The Five Penny Challenge

Posted on: Jul 21, 2015

Categories: Leadership

“What a great job you did today!”  Doesn’t it feel good to hear this? We all love getting compliments, but unfortunately, some of us aren’t as good at remembering to give them. This can be especially hard if you are in a position to manage and lead others–your corporate team, your family, a committee–where we can tend to be focused on results and production.  When someone pours out compliments to another person, it’s often true that they would like some recognition in return. But that doesn’t mean that you need to wait for someone to compliment you before saying something.

Today I encourage you to be the instigator by looking for positive things to say to build up the people around you.  Authentic compliments and encouraging words can go far to create a trusting, positive environment.

But we all get busy and wrapped up in our own stuff, so as a reminder to give out positive words others throughout your day, I want you to put five pennies in your right pocket. Every time you say something kind or encouraging to another person, move one penny from your right pocket to your left pocket. Before you can go home that night, you need to have all five pennies in your left pocket.

If you don’t have pockets, just move them from one side of your desk to the other. It doesn’t even have to be pennies—it can be any physical reminder that can fit in your pocket—business cards, paper clips, or rubber bands will work too. The important part is that you stay committed to giving out encouragement.

It may feel awkward if you aren’t used to giving compliments. That’s okay. I suggest you begin by keeping it about work—say something positive about their effort, a project they recently presented, or even just how organized their desk always looks.

Go ahead and try it, then let me know what kind of responses you get and how you feel at the end of the day!

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