by Faith Monson
Do you remember how good it felt to get a gold star on your paper when you were a kid?
A gold star told you that you did something really good. But as we grow up, our society places less emphasis on positive messages, and often overdoes it on negative news. It’s hard to keep your chin up when you don’t feel acknowledged when you have a win.
That’s why I give my clients verbal gold stars when they score a victory or take a big step toward their dreams.
What happens when someone gets a gold star? Often, I see an immediate physical change. He or she sits a little straighter, lifts the head a little higher, and breathes a little easier. I might see a smile instead of a frown or a worried expression. There’s a new light in the eyes that recognizes the person-to-person bond formed by acknowledgement.
Most importantly, a little acknowledgement goes a long way toward encouraging someone to keep on making positive changes. Reinventing yourself can be a thankless task, and it can take a while to see results. Having someone you trust acknowledge the struggle can give you the juice you need to get back in the fight and go a few more rounds. And that can make all the difference.
So the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, stop for a moment and list the things you’ve done right, the effort you’ve made, the changes you’re making. Then give yourself a big gold star and bask for a moment in the acknowledgement that you’ve come a long way. Turn off the inner voice that skips over small victories and pushes you on to the next thing, and just enjoy a moment of savoring what’s gone right. Try it and see—there’s magic in those gold stars!