Spill the Truth: The Trouble with Praise

Spill the Truth: The Trouble with Praise

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Several years ago, I went from being the hottest ticket in a billion-dollar company to the last person anyone wanted to talk to. And it happened in just two weeks.

Trust me, praise can make you feel like you’re on top of the world. Invincible. As if everything you touch turns to gold. But then a good old-fashioned shunning makes you want to crawl under your George Costanza desk with a pillow and a blankie.

It can seem impossible to rebound when you go from king-size status to teeny tiny ant.

The trick is to know how to deliver bad news … to yourself.

For starters, the principles of honesty, consideration and objectivity apply whether you’re telling someone else they’ve messed up or for those times when you have to face your own mistakes.

Here are a few other key techniques to practice when praise turns to poison:

  • Speak the truth. You are talented, capable and important, even if it doesn’t feel like it. So, keep a balanced perspective about what is true and what isn’t. Consider both the good and the not-so-good things. Did you forge ahead without proper preparation or let someone convince you to ignore values? A truthful yet rational evaluation always leads to happier times and more success.
  • Be kind to yourself. A harsh, critical attitude never lifts anyone out of the dumps. Always use positive or neutral words about yourself and your contributions. For example, rather than say, “Man, I really screwed this one up with my big fat ego,” say, “I let my ego get the best of me. But I know how to keep that from happening again.”
  • Remember that there are two sides to every story. Somebody else’s bad day, lack of sleep or personality defects can have a lot to do with their opinion of you. And that, my friends, is something you have absolutely no control over. But there’s always your side of the story . . . and you get to write the ending.

Before you act . . .
Don’t wait for a catastrophe to happen. The next time you’re on cloud nine, mentally capture the moment so you remember how it feels. Start a collection of inspirational thoughts to draw strength from if life takes a turn for the worse. Take advantage of good times to build up a reserve of positive energy.

Have you ever found yourself on the receiving end of disapproval? What’s your trick for coping with those moments? Comment below.

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