Happy Mondays Series – Praise Yourself

Every Monday for the next 10 weeks we will be sharing some of Alexander Kjerulf’s tips from his book 52 Happy Mondays that will inspire you to make your Monday happier as well. This week, we will be sharing tips from weeks 28 regarding the importance of remembering to praise yourself for your accomplishments.

Week 28: Self-praise

Are you allowed to praise yourself at work? Are you allowed to take the floor at a meeting and say, “See what I’ve done – it was amazing”? Are you allowed to send an email to your departmental colleagues about a difficult problem which you cleverly solved? Are you allowed to talk about a project which you complete on time and under budget over the lunch table?

We generally have a problem with this kind of behaviour and often set up barriers, but if you ask me, it’s completely okay that you think you are good at your job AND that you say it loud and proud. For example, if a presentation I held for one of our clients went well (which it often does), I tell my colleagues about it when I’m back at the office. Sometimes, I write about it on Facebook and Twitter. Here’s an example of one of my status updates from 2011:

Have just held my 5th presentation this week with my 4th standing ovation. MAN I’m good!

Alexander Kjerulf Quote- Happiness at Work

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Is that too much? Maybe for some. So, find another way to praise yourself this week – either by yourself or with others.

Self-praise can be overblown and annoying, so here are 8 good tips for praising yourself in front of others:

  1. Only praise yourself when you have deserved it. Like all praise, self-praise should be well-deserved. You should only praise yourself when you have done something amazing, otherwise it’s completely pointless.
  2. Share praise generously. Remember others in your praise if you have done something with them. It isn’t “I am fantastic”, it’s “We are fantastic”.
  3. Praise others too. It’s no use that you only praise yourself when you do well and never acknowledge others. A requirement for all self-praisers is that we are also good at praising others when it’s deserved.
  4. Admit your mistakes. If you are good at praising yourself when you do well, make sure that you also admit and apologise when you make mistakes. If you choose to focus on the good things, whilst failing to see your own mistakes and short-comings you will soon be met with scorn and be despised at the office.
  5. Praise yourself with real enthusiasm. When you are praising yourself make sure to do so with real infectious enthusiasm. It’s okay to be proud of yourself. It’s okay to have a smile on your face, to hold you head up high and tell everyone enthusiastically how great you are. It will actually be received more positively if you are genuinely enthusiastic instead of faking modesty.
  6. Everything in moderation. That explains itself. Everything can be exaggerated – don’t overdo praise.
  7. Practice self-praise. Practice makes perfect. It’s banal but true, so try and see what works for you.
  8. Be prepared to face distrust. You could be subject to criticism and distrust as we are generally unaccustomed to self-praise. Consider if the criticism means that you have gone too far with self-praise – in which case, you should listen. But remember that it can also just be jantelov and old habits – in which case you should continue undaunted.

Here is one thing, which you should be aware of: if you’re already confident about your talents and are proud of your performance at work, then you are not as dependent on praise as others. As Spencer Tracy said:

“It’s up to us to acknowledge ourselves. If we wait for it to come from others we feel insulted when it doesn’t come and when it does come we often end up rejecting it”

Or as one of my ex-girlfriends used to say:

“Self-praise is good praise”

Translation by Synamon Mills

Cover_HappyHour_high-res_smallHappy Hour is 9 to 5

by Alexander Kjerulf

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Alexander Kjerulf
7 Jul 2014

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