I’ve got a folder in my office of compliments that I’ve received over the years here at work. Is it okay to admit this? I don’t know. But I figure, if someone has taken the time to write and send me a nice note, it’s worth keeping.
I guess I’m not the only one who’s ever wondered about this. Do you remember the Seinfeld episode in which Jerry threw out a greeting card he received from a girlfriend, and how offended she was when she saw it in his garbage can?
Every now and then I’ll take the folder out and flip through it. It’s very uplifting. It’s also humbling, and cause for reflection. Am I continuing to live up to the standard I had that generated the compliment? Am I consistent in my efforts?
To have such a compilation of kudos concentrated all in once place and to read through it, can be dangerous, too. Does it reinforce an egotistical belief that I’m one heckuva terrific person? I fear that. I can tell you that, more often than not, reading through it actually jogs my memory of the times I’ve failed someone. And that reminds me that every kind note in the folder was a recognition that, for that particular time, I got it right.
I do have to admit that the folder makes me happy. And grateful. And that spurs me on to continue to do my very best; to persevere. Not because I want, more compliments (even though maybe I do want them, they’re not the reason for doing well). Rather, knowing that excelling in my daily living can please or encourage or help another person enough for them to take the time to write me and encourage me back – well, that’s a powerful impetus to doing well.
I also admit I want to make a difference. A good difference. Who doesn’t? It all comes down to motive, doesn’t it? If we do good to get the recognition for it and we get it, that’s okay, but the transaction ends there. But, if we do good because it’s right to do good, the goodness that comes back to us is unexpected and all the more sweet. And if we get nothing in return for doing good except the personal satisfaction of doing what we know to be right, then that’s okay because we weren’t looking for outside recompense. And that’s why my accolades file, as I like to call it, is so sweet. Because I never saw them coming.