Business leaders don’t often take the time to reflect. They are trained to focus on problems and issues. Taking time for appreciative reflection can be difficult—especially appreciating themselves.
In many cultures and educational systems, people are told that if they feel too good about themselves, they become overbearing and arrogant. Some cultures advocate self-effacement and self-criticism. Of course everyone wants to do better or to handle each situation elegantly. When outcomes don’t match expectations, we become judgmental. But judging and criticizing alone do not help people improve. Criticism that is not balanced with appreciation erodes confidence and trust.
If a leader or a group aims to function at a high level as often as possible, it is important to appreciate strengths and inborn qualities. When people are aware of how they function at their best, they can move beyond simple satisfaction with a job well done to continually building on success.
Appreciate your best self
For five or ten minutes every evening, before bed, think of all that happened that day. Allow yourself to reflect on your professional and personal life and feel appreciation—for your network of relationships, your intelligence, for things that are going well at work, for who you are as a human being, and much more. Appreciate in yourself the same things you appreciate in others:
- What you do well, the energy and intelligence you bring to each situation.
- How hard you work, with appreciation for good health that makes this possible.
- How much you care and who you are, how being yourself contributes to your organization and your community.