the big things. As a result, I get burned out when I don’t achieve a big goal.
But when I change my mind to celebrate even small achievements, it fuels motivation. It tells me to keep moving forward. Not only that, but it helps me become more aligned with my goals and see tasks in a positive light.
2. Boosts Confidence
Not only do I feel motivated when I acknowledge myself, but I also feel more confident. When I know that I have completed or reached a goal, even if it’s a small one, it helps me do more. That’s because I know I can do it.
Self-acknowledgement allows me to see that I am skilled, dedicated, and hardworking. Without these, I know I cannot reach my goal.
On the other hand, not recognizing my achievements makes me forget that I have skills, passion, dedication, and other values. In the long run, I will feel dissatisfied and may even succumb to depression or anxiety because I no longer trust myself.
Ways to Acknowledge Our Accomplishments
Most of the time, we don’t acknowledge our successes because we don’t know how. Thankfully, I have learned the following ways to recognize my accomplishments.
1. Break Down Your Achievements (Even the Small Ones)
When I go to the supermarket, I list all the essentials I need without forgetting one. I even list down tasks I need to complete so I know what I need to do.
Similarly, I learned to list all my achievements from small to big ones, daily to weekly, short-term to long-term.
By doing this, I feel like I am progressing because I can see my wins throughout my journey. Moreover, writing them down lets me remember those times, including what struggles I may have experienced and how I overcame them.
Having a list helps to see what I have accomplished so far and reminds me of what I’m capable of.
Another way to acknowledge accomplishments is to celebrate. This does not mean a grand celebration, but you can have one if you want to. For me, treating myself to a short hiking trip is enough, for instance.
What matters is that you do something that makes you happy as a reward for your accomplishment. Say you have done the laundry that’s been sitting for weeks. Celebrate it by treating yourself to a delicious meal.
Celebrating small wins is not an egotistical or selfish act; it is a way to acknowledge our accomplishments.
The “Cookie Jar”
While trying to accomplish my goals, I have been through many ups and downs. Sometimes the hardships have been very difficult to deal with and have even left me in the fetal position crying on occasion. But David Goggins endured a lot of hardship before he reaped a lot of victories. This is what he called the “Cookie Jar.”
His concept behind this is that he dips into his cookie jar to remember accomplishing things when he is suffering. I also practice this, because it helps me to access my sympathetic nervous system. As a result, I can feel motivated to keep going when things seem too hard.
I follow the cookie jar concept by remembering how it feels to be successful during my victories. Thus, it will help me remember how I was tested by life and how I overcame those odds.
Think back on your victories, and relive the moment in your mind, reminding yourself that you can do more.
Acknowledging Your Team
As mentioned, acknowledgment is also vital in the workplace. Acknowledging your team helps them become more engaged and perform better.
There are five languages of appreciation in the workplace that we can apply when acknowledging employees. These five languages are the same as the 5 Love Languages and are from Gary Chapman and Paul White’s book “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace”.
1. Words of Affirmation
Offering praise and recognition to team members is one of the easiest and best ways to recognize their work contributions. It shows that I value their output and how they accomplish it. It helps them know that I am aware of their efforts.
Thus, I can speak or write praises of their accomplishments. Imagine if you got a word of acknowledgment from your CEO.
2. Giving Quality Time
I spend some of my time with my staff. For instance, I join them over lunch and talk to them. It helps when I share similar experiences. Then I tell them that what they are doing is vital and valued.
When I spend time with them, they know that I know they exist and they are doing something important for my business or company.
3. Acts of Service
This is when I help my team, especially when it involves complicated tasks. By doing this, they will feel more motivated to accomplish the task at hand, and they become aware of how I see them as team members and as partners.
4. Tangible Gifts
Aside from words of praise, I also give them non-monetary gifts like a ticket to a conference. That way, they know that I recognize what they do.
5. Physical Touch
Using physical touch as a form of acknowledgment should be done with more care. A pat in the back or a congratulatory shake hand or fist bump may be appropriate.
When I acknowledge my accomplishments, it helps with developing my habit to acknowledge other people as well. Overall, not only can I make myself feel valued and feel good, but I also help others feel the same.
That is the power of acknowledgment. Learn more about acknowledgment and leadership in my book, “The Smartest Person in the Room”.