It’s Not a Big Deal … Or Is It?

Blog 20-07-28 Hit Pause Photo

After 4 ½ months of sheltering in place in another state, my parents declared “it’s family time.” On the second day of their visit, my mom handed me a printout. I had only spoken two words when my dad said, “You don’t need to read that aloud. It’s not a biggie.” (The latter being a favorite phrase of his whenever he was publicly acknowledged.)

I had begun to read the recent announcement of my father’s induction into the Coast Guard Aviation Association’s Hall of Honor, citing his “outstanding contributions through his superior performance having a lasting positive impact in the technical development of Coast Guard Aviation.” My dad, Vice Admiral Howard B. Thorsen, has been retired for 29 years and has never stopped contributing to his beloved military branch.

As you may know, a common trait of high performers is to minimize or dismiss their own successes, either because they are busy moving on to the next great challenge or are simply too humble. Why does it seem so much easier for us to share our struggles than our successes?

There is significant value in reflecting on one’s progress, whether it is done publicly or privately. For example, celebrating publicly provides an opportunity to acknowledge all who contributed to the success. Celebrating privately enables individuals to acknowledge their success as well as learn from the experience.

When LAITHOS works with clients, each time we’re together we ask how their leadership in showing up brilliantly in work and life. We encourage them to acknowledge what they’ve done, how they’ve shown up, and what they’re noticing. It is a big deal to take this time to reflect – as a result, they increase awareness of their impact and how they are growing.

So, knowing my dad is a subscriber to our blogs: Dad, I’m so proud to be a witness of your many leadership accomplishments and the impact you have had during your career and throughout “retirement”. And, while I know you will attribute your successes to being married to Marlyn Thorsen (aka Mom), please take a well-earned bow.

This Week: Take a pause each day this week and write down at least 1 thing that you want to acknowledge about what you accomplished, how you showed up and/or what you learned about yourself. What you’re celebrating doesn’t have to be award-winning; it can be as simple as a new habit or even a project you are working on. You can choose to share this with others or keep it to yourself. Either way, the most important thing is to do it. After this week is up, I challenge you to make it a weekly practice. If you do, it will serve you and your leadership for the rest of your life.

In Next Week’s Post: Breaking through groupthink

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  1. Mike Edwards on July 29, 2020 at 8:00 am

    Wow, that’s so cool that your Dad is being recognized like that! Congratulations! Great post and certainly an important message to celebrate and acknowledge all the ways we’re succeeding every day!

  2. Joy on July 31, 2020 at 10:48 am

    During the pandemic, I have felt like I am moving in slow motion and not accomplishing anything. Thanks for the reminder to acknowledge accomplishments and to broaden my definition of what equals an accomplishment these days.

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