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WorkHuman Wednesday: Catch Someone Doing Something Good

by Traci Pesch

Recognize This! – We all have the power to foster positivity through simple acts of praise and appreciation.

I’ve just returned from a whirlwind vacation with many wonderful new memories created with my family. Vacations are ideal for the opportunity to refresh, rejuvenate and reconnect on a deep and meaningful level with those we love the most. They are also terrific for the ability to just disconnect from the usual daily reality for a while.

That disconnection from what we usually see and experience makes it easier, I think, to spot things we might not normally be looking for. We have different eyes, seeking to see different things. And that’s good. It’s the unexpected that stands out, that sticks with us. Seth Godin commented on his blog:

“The unexpected praise or apology, the one that comes out of the blue, can change everything. It's easier than ever to reach out and speak up. Sad, then, how rarely we do it when it's not expected.”

With that in mind, I wanted to call attention to this story in the news about police treatment of those in powerless situations:

“TiAnna Greene was taking her daughter to summer camp one recent morning when she witnessed an act of kindness that took her breath away. While stopped at a traffic light, she saw a Florida police officer sit down on a street curb next to a homeless man and hand him some food and a cup of coffee. “‘What really caught my attention was the fact she then pulled out food for herself and started to eat with him. She just seemed very, very comfortable,’ Greene said. ‘I got my phone out and started snapping pictures because I was so overjoyed by the interaction.’ “Greene posted the photos on her Facebook page, wanting to share with friends the stranger's kind act, something ‘that seemed to come naturally for her,’ she said. The post went viral.”

Ms. Greene caught someone (Sgt. Erica Hay) in the act of doing something good. She took a moment to praise Hay’s actions and share that with others. In the process, many others were inspired by the act of kindness. (In fact, Ms. Greene and Sgt. Hay have developed a friendship, according to the article.) That’s the Power of Thanks, the power of pausing for a moment in our own busy-ness to notice the great work and acts of kindness of others, praise them for it, and share that praise with others.

These are the basic tenets of social recognition – notice, recognize, share – and the basis for fostering positivity in groups small and large. Today, take a moment to “catch someone doing something good.” Who deserves praise in your circle?