The Awkward Art of Acknowledging Oneself

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Do you ever feel like life gets so crazy, busy and hectic and there’s something missing?

Have you ever wondered what your life and all your hard work is all for?
These are questions I hear a lot in my vocation as a coach. One of the themes I hear over and over actually boils down to taking the time acknowledging and celebrating wins.
There is so much demand on our focus, energy and attention to ‘what’s next?’ that we rarely get the opportunity to pause and acknowledge ‘what’s done’. The to-do list is endless, the goals keep moving or keep getting bigger yet our inner reserves and resources are limited and require replenishing.
Drawing from my own experiences, my work in coaching, and having recently completed my Executive Masters in the Neuroscience of Leadership, one of the fastest and most effective ways to refuel your energy reserves is to practice acknowledging and celebrating wins. 
Have you noticed how good it feels to celebrate when a loved one, friend or colleague you care about achieves something meaningful to them? Taking moments to acknowledge and celebrate achievements – big and small – fills our inner pilot light and inspires us to do and be more in alignment with our wins.

What should you be celebrating?

It’s all relative and unique to you and where you’re at in your life. For some, running a marathon is something to be celebrated, whilst for others, scaling a flight of stairs without stopping to take  a breath is an achievement.

Here are some other ideas to get you started:

  • Doing your daily exercise
  • Making quality time for reflection or connection with a loved one
  • Responding to voice messages and emails
  • Taking a lunch break
  • Attending to a matter you’ve been putting off for ages ie. dentist or accountant
  • Ticking an item off your ever growing ‘to do’ list
  • Winning a new client or achieving your targets for the day, week, month, year
  • Remembering to call your mum for her birthday 😉

     …and the list goes on

These might not seem huge things to celebrate, but every now again throwing yourself a pumped fist in the air and roaring the words, “Yeah! I did it!” actually feels good. It’s a signal from your body to your brain to pay attention and to keep doing more of that which created that moment.
I invite you to check out this short video below and share in my ‘way out of comfort zone’ experience of acknowledging and sharing my wins with YOU. Then, read my tips for self-acknowledgement further down the page. 

Why acknowledging ourselves is so important

Science now confirms that we become what we repeatedly do. Why not reinforce the ‘good’ in your world? Acknowledgement also leads to gratitude (a chapter I feature in my newly published book, ENLIVEN-U) and gratitude leads to a happy life.

When you start paying attention to who you are, what you are already doing, what you have commenced, what you have stopped doing, what you have, what you’ve completed, who you are becoming,… all of a sudden, you are ‘enough’ and your life is ‘enough’. How awesome would that be?!

Some ideas on how to acknowledge yourself

  • Journal daily about one positive thing that happened to you that day. It doesn’t have to be very detailed – short and sweet is fine! 
  • List three things you are grateful for each day – place this list on your fridge or ensuite mirror. Try for non-material things. Do this often so you have a constant stream of gratitude in a highly visible area! 
  • Write down 5 things that you said you were going to do this year that you’ve gained traction on. Acknowledge the journey thus far. Record some of the adversities or obstacles you’ve overcome to achieve what you have thus far and what you have learned as a result.
  • Schedule a 15 minute block in your diary each week where you sit down and reflect on what’s happened and what you’ve achieved that week. You may like to put aside another 10 minutes for mindfulness meditation at the same time to help embed some of those positive new habits you’re building! 😉 
  • Pair up with an acknowledgement buddy! Set aside 3-5 mins each to share your achievements on a regular basis. Better yet: structure this into existing regular catch ups with your friends or loved ones and watch how it shifts the energy and conversation! 

Final thoughts

Your uniqueness is your gift to the world! That is worth celebrating. YOU are worth celebrating and savouring – even if you don’t think so.

Try it and let me know how you go.

Here’s to YOU. I celebrate and acknowledge the unique gift you are in my world. And I thank you for being uniquely YOU!

With love,

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  • Russell Pietsch says:

    Real appreciation of self is truly a gift – of which our culture/society seems mostly unappreciative, usually discouraging it in so many cultural & religious practices in so many forms.

  • Greg Nathan says:

    What a lovely video! Thanks Josie for your significant contribution to our business network and for the wonderful work you do. Our clients still comment on that great talk you gave at our conference.

  • Georgina Rowe says:

    Hi Josie, a great idea to celebrate our successes especially when working for oneself as it is so easy not. Was thinking that we are often told to keep the ego in check, so maybe some feel that giving themselves a pat on the back is a bad thing. I am wondering if you could provide some insight to your readings about that.
    Re the write down three things you are grateful for each day. I say my prayers every night (a childhood habit) when I thank God for a number of things. Only recently realised this was a gratitude reflection which is probably why I have such lovely family and friends, because I am always grateful for them. However, I want to challenge the approach to writing three things down every day just because one is told to. I did it for a while and found it difficult and in some ways meaningless, a bit like filling out a template for work because the headings are there but the content means nothing. Yes we do need to be grateful and give thanks but maybe once a week with meaning would be more beneficial. Also techniques to capture gratitude may be helpful to some, eg What’s the best thing that happened to you this week. What did you learn this week. Whose company did you enjoy? What did you finish that was difficult for you to do?

    • Great points you make there Georgina. Something that assists in keeping the go in check is to be mindful of the intent beneath any thought, words or actions around self acknowledgement. If one’s intention is to prove one’s self as better than, bigger than, smarter than….another, then yes, that would be ‘big noting’ in an attempt to prove rather than improve yourself. Recent research by Dr Carole Dweck sheds light on the constructs of fixed versus growth mindsets. I would highly recommend her new book to you entitled: Mindset – How you can fulfil your potential. Patting ourselves on the back is a way of refueling and replenishing our energy reserves so that we may have more of our ‘best self’ to give to others. It’s an act for personal enrichment and self enabling rather than to gain attention of others. I hope this helps.