Recognizing Those we Love Most

How does your family take a step back to reflect on and acknowledge each other’s greatness? We know you do it. You share those things you are proud of, big and small, with your colleagues, neighbours or friends. If you’re into social media, you probably post it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Let’s see if we can elevate the recognition happening with those we love most!


  • In what ways to you share the great things you notice in your family members with them personally and in the moment?
  • Thinking of the last accomplishment you shared with others (in conversation or social media), how much of it did you share with the recipient of that praise?
  • Do compliments get absorbed and are cherished, or shirked off? How does your family help to ensure compliments land and get absorbed?
  • In what ways is recognition of greatness ritualized in your family? On a scale of 10 to 1, with 10 completely satisfied and 1 the opposite of that, where are you at? Where do you want that to be? What is one thing that could be tried to get one step closer?
  • How can you be part of a loved one’s story of the greatest compliment they ever received? What is the most powerful compliment you could give him or her that would connect deeply and meaningfully with them at a time they need it most?


What is one thing you would like to try based on this reflection? How will you know it has made the impact you are hoping it will have? How will you celebrate it when it does?

And Finally, a Story…

recognizing-those-we-love-mostWe lost my Auntie Sue, my dad’s only sister, on Remembrance Day last year (2014) at 60 after a hard fight with cancer. She, right until the end, made enough space in her heart, mind and day for all of us, sending thoughtful emails, arranging the next family gathering, or inquiring about how the kids were doing. She was truly an incredible person, and I am so thankful that cancer did not take that from her.

I feared when we lost Sue it would be too painful for my Uncle Pete and Cousin Jennifer to see us very much, however I should have known better. Sue, through her unwavering commitment to her whole family right until the end, role modeled for us that we need to make the time. In fact, I think we’ve never been better about getting together and sharing kind words in between, ensuring that we all know we’re thinking about each other even when we’re not together.

A month or so ago, after a delicious albeit eclectic potluck lunch, I was listening to my family’s fun banter, and felt this warm glow building. I couldn’t help smiling as my Uncle and Cousin animatedly joined in, and reflected on how unbelievably well they had managed to balance their important commitments (my uncle at leading a team at IBM and my cousin finishing her Masters of Architecture at the University of Waterloo) while also always being at my Aunt’s side for anything she needed.

Spontaneously, I grabbed a handful of FROG charms. I first handed one to my uncle, telling him exactly the greatness I saw in him. Others joined in right away. With tears in his eyes, he graciously accepted it, and smiled on as I acknowledged my cousin next. We continued, sharing the greatness we noticed in each person sequentially. We all relished in the opportunity to recognize my Aunt too for her multitude of dimensions of greatness.

What perhaps touched me the most was to receive a picture from my cousin a few weeks after of a shadowboxed frame containing the FROG charms my uncle, aunt, cousin and cousin’s boyfriend received that day. There they were as a beautiful symbol of the act of recognizing each other’s greatness at a time when we are still healing. Giving each other the gifts of genuine compliments seemed to help our hurting hearts on that day, and every time we look at the FROGs thereafter.

I know we would share what we cherished in each other when my aunt was still alive, and I sincerely hope that my aunt knew just how much we loved her and exactly why. She has earned every one of our tears…I choose to see each one is a testament to her greatness and how it lives on.

“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."

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