Another friend  finds it interesting that I am  so interested in acknowledgment. Why is it such a big deal with me.  I think it occurs to me as a minimal out put  maximum reward. Wally used to be  my  boss at the ware house I workded at during my college years. He would come around and  stick his head in the boxcar and with a mouth full of chew would say Hey Bud!… He always seemed to have a moment to spend with any of us. He is to this day the best boss I have had. I would do anything he asked with just enough fabricated  moaning about working to hard to keep it interesting.

There is an acknowledgment of shared humanity that underlies the  communication that had it be about the job getting done and  not being a rental body or a slave.  It can lift any task to an nobel, appreciated service when created with in a context that highlights the value.  When I volunteer, checking the restrooms for cleanliness can be for something that is much greater  than crap, why do I have to do this, work.

The great thing about acknowledgment is it can be done in an moment, any time, just stick your head in a boxcar and see the opportunity before you.

Published in: on June 27, 2011 at 8:58 pm  Comments (1)  

Brene Brown says we are wired for connection and belonging. Connection gives purpose and meaning to life. Belonging is letting our selves be seen. Nothing is more important than belonging at home.


Shame, the fear of losing connection, fear that who we are, what we do, or have done could threaten that connection.




I am saying that acknowledgement has the possibility to create/confirm belonging and connection.

Acknowledgment is a key.


Repeating myself

There are those occasions that we have and opportunity to cause a miracle in the life of another.

Sometimes we see the opportunity and do it consciously

Sometimes we see the opportunity and do nothing.

Sometimes we cause a miracle and have no idea it happened.

Part of the power  of acknowledgment is that it is in the present. It doesn’t take need a long history with the person. You don’t have to know something special or be someone in particular. You are everything  you  need to do the deed. All you need to do is be present  with them and yourself and speak.


A friend  told me I was making this too hard.

I am working at distinguishing the possibility of acknowledgment.


Published in: on June 26, 2011 at 8:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Acknowledgement in Pakistan

I had dinner with a friend who
was telling about working with executives in Pakistan.

After 2 or 3 days of a program they were
having a completion dinner.

After dinner, he asked their permission to
play a game.

He put everyone’s name in a hat and
each person drew a name.

The game was to toast the person
whose name they drew. They could toast  more than one person if they

They were to toast that person  for
anything positive they could speak that was true for them, about their person.

It might be  that  what was
there for them was, that the glasses they wore  were  the best they
had ever seen that person wear.

Whatever they wanted to say  to toast
that person was ok.

As a group they had never done such a
thing in business before.

It is not common in the Muslim culture to
do such a thing.

(so different from our own)

There was very little if any alcohol
involved, mostly none.

All accepted the game.

All spoke

Three of the  executives reported the
next morning it was the best night of sleep  they had had in years.

Published in: on June 25, 2011 at 8:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

The reason I call this the Acknowledgement Project is that I am interested to see what it takes to create a world  where acknowledgement  is a natural form of self expression.  Imagine a life whereacknowledgement would be plentiful and not something  you would have to stop and try and remember when and if  you feel you were acknowledged fully. That you were acknowledged for what you brought/bring to the party, in a way that you were  left bigger and there was a world  that called you to step into.


Call it acknowledgement, honored, gratitude, appreciation, thanks, grace, value added, manipulation, a gift, art, beauty, it creates a world that has the acknowledgee has made a difference in the life of another, by contributing a particular expression of their being to the delight of the assembled masses.

Maybe they said thank you, maybe the cashier looked at you when they gave you your change, May be they listened to your question and answered that question. Maybe the BBQ sauce on the Burger was unlike any you’ve ever had before and made you want to get anything even leaves and twigs to sop up the last drops on your plate.

Maybe they said what you needed to hear to give you that boost to do something you had been afraid to do. Maybe it was a hug that protected you from the world or gave you the strength to go into the world. Maybe it was a smile.

It doesn’t matter. What I am interested in is what has you say something to acknowledgement them for the contribution to your life. Or what has you be silent and not speak?

When my friends got married in a Quaker type ceremony, they turned to the guests and asked if anyone would like to speak to the couple.  Most people spoke. I did not. I was afraid of not knowing what to say. I was afraid to speak in groups. I might say something stupid (well that is kind of a given. But in public?)  I was terrified that I might be seen as a fool. It was awful. I was haunted by my silence for a couple of days and finally talked to them.


I had no courage.


ORIGIN Middle English (denoting the heart, as the seat of feelings): from Old French corage, from Latin cor ‘heart.’





c.1300, from O.Fr. corage,  from V.L. *coraticum,  from L. cor  “heart,” which remains a common metaphor for inner strength. In M.E., used broadly for “what is in one’s mind or thoughts,” hence “bravery,” but also “wrath, pride, confidence, lustiness,” or any sort of inclination. Replaced O.E. ellen , which also meant “zeal, strength.”

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Cite This Source


Søren Kierkegaard opposed courage to angst, while Paul Tillich opposed an existential courage to be to non-being, fundamentally equating it with religion:

“Courage is the self-affirmation of being in spite of the fact of non-being. It is the act of the individual self in taking the anxiety of non-being upon itself by affirming itself … in the anxiety of guilt and condemnation. … every courage to be has openly or covertly a religious root. For religion is the state of being grasped by the power of being itself.”[5]


Ernest Hemingway famously defined courage as “grace under pressure.

Courage is not the absence of fear. It is acting in spite of it.” -Mark Twain


Or this insight from Winston Churchill:

Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities … because it is the quality that guarantees all others.



I’m real big on context these days and  when the context is large enough to include what would otherwise be stops, these stops become considerations and can become part of the cost of doing business.


When at the gore point, what will you do?


Cat got your tongue?

Got Courage?


If you’ve got a bit of a delight in getting  under someone elses skin, this is great. Cause as you speak to them they may be as uncomfortable as you. They may try to get away, or cut you off, change the subject, deflect the compliment. But you can stand your ground and keep going. Say everything. Look over there in their eyes and make sure they are letting it in. say everything. Move them.  Make’em cry. However there is a cost to play this game. The are requirements. You must be present to what moved you to speak. You must speak to their listening. You must be authentic, vulnerable and willing to be moved by  them and yourself. All this may backfire. You may be moved by them  and by who you become  when you acknowledge them.


On the final day of an 8 week program, coworkers, friends, family and other people important to the people in the program came and were acknowledged in front of  all the participants and their guests. When I thought I was done acknowledging my bosses wife, it was apparent that there was clearly something missing. There was not something wrong nor had I said the wrong thing, but she had not  heard that  thing she wanted to hear. As we stood there looking at each other, I saw what it was and said that,  and as the book says, “and it was good.”



Published in: on June 24, 2011 at 8:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Public Acknowledgement


During a meeting last night a woman introduced her brother and sister-in-law to the other attendees. Her introduction was gracious heartfelt and she clearly loves and adores these people.

Inquiring into the possibility of what world could acknowledgement or in this case a public acknowledgement create? An opportunity to acknowledge them in public could be life altering. They would get specifically, who they are for you, the reason they come to you and what you provide for them. And that you get that their place in the world is what they most want to contribute to the world is seen, valued, and appreciated.

Think back, when was the time when you were acknowledged in public in a way that you were left with a world larger than you had moments ago? When were you were acknowledged for the contribution you most wanted to be acknowledged for? Who was it? What for? What made it special for you?
What was it like for person speaking, and the other people in the attendance?
What world was created? Did life occur differently after that? How so?

There is something that happens when you are acknowledged in public, for that which you most want to be acknowledged for, that creates a listening in the world for you to step into. Others now know you as that person.

Published in: on June 22, 2011 at 8:51 pm  Leave a Comment  


I am starting this project out of a commitment to have acknowledgement be a natural part of self-expression.

Acknowledgement has the possibility to provide love, beauty, grace, belonging, peace, connectedness, completion, in an instant. A whole new world can be created, or validation of a world that another is creating for himself.

There are many types of acknowledgement: a simple “Thank you.” “Well done.” “Congratulations.”  “Hello.” “Good bye.”  “I love you.”

What I am pointing to is acknowledgement that creates a world. It can be with someone you have known for a lifetime, years or never met. In that moment, a world can be created that will leave them empowered, knowing that they are known as someone who is presencing their gift(s) to the world, and honored for their contribution.

To acknowledge another costs nothing, takes only a moment, and creates a world.

There are those occasions that we have and opportunity to cause a miracle in the life of another.

Sometimes we see the opportunity and do it consciously

Sometimes we see the opportunity and do nothing.

Sometimes we cause a miracle and have no idea it happened.

I was having dinner with my friend Bill, who has worked in the restaurant industry for years. Our meal was terrific and when the waitress returned to our table, I told her how great our meal was. I realized moments later, she did not prepare our meal, it was the folks in the kitchen that had done everything that had our meal be such a treat. I asked Bill if they ever had people come into the kitchen to thank them for the meals they prepared. Rarely. But there was a evening when John Denver had been dining and strolled into the kitchen with his guitar, told them how much he appreciated the dinner and gave them an impromptu  concert, just for the folks in the kitchen.

Whenever I have a “Wow this is good” meal, I am present to my friend Bill and either find the manager, or walk into the kitchen and find out who cooked my meal and tell them how much I appreciate what they have done to have this be so enjoyable.

Laura and I were in a nondescript hotel in Bilbao Spain. It was late and we  were too tired to go out and find a “nice restaurant with good food instead of the dicey chance of decent food in the hotel.” The dining room  appeared virtually characterless, more like a cafeteria than a restaurant.  Our expectations were adjusted to “well at least we wont be hungry”.  I ordered a medium steak with some mystery sauce.  Our meals came.  The plates looked great.  I cut into the  steak to check for doneness. Perfect!  My hopes are  beginning  to look up.  I cut a bite-sized piece and dip it in the mystery sauce.  As we talk about our day,  I take the first  bite.  I stop mid sentence.  With my  mouth full of nirvana sustenance, I try to utter “Oh, my God!”  Every bite  was a cause for celebration of having  taste buds.  By the  end of the meal, I was asking for some bread to wipe up the remnants of the sauce.

The delightful surprise of this meal had me out of our booth and walking into the  kitchen. We are in Spain and I do not speak Spanish. In  English, I ask the first person I see, “who cooked my meal?”  He disappears and returns with the chef; following  him are several other members of the  kitchen crew.  After I find out that he cooked my  meal, I begin to tell him my experience of enjoying  the meal he had prepared for us.  I swear he looked taller and larger by the  time I finished.  I  do not remember any one  in that room speaking English, except me.  The smiles were huge, and there was no doubt that my acknowledgement was received.

Every time I think of being in the room with those guys, it brings a smile to my  face and warmth to my heart.

When I was in the hospital not too long ago, I asked the nurse in my room who had  been in the ICU for 7 years saving people’s lives on a daily basis, if she was acknowledged regularly.  She said that sometimes someone would say something nice, and that kind of kept them going.

This seems almost criminal to me.

It occurs that as life goes along and we interact with people, there will be something someone will do that we appreciate, something that makes a difference to us or is or way beyond what is expected.  In those moments there is a thought that we could say something to them or we can  say nothing.  On the  freeway exits, there is that point where you can take the exit or continue on the freeway.  The  last moment you can take the exit is the “Gore Point”.  In the moment of deciding to acknowledge or not it is like that “Gore Point”.

What has you decide to remain silent rather than speak?

I don’t know what to say.

I might appear to be a fool.

I might feel uncomfortable

They already know how I feel.

It’s their job.

I don’t have time.

I would be too vulnerable.

They don’t know me.

I don’t know them.

I don’t care.

They would think I’m weird.

I might get too emotional.

I might cry.

I’m not a  touchy-feely type.

What happens at that “Gore Point” for you?

What if what you speak would create a world for another that would have them get that the gift they most want to give to the world is known, received and appreciated?

What was it like when your gift to the world was acknowledged?

Did you stand taller?

Did you want to give more?

Did you smile more?

Did you want to acknowledge others more?

How did it change your view of the world?

What  happens at that “Gore Point” for you?

What is the difference between a bystander and a hero?


There are those occasions that we have an opportunity to cause a miracle in the life of another.

Sometimes we see the opportunity and do it consciously

Sometimes we see the opportunity and do nothing.

Sometimes we cause a miracle and have no idea it happened.

Published in: on June 7, 2011 at 10:42 pm  Comments (4)