How might Acknowledgement be a tool for someone in transition?

What does it mean to acknowledge someone?

When someone is positively recognized for a specific action they have taken, or for a specific way of being that they have demonstrated, more of “that” is created. The recipient of the acknowledgement, recognizes for him/herself that whatever was acknowledged is a good thing, and usually decides to do or be “more” of that.

I just realized why I love languages. It’s because I can better understand a word in one language by translating it literally in another. It gives me a different perspective, for example, “to acknowledge” in Spanish, means “reconocer” which literally means to know someone again. It also means “to recognize”. When you acknowledge someone, you recognize something in that person that he or she may or may not recognize in him or herself. So, when you acknowledge someone, you are creating something in that person, newly. Maybe the person knew it, but the recognition of the behavior has him or her want to do or be more of it”.

Recognition causes more of what is being recognized. It is an act of creation. Here is an example: I say to my friend, Mary, “Mary, I would like to acknowledge you for your sense of humor as well as your ability to make others laugh. You lighten everyone up and you raise the vibration or the energy up to a higher level.”

Mary thinks about this, and really “gets” that it is a gift/talent/skill that is an asset in her life. Now she consciously uses it for good.

This is very different from a compliment like, “That’s funny”. It doesn’t create anything. The recipient may or may not use it for good in the future. A compliment says, I like your shirt. It looks good on you.

An acknowledgment might be: “You know Jane, you have a great ability to put clothes together in such a way they look coordinated, and very professional”. “You always look like you honor yourself and others by how you dress.” Now this person, Jane, begins to consciously dress in a manner that tells others she loves herself, and how the way she dresses affects other people. It is now no longer an ego thing or just about “looking good”. Jane recognizes in herself that the way she dresses actually does have an impact upon others. It honors the person who looks at her. It is like she is saying she cares enough for herself and for others to be mindful of how she looks.

An example of a powerful tool for a person in transition might be the following example: Jane is leaving her job, and she doesn’t like her boss, John. Before leaving, she says, “John, I would like to acknowledge you for your ability to manage the details of this operation. It takes a lot to know what is going on in all areas of the operation.” He is pleasantly surprised by her comment,
and he has a better feeling about her. She can leave with no hard feelings, no emotional charge. This is an amazing tool for people who are in transition. Whether they are leaving a marriage, a relationship of any kind, a job, or a physical location, when there is no emotional charge, when both parties feel completely finished with the relationship such that there are no hard feelings, they can feel complete in the sense that “the book” is closed or “that chapter” of their life is over. When they can begin the next one, having acknowledged the good in the one they are completing,, they can more readily move on, ready for the next chapter in their life with enthusiasm and positive hard feelings.

Inside the act of acknowledgment, space is created for new or different ways of being or doing to show up…

Making a difference

I just read a great book–Making a Difference by Captain Sully Sullenberger who landed the jet on the Hudson River a few years back. It is about various leaders in this country. I would like to share what he put in the back of the book, on page 311, as it concurs with many of my points of view and approaches to Life Coaching. He calls this list, the “Core Qualities of Leadership”:

  • Well-defined core values
  • Willingness to lead by example
  • Courage to make decisions and act upon them
  • Continuous self-improvement and learning
  • Respect for others
  • Realistic optimism
  • Congruency of words and actions
  • Mentoring rather than disciplining
  • Maintaining a long-term perspective
  • Nurturing other leaders
  • Working for the greater good
  • Having clear priorities and focusing on what is important
  • Ability to learn from failures and move on
  • Trust in their own judgment but willingness to listen to others
  • Setting high expectations and striving to meet them
  • Creating an environment in which everyone can do their best work
  • Creating a culture of trust and cooperation
  • Creating a shared sense of responsibility for the outcome
  • Ensuring everyone in the organization experiences their own success and knows that their work matters

In my sessions with a client, we begin with locating and naming one’s core values. Whether you are a grandmother who cares for children or a student seeking direction, it is helpful to verbalize your core values. You may not really be aware of them until you have a discussion or dialogue about them. Sometimes speaking them is powerful. It does not matter whether you are leading a major corporation or creating the home environment. Everyone is a leader of one’s own life.

Ponder this…

I have been seeing the word “CODE” a lot.  When I see the same word many times, I wonder what the message is.

In a new book, THE HEALING CODE by Alexander Loyd, PHD, ND with Ben Johnson, MD,DO,NMD, they talk about 3 things…

  • Thing #1…there is one thing on planet earth that can heal just about any problem in your life.
  • Thing #2… there is one thing that will turn off thing #1
  • Thing #3… there is one thing on planet earth that will turn thing # 1 back on.

Another relatively new book by Debbie Ford, entitled Courage: Overcoming Fear and Igniting Self-Confidence.  In this book, she has several chapters entitled: The Code of ….:  Divine Guidance, Surrender, Emotional Freedom, Heartfelt Compassion, a Loving Heart, Inspired Vision, Supreme Beauty.”  All of these chapters begin with the word, Code.

What is this thing about Codes????? It reminds me of being terrified in 7th grade that I would not remember my locker combination.

So I looked up the word code in Wikipedia.  This is what it said:

A code is a rule for converting a piece of information (for example, a letter, word, phrase, or gesture) into another form.

Well, that is what TRANSFORMATION is really all about.

Change is like moving a piece of furniture, a chair, for example, from one place to another.  It is the same piece of furniture.

Transformation is about one thing becoming another thing.  For example, the chair becomes a sofa.  Transformation is about conversion from one form to another form.

I love assisting others to transform…not just to change.


This is Transformation!

Many years ago, as Jim Fay and Foster W. Cline, M.D were promoting the book, “Discipline with Love and Logic,” I was desperate to get control of my inner-city classroom of third graders.  Jim Fay told me something like this: “Do not praise these students, instead, say something like I noticed that you were …” for example, let’s say that Johnny loaned Jane a pencil, I might say, “I noticed that you were kind to Jane and that you let her borrow your eraser.”

I never really understood this concept until a few hours ago while I was reading a book by Augusten Burroughs. From his book, “This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike,” in the chapters “How to Feel Like Shit,” and “How to ride an Elevator,” he points out that our society has an unspoken zero tolerance for negativity. While reading this book, I realized that if a person’s core belief, that is to say, the part of them that is “who I know myself to be”–has a powerful knowingness that “I am really a piece of shit,” then no amount of praising, nor pointing out positive attributes, nor using positive affirmations will make a difference. I think that Jim Fay was saying that by having his or her positive attributes and ways of beings acknowledged, the student can begin to acquire personal experiences which create a positive self-worth or self-esteem. The student him/herself begins to create a belief system that they do, indeed, have value.

Recently, while working with clients, I have recognized the same unconscious mechanism operating with all people in different areas or arenas of their lives. These are the blind spots-the areas where they do not know that they don’t know. When I heard someone say, “That is your point of view. That is just you being right that you are wrong,” I began to understand what Jim Fay was talking about. If, at your core, you have an unconscious point of view or belief system that defines who you are, then you have to first uncover it, and then work to take new actions that will cause you to see yourself, as well as, cause others to see you as your new created way of being. This is Transformation!