How is an acknowledgment like a sneeze?

I carried a huge acknowledgment around in my heart, mind and spirit for months. Even though I wrote three books on this subject, I was guilty of withholding this deep-seated praise from an individual who has done and continues to do amazing things to further the Grateful Leadership initiative. Yes, I had thanked him many times for his contributions, but I was left with something so far beyond “thanks” that I was weighed down by it.

It was almost a physical sensation, of the sort you get when you feel you MUST sneeze, but nothing is happening…but of course it is very present as an “if only I could,” or a “I HAVE to do this.” And still that “sneeze” doesn’t/didn’t come. I was going to use my rather developed writing skills to put together an amazing piece to let him know all that I felt. But it didn’t happen for all of the reasons I call “excuses” when I teach my classes — I wouldn’t find the right words, he was too busy to take the time to process it, and on and on… and on.

So finally this weekend, I got stuck in a major traffic jam, and decided to use the time to “just do it.” I called him out of the blue on a Saturday, and asked him if he could accept a huge acknowledgment that I had been carrying around in me for months! knew he would say yes, but I wanted to be sure he would really let it in, fully and completely. So I compared this Acknowledgment to a sneeze that was just waiting to happen and I HAD to get it out. “Sure!” he said.

And so I spoke for several minutes about all he had done to help put Acknowledgment “on the map” for project managers worldwide — from writing a chapter for my Grateful Leadership book upon my request, to creating a series of 40 articles on “Determining Your Grateful Leadership IQ” when I invited him to contribute to the Center for Grateful Leadership (CGL), to being on a series of podcasts hosted by CGL member Jim Trela, and even going so far as to say Acknowledgment should be added to the PMBOK(R) Guide.

I wouldn’t let him get a word in edgewise until I had finished. Really finished. “Thank you,” he said humbly and simply when I finally paused and took a breath. And I knew he had gotten it and that I had done what I really needed to do. I had, at long last, “sneezed!” I felt lighter, I felt that I had done something important both for him and for me, and that this Acknowledgment had made a difference, even to someone of this person’s great stature.

And I have to thank my husband for adding to this process, when I told him I was comparing Acknowledgment to a sneeze. He said, “That makes sense! When you deliver a true acknowledgment AND when you sneeze, the person you are with says or at least thinks, “Bless you!” What a great observation!

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I am truly grateful to Dr. Harold Kerzner, the recipient of my profound acknowledgment, for embracing and promoting the Grateful Leadership initiative. His contributions have made — and will continue to make — a real difference!

Do you have to “sneeze”? Is there an acknowledgment you are carrying that is weighing you down? Use the comments to “get it out” and then be sure the recipient sees it!