How Well Do You Receive Praise?

At a meeting this afternoon, the team leader deflected my compliments. “That’s not what I was asking for,” she protested.

A woman at a networking meeting last night brushed another woman’s praise. “We all did it together,” she demurred.

“I loved your book,” a colleague told me on the phone this morning. “How does it feel to be getting the reviews back in? Your book was wonderful!”

“Well, I guess they haven’t really sunk in,” I admitted reluctantly.

But why the heck haven’t they? Why don’t we—especially women—really accept and receive praise?

It’s not like people dole out compliments willy-nilly. Yes, sometimes people say things to be nice. But, frankly, I don’t. And most of the people I know don’t either. And we can always tell the difference between insincere flattery and true compliments.

Somehow, receiving praise can feel like a risk. But it isn’t.

Receiving praise is as important as giving it.

Yes, read that again.

Receiving praise is as important as giving it.

Receiving compliments for a job well done, for an act of kindness, for going the extra mile is a good thing! It helps reinforce our self-worth, and it sets us up to receive other things.

We’re often afraid that compliments will give us a “big head” or make us narcissistic or egotistical. That’s the risk. And, of course, that can happen. But it usually doesn’t happen to well-grounded, balanced, kind people.

We should take pride in our work, in our accomplishments.

We should receive praise with an open heart.

Because when we open our hearts to receive praise, we also open our hearts to give it. Just like when we open our hearts to receive love, we are also opening our hearts to receive it.

At a retreat I attended some time ago, we did an exercise where we told each other what we appreciated about the others in the group. One at a time. After each, compliment. We had to pause, really take the appreciation in, and say “I receive that.” No saying thank you. No complimenting the other person back. Just receiving it. It was amazing how hard that was for most of us.

But we deserve to receive compliments and praise. They nourish us. They reinforce us. They help us grow.

So, I’m going to “receive” the positive reviews that I got from early readers of my book. I’m going to cherish and savor them. No, I’m not going to let them “go to my head”. I’m not going to turn into an egotistical monster. I’m just going to enjoy this moment, reflect on the hard work that I’ve put into Discovering Power, and use them as fuel for my next book.

Who complimented you today? Who praised you? Did you receive it? Or did you brush it off?

I challenge you to take the risk to truly receive praise and compliments. Cherish it. I promise it won’t hurt!

PS – I’ll share just one of the early reviews I received as part of my process to truly receive it!

“Discovering Power is a beautifully told story with great dialog and self-reflection as IT Executive Sheryl Simmons faces the trauma in business many of us face day to day. Do I stay? Do I stand up for myself and others? These are questions she must answer for herself, keeping her team on track and looking to rise within the company, I especially enjoyed seeing relationships change and characters unfold differently as she engaged with them exploring her strength to stand in her power.  I look forward to the story unfolding more in the next book.”  Susan K Younger, Relationship Architect,


Planned LinkedIn Live Events: (connect on LinkedIn for details)

Wednesday, May 3 at 9:00 am Eastern – BRANDSTALK LIVE with Brigitte Bojkowski, Ph.D.

Monday, May 8 at 10:00 am Eastern – with Krista Mollion

The Discover Your Power Virtual Retreat

May 9 thru May 11. A three-day retreat for women leaders to explore themes from Discovering Power. We’ll have deep discussions about Intuition, Risk-Taking, and Integrity as dimensions of discovering our own power.

For full details, click here.


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