Inner Knowing…Why We Can’t Be Recognition Perfect All Of The Time!

by Sarah McVanel, Chief Recognition Officer, Greatness Magnified

It might surprise you to know that I sometimes struggle with recognition.

When my plane’s been delayed for the fifth time that day, I finally stumble into the house in the middle of the night to a pile of shoes and dishes, and when I have a severe case of the “hangries,” let’s say I am not in the zone to “forever” recognize others’ greatness. I am not the FROG Lady.

I do try. I FROG the flight attendants (it’s not their fault there are delays). I text kind notes to the fam when I’m away (they didn’t choose my transient profession). I smile at the person who serves me that long-awaited meal (they are filling my belly!) Despite that, I sometimes run out of acknowledgement juice. My appreciation energy stockpiles run low when I’m in emotional, cognitive and social overload.

image of Sarah FROGGING a flight attendant Sarah with a flight crew and pilot on the steps of an airplane

Am I a fraud? I used to think so.

Want to know what I think now?

It’s a sign.

When I don’t recognize others (or not as much), it is my cue to get curious. I’ve learned the hard way not to force myself to recognize “more,” “better,” or “differently.” My job in these moments is to get a lay of the land. To wonder why my default settings are off. To notice how my outer behaviours aren’t aligning with who I am.

None of us can be full-on pompom waving, best self, heart emoji, beacons of light in the world all the time (including motivational speakers)! When we pull back, we don’t pull back from others; we pause to reflect on the extraordinary in our ordinary lives.

image of a woman deep in thought with her hands together and eyes closedIf, despite your best intentions, you also show less appreciation to others when you’re tired, overwhelmed, frustrated and compassion fatigued, don’t judge it.

When something that usually feels so natural to you (in my case, recognition) seems like hard work, that is the perfect opportunity to pull back. It is time to listen quietly for the whispers of greatness: “Something’s a little off here, sista; I just wanted to let you know.”

Our natural ability to serve the world will return. We must pause and be unconditionally curious about ourselves to tap into our inner knowing. Isn’t it ironic that when we believe our greatness is present, it will show back up for us?

I have some juicy tidbits here that will help you FROG (even when you might not feel like it.)

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

– Mother Teresa

Deb Rakonjac

Organizational Development, Purolator Inc.

"Sarah nailed it!  She worked with the planning group to learn about the organization, the audience, the desired key messages and integrated it seamlessly into her keynote. Her energy was contagious! We received rave reviews of this portion of our event and Sarah was able to speak to all members of our organization in a way that motivated them to recognize others everyday. Our executives were extraordinarily pleased and integrated FROGging into their recent board meeting. Purolator is grateful to Sarah for dropping the pebble and we continue to see the ripples from this session across the organization. Working with Tami was phenomenal and the supports were easy to integrate to ensure the session went well. Thanks to you both!!"
Douglas D Swift

President & CEO, Swiftco Inc.

"I have had the Sarah experience in numerous settings: As a keynote, around a table with several other business owners, one on one over coffee, chatting with others at a conference reception, dining with a small group of colleagues. No matter the setting you always get the same Sarah: engaging, attentive, interested, inspiring, motivational, genuine. And always with an infectious smile. Do yourself, your company, your association a favour. Get the Greatness Magnified (Sarah) experience. The payback is priceless."
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."

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