Nineteen years ago I came home from a business trip, gave my husband Bill a huge hug and kiss, and immediately tiptoed into each of the kids’ bedrooms for goodnight hugs and kisses.
After all the loving, I went back to my hubbie and said, “You really got a lot done. Seems like the kids did their homework, dinner is cleaned up, and everything looks great. Too bad you don’t do that when I am home.”
I got a well-deserved dirty look because I gave what I often refer to as a “boomerang compliment.” A boomerang compliment is tricky. It seems like a compliment, but it’s really not. It starts off like it’s going in the right direction, but then it comes back and hits you smack in the face.
Here are some more examples of boomerangs:
“The sales presentation went well. I only wish you had used it with the Gordon group. Maybe then we wouldn’t have lost the sale.”
“I like the new filing system. It would have been even better if you had put it in place when I first asked you to do so.”
“Thanks for taking out the trash. Maybe you won’t need to be told 5 times next week.”
While you may mean well, a boomerang compliment has the opposite effect from making someone feel good. Give your compliment and STOP. You will both be glad you did!
Last week, in celebration of July 4th, I posted a blog about a sign I see each day when I go for a walk that says, “We Will Get Through This Together!” It makes me think that we really are all in this together, since none of us want our friends and neighbors to get sick, or worse. I posed the question, “We all want what is best for all of us, don’t we?” I also encouraged my readers to consider the many values, beliefs, and hopes that we have which unite us as a nation and as a community.
I received several of the most respectful and polite emails asking, “Are we really in this together?” One reader said, “I feel like white collar professionals are working from their summer homes, overlooking their pools and large yards in posh neighborhoods, while other workers — including health care workers, service providers, and restaurant employees — are risking their lives and their families’ lives in order to pay their bills and save their jobs. In some cases, they have to leave children at home alone or make other very difficult and stressful decisions.”
I agree, and the best analogy I have heard, you may have heard too. It comes from Damian Barr. “We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm. Some are on super-yachts. Some have just the one oar.”
Even with the lack of fairness during this pandemic, I know one thing remains true: we must find hope. In your family, when things are going awry, find hope. In your organizations, notice what is going right and find hope.
As leaders, it’s important to acknowledge the bad, but then unite others in finding the good, finding the hope, and working toward solutions.
Please share the hope and gratitude you are noticing in your own life right now.
Each day when I go for my walk, I see this sign:
It makes me stop and think, “We really are all in this together, aren’t we?” None of us want our friends and neighbors to get sick, or worse, to die. We all want what is best for all of us, don’t we?
I encourage you on this Fourth of July to consider the many values, beliefs, and hopes that we have which unite us as a nation and as a community.
We are indeed, all in this together. Happy Fourth of July!