By Sunny Simon
My friend Melissa is one of the most generous people I know. She has blessed my life and those of many others in a very special way. Melissa never misses an opportunity to lavish sincere praise when she finds it fitting. Not only does she express her kindness to others by issuing compliments, Melissa does so in a significant way.
The other day I was the recipient of one of Melissa’s bighearted gifts. She attended a presentation I gave at a business meeting. Not only did she absorb and remember the message I delivered, the next morning when I visited my Facebook page Melissa had tagged me in a post. Other friends might have sent me a quick private message telling me they enjoyed my presentation. Not Melissa. She wrote a lengthy paragraph of “shout out” praise to be viewed by our mutual friends on social media. Her act of kindness was extremely generous and an example of how Melissa goes out of her way to lift up people making them feel special.
Generosity is the virtue of giving freely and abundantly. Sometimes we give time, in other instances money or material goods. People like Melissa find innovative ways to make the world a brighter place.
Khalil Gibran is quoted as saying, “Generosity is giving more than you can and taking less than your need.” Wise words to live by and yet, conversely, we can all identify acquaintances, perhaps even family members, who either refrain, or rarely think to offer up an “atta boy.” Often in my coaching practice I encounter individuals who talk about never receiving a compliment from a parent, sibling or even their boss. Denying a deserving person a word of praise is the opposite of being generous. In fact, withholding admiration on a consistent basis can even be a form of emotional punishment.
Not everyone is as highly skilled as Melissa in the art of a compliment. If you are holding back praising others because it feels awkward, or you fear doing it wrong, just practice. Start small. Try telling your boss you like her dress (if you do). Next try focusing on characteristics and skills. Perhaps your coworker wrote an excellent procedure shortcutting a task and making your work-life easier. Applaud that action, verbally, in writing or at a staff meeting in front of the boss.
There is only one rule when passing out compliments. Be sincere. Coupling sincerity with generosity will make your compliment memorable.
Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at www.raisethebarhigh.com