Praise Be

Maybe I obsess over the question I’m about to pose because I’m a language geek. But seriously – have you ever been in awe of how powerful just a few words can be? I get caught up thinking about this now and then.

Early in my career, my CEO shared a handwritten note she’d received. It was from a woman who worked at one of our key partner companies. I had been the lead on a major project that included a lot of collaboration between us, which culminated in a very public community event. Her note praising my work was just a few lines – I’m guessing it took her fifteen minutes or less to write and send.

Many years later, I still think of that card. Sure it felt great to see her words, to know my boss had taken notice. It boosted my confidence, and maybe even helped as I earned more responsibility and an eventual promotion. Not to discount the incredible value of those (every bit of that was amazing and immediately gratifying), but here’s the meat of this thing: my whole world view on praising others shifted.

I’d been stingy with praise. Part guarded, part too-busy-for-that-kind-of-fluff. I hadn’t realized it, but I just wasn’t the sort of gal who told someone (or their boss, for that matter) when they were being awesome. It took fifteen minutes and a paragraph for a woman to challenge all of that.

There’s some sort of karmic law that I now feel bound to uphold. Having once been the recipient of such a kindness, I must do this thing for others. When I see awesomeness, it deserves a quick note. Today I sent another such letter in the mail. It’ll reach its intended recipient in a day or two, and then (crossing fingers) it may just make someone’s day. Or maybe, just maybe, those few words will positively shift the center of someone’s world.

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox
Today’s prompt: “Nice someone! Whether it’s a gift, a helping hand, moral support, or just doing something for someone else – write about what you did.”

  • robbyslaughter

    Imagine how wonderful the world would be if we all took the time to let people know we appreciated them.

    I appreciate you, Sara, for all that you do for ThinkKit, SmallBox, the local film scene, for your dogs, for Louis and your family, for everyone.

    Thank you.