The Power of a Compliment
I’ve been working out (aka exercising) for about a year now. No, I haven't attained consistency that borders on irrationality, but I have managed to become a regular in a great Tuesday/Thursday class. For me this is nothing short of miraculous. Not long into my regimen, I looked in the mirror and wished for more —more of the good, less of the bad. To my eye, it seemed as if nothing had changed…until one day. It was the middle of class, and I was following the instructor's counts (we regulars chat intermittently about this muscle or that). Today, however, the instructor paid me a compliment. “l’ve seen so much improvement. Look at that muscle!” (And I thought they were just in hibernation.) Take one guess as to how I felt. It instantly gave me new incentive as to why I tortured myself into getting up so early to make it to class every week.
Later that day when I sat down at my desk to do some work, I checked my e-mail. One message caught my eye. The message line stated: You have received a positive rating on Ebay. I almost deleted it but then opened it out of sheer curiosity. It went on to tell me that I had received a great rating from the seller of a product had just purchased. For those who have never surfed Ebay in search of an expensive item at an affordable price, you don't know what you’re missing. Whenever you buy or sell something, each party has the opportunity to rate the other according to, basically, how you were to deal with. Their way of keeping you honest.
I don't know why, but I felt an excitement course through my body. I would certainly never meet this person who said something nice about me, but I wished I could, just so I could tell her about the boost she gave me that morning.
A few days later, it was drama rehearsal night. Our play was quickly approaching, and my emotions were mixed. I felt like I was doing fine, but was I really? I thought I had developed the accent well enough, but had I? I depended on our director to speak up, but I couldn't read his mind.
Our common practice was to gather the cast after every rehearsal in order for the director to relay his comments about our performances up to that point. At times the director furiously wrote as we performed, leaving each to wonder who he was penning the novel about.
During one of these discussion times, he suddenly looked straight at me. “Kathryn,” he said, calling me by my stage name. I gulped. What had I done wrong? “Excellent! You were excellent tonight!” He continued on, causing a slight blush to break out.
Being complimented is a rush. And being praised in front of your fellow cast members is a whole separate feeling. I left rehearsal that night feeling like I had just been nominated for an Oscar. Unstoppable. Encouraged. Like my practice had paid off. Even more, I felt like I had delivered exactly what the director wanted in this character.
Imagine life without compliments. There would never be acknowledgement of our successes, complete from how we look in a new outfit to how we feel as a new parent when our child is told how cute she is. We would quite possibly live in a perpetual state of unknowing. A compliment, given appropriately and honestly, can turn a so-so day into one that has meaning. It makes a heart feel happy! Don't be afraid to lavish praise upon your cast. If something is truly not happening as you would like, then by all means you need to speak to that cast member, perhaps in private. But when someone gives a performance that dazzles you, use words that adequately convey your feelings. Your encouragement as a director could catapult that person into an even better performance, making you (the director) look like a genius. Don't ever think that your compliment could make someone vain or over-confident. As it says in Proverbs 25:11, “a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
I'm becoming more consistent in my workouts. And I have to admit that I’m more prone to buy on Ebay after my positive experience. And, oh yeah. I'm not so afraid of auditions any longer. And to the director who made me feel like I could do anything? Thanks!