I strongly believed I loved the limelight. I sometimes still believe i do. However, there is one real challenge I have. I really, and genuinely struggle to handle compliments. Especially when done in person. It makes me greatly uncomfortable.
This is a real challenge for me because I also tend to be a an “over achiever” I love to win. I want to be the best, and never second best. With achievement, comes compliments! How do I handle this?
For the past few years, the solution was to sensor and avoid them. As soon as I guessed a compliment was coming, I would immediately rudely interrupt and change the course of the conversation. I am sure many times I have gotten it wrong. For the times i suspected right, I was often overpowered. This left me uneasy and unsure of how to react. “Thank you” was just enough for a minute-long compliment.
Have you ever been in position were you are over showered with praises, somewhat intentionally? This happened to me recently. I was at the Southern African `#iCon conference for Toastmasters in Southern Africa. On arrival, I was receiving congratulatory messages for the success of the Division I was leading. The following day, there was a top up. I was now being complimented of my nomination and consequently the election for the Public Relations Manager in Southern Africa. As if that was not enough, I was nominated in various Hall of Fame awards and won a couple. The spotlight was on me. It was too bright for me. I felt the attention was too much. After all, I was doing what I committed to do, maybe with a little more enthusiasm, that’s all.
It was tough for me. It was uncomfortable. In many instances,I felt the need to hide away and not be among people. Obviously, at a conference of such magnitude, you cannot hide much. Nevertheless, I survived the overwhelming congratulatory messages. The turning point was my dad’s message. The message was tear jerking so much that i did not wink at the suggestion to accept and receive the compliments. I had to face my demons. I had to learn to say, “Thank you” with gratitude and grace.
I don’t how you handle compliments and gratitude. However you do it, “let people acknowledge you” said a dear colleague. “Don’t make it our problem that you don’t like compliments! Give thanks and allow them the opportunity to be grateful.”
It is for this reason that I am working on my “insecurities” – when will you start working on your own?