Do you live in a world of positive reinforcement or negative feedback? Sometimes it is not as obvious as we think to recognize when we are being negative, or more importantly, not being supportive. I was working with a client last week and this individual is terrific. She does all the right things—most of the time. She is energetic and collaborative. But sometimes, she herself and others focus on the wrong situations or outcomes.
In this case, her boss identified something she had missed in an agreement—not a big thing—but missed all the same. She was pretty critical of herself for having missed this—as was her boss. As we were talking, I shared the following story and thought I would share it with you now.
One day, a teacher wrote the following on the blackboard (notice that I just aged myself):
9 X 1 = 7
9 X 2 = 18
9 X 3 = 27
9 X 4 = 36
9 X 5 = 45
9 X 6 = 54
9 X 7 = 63
9 X 8 = 72
9 X 9 = 81
9 X 10 = 90
When she was finished, she looked to the students who were all laughing because she had gotten the first equation wrong. Then the teacher said, “I wrote the first one wrong on purpose, because I wanted you to learn something important. I want you to know how the world will treat you.
“You can see that I wrote the RIGHT thing nine times, but none of you congratulated me for it. Instead, you laughed and criticized me because of the one thing I did wrong.
The lesson I want you to learn is that the world will never appreciate the good you do a million times. But it will criticize you for the one wrong thing you do. Don’t get discouraged. Always rise above the laughter and criticism. Stay strong and continue to do all that you do so well, even if no one notices.”
My client smiled and went right back to her work. I told you she was amazing!
This is truly something we should all remember. Remember the other nine times and don’t just focus on the one thing that was wrong!
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