Great Wake Up Blog: Week #1
So... Week 1.
So... week 1.
Chris Barez-Brown's first challenge this week was to go and connect with people and tell them what we admire and love and respect about them. Simple enough in theory, but in practise? More awkward then you might think.
That isn't to say I don't think the people I spend my days with aren't fantastic, awesome, wonderful individuals full of amazing qualities that deserve praise. Of course they are - but how often do we actually just sit down and say it as a society with no extra motive, no societal or professional obligation (e.g. performance reviews)? Not as much as our best selves would like to believe.
This week was an interesting one to do and, despite my initial reservations about being so open and honest, it was a great way to really connect with people in a new, fresh, and genuinely impactful way. I told a colleague at work on the first day of the experiment that she was amazing and funny and someone whose humour and camraderie I valued, and she hugged me. No big teary displays of emotion, but a fantastic moment of connection that had me happier, calmer, and less stressed for the rest of the day.
Over the past few days, I've spoken to friends on a friends' birthday evening, chatted with my family over the weekend before Christmas, and even connected with colleagues, all by celebrating their virtues. It hasn't been hard - or at least not in the way I thought it would be. I'm fine with praising those I work with and care about - but sitting down with the specific aim of telling them how fantastic they are felt exactly like a loving performance review. I vastly prefer spreading the comments across the working day and making them organic and natural - a sincere 'you're awesome' or 'you're so good at x' felt much more of a connection that sitting across from them and simply telling them, in a way that might not allow a response from the other party.
The experiment has had positives though - it's been nice to actually say things out loud, because sometimes I keep these things to myself, as suddenly announcing someone's strengths can be disconcerting to the other party, and to have that warm, positive response.
In short: I would stick to my own way of being more organic with compliments, but with close friends, I could easily see myself incorporating more effusive blocks of praise, as clinical as that might sound.
Roll on Week 2...