Greatness Beyond the Strain: Self Compassion and Recognition in Our Stressful Times

fight to recognize the greatness“You literally can’t sustain it,” Paula Allen, head of research and well-being at LifeWorks, said in an interview. “You don’t want to deal with this anymore. You can’t. You’re exhausted. You fight and you fight and you fight, and then you fly.”

Read more about this concerning, and frankly confirming, article by Globe and Mail journalist Tim Kiladze, “Your Boss Secretly Wants to Quit: Business Leaders Can’t Take COVID-19 Work-Life Anymore” (Not the most solution-focused and recognition-rich title, however, got my attention…)

After reading this, I believe all the more that we need to recognize the greatness in our staff and leaders now more than ever before.

Recognize the Greatness – Recognition is a key insulator against stress, strain and burnout.

a medal for meritorious servicePeople NEED to know their efforts are not for nothing.
People NEED to feel someone is listening and paying attention.
People NEED to believe they will be asked for ideas and solutions.
People NEED to have options beyond an EAP brochure.
People NEED to hear specifically what they are doing well.

Your ability to recognize and see greatness, even when people are not at their best, will buy you time with your talent. They know they’re not at their best when stressed, so you need to hold the faith for them to keep them from flying (quitting or retiring) or crashing (mental and physical health leaves).

Greatness Magnified Cool Stuff Logo

Keep the recognition going!

Imagine what kind of team or organization you can grow through an intentional focus on recognizing any small glimmers of greatness that exists – within yourself and others. Recognition is the single easiest, fastest, cheapest and most useful strategy we have in our work toolkit. If it’s gone a bit rusty, there’s no time to waste in pulling it out effective, well, NOW! (And as always, we have juicy free resources to help you do just that – our “Cool Stuff” has an abundance of juicy tools for you and your team.)

And, as always, recognition starts and ends with you. If you strain to see and recognize your own greatness, it’s pretty darn hard to see and sustainably recognize it in others.

Recognize you with self-compassion!

Remember, you’re doing the best YOU can, and sure, maybe it’s not as good as two years ago or when you first got your promotion or when you worked for boss X on project Y. Try not to compare yourself now to the highest ideal of when you did your very best. This is not the time to compete with your own best performance.

a woman hugging herself and finding her greatnessNow is the time to layer on a generous dose of self-compassion. To catch yourself when you’re “not enoughing” and consider you’re doing pretty darn amazing given the circumstances you’re working and living in. When you catch yourself in cycles of self-doubt and not enough and what-ifs and I-can’t-and-I-don’t-know-if-I-can-do-this-why-would-anyone-follow-me-anyway, remember, it’s more your circumstance than it is you and therefore, you deserve some self-acknowledgment for doing as well as you have.

Tag fellow cultural crusaders, talent torchbearers, and recognition rockstars. Let’s stand for each others’ greatness.

To add more recognition utensils to your tool kit, visit the links below:

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

– Mother Teresa

Judy Kucharuk

Director, Marketing and Special Events, Encana Events Centre

"Funny, full of energy and incredibly motivating – all words to use when describing Sarah and her passionate stage presence. We were fortunate to have Sarah join us as a speaker for Spark Women’s Leadership Conferences and her presentations about leveraging greatness hit the core of our objective at SPARK: “A rising tide lifts all boats”. I would not hesitate to recommend Sarah to other organizations that are searching for a well-prepared, well-organized, thoughtful and passionate storyteller."
Shelley VanVeen

Learning & Development Manager, Libro Credit Union

"Sarah brought so much energy and enthusiasm to our International Women’s Day event at Libro! Her message was uplifting, thought-provoking and truly appreciated by our team. Dealing with Sarah was wonderful – she was open, professional and willing to work with us to customize her message to incorporate our culture and connect to our topic and participants. During the session, she was a pro with a powerful message and a fantastic delivery. We had wonderful feedback from all that attended and can’t wait to have Sarah back for another session in the future!"
Sylvia D’Intino

Executive Director, Community Living Hamilton

"THANK YOU so very much for leading the engagement activities today! You’re a constant professional, with an amazing attitude and always seeing the great in everyone. I am grateful for how you have helped us this year to transform our in-person staff recognition events into virtual and on-location events. Our staff feel more inspired, appreciated and motivated after they hear you speak, and I know our amazing in-house team here looks forward to designing engaging appreciation events with your support."
Melissa Chaulk

Manager of Professional Development

Canadian Dental Hygienists Association

"We work hard at CDHA to give our members a wonderful conference experience, so we were thrilled to have received resoundingly positive feedback on Sarah's opening plenary keynote. It was the highest attended of the entire conference for both dates!"
Jamie Campbell

Director, The Center for People in Organizational Development, Sheridan College

"Smart, challenging, innovative, committed, dependable, and reliable, I highly recommend her for all your recognition needs. I have brought Sarah into my last two organizations to help build a culture of recognition and celebration. The focus on appreciation is more important now than ever."

Some of the Great Organizations We Serve