Please note, I’m not suggesting the sort of blanket praise for doing one’s work on par with participation ribbons or trophies for all who simply do their jobs. The Olympics doesn’t award medals in that fashion, and neither should we. Good work deserves acknowledgement and appreciation, exceptional work deserves recognition.
This might seem like an odd question, but I promise I’m going somewhere with it. I’ve been in a funk the last few days, for any number of reasons. But one is admittedly a struggle with the near breakneck pace of our programming schedule and, more importantly, the effect it’s having on our students. We flirt with a pace that is at times bordering on unsustainable, and in a manner that at times threatens our ability to effectively help them process it all. I worry that they’re working and not learning, as I would hope they would be. After a few days of letting that conflict of ideals get me down, a talk with Dad gave me some perspective.
One saying that I’ve been trying to incorporate into my daily life is “Bloom where you’re planted.” Are you always going to love your job? No. Should you be despondent when you don’t? No. Instead focus on what you can do within your values system and power to do what works for you.
And then I thought of Michael Phelps, now officially the most decorated Olympian in the history of the Games. One could argue that the potential for medals is higher in a field like swimming than it is in most other sports. And one could also argue that the manner in which he’s winning medals is different from how he’s done so previously. Arguments have been made for both of those. But at the end of the day, he’s doing something amazing, and his work is being recognized by those in the position to do so- namely, the International Olympic Committee. The key point here is recognition, a major point of the Olympics. It is a display of international sportsmanship, and the opportunity to showcase talents on the world stage. But it is also the pinnacle of athletic achievement, with a revered symbol of recognition to match.
(And to his credit, some of his most visible jubilation has come with his victory in team events. Have you ever been that excited for your own team?)
So I ask you- how is the IOC of your office operating? Are you cognizant of medal worthy moments? And if something amazing, exceptional, even at times superhuman (like Phelps’ accomplishments sometimes seem), happens in your office, who is dragging out the podium for your staff?
It doesn’t have to be something with the pomp and circumstance of a medal ceremony, or even as public as playing the national anthem from your computer when something good comes up. It could be as simple as saying thank you at the end of an email or meeting, as private as leaving someone a note or treat on their desk. But I’m of the belief that if you let people know that you see the good work that they do, and that you appreciate it? They’ll want to go for the gold for you.