I've never been good at accepting compliments. Now don't get me wrong. I want the compliments- sometimes way too often. I have craved the compliments but I was never good at accepting them. WIth that, I was called out publicly a few years ago on a mastermind call that I was on with John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneurs on Fire. I don't remember who it was, I think it was Roger Whitney, the host of the Retirement Answerman Podcast who gave me the compliment. Roger is my friend yet the compliment took me by surprise. Others in the group agreed with him and I responded with a very muted, okay, thanks, or the whole 'it's no big deal' type of thing.
And John called me out on it, which I so appreciated as painful as it was in the moment. And this is why I love masterminds. And why I love accountability. I don't respond well when people complain about judgment or they say 'who are you to question me on what I did'? You can have a great life- go do your thing- but we're not going to relate. I like challenges,. Especially when they come from people care about me. And if you can't take constructive criticism from somebody who cares about you, you're always going to be limited in your growth. So some people can call it criticism, but it was one of the best pieces of advice.
John basically said to me, don't do that. You need to be able to handle compliments better than you do. And he explained that we are diminishing the other person's gratefulness by doing that. And I've never really thought of it that way. Actually, I know I've never thought of it that way. I always thought that I was being humble. I didn't want to brag. I didn't want to pound my chest and say, yeah, I did do that. Nobody loves somebody that does that.
But there's a big difference between being quiet, defensive, and evasive than there is from the bragger. It's actually two ends of the spectrum and neither of them are good. So I've met John many times. I've seen him at conferences. He gets swarmed by people, often people that want to tell them how much he's helped them with this podcast. And he mentioned to me how he handles compliments. He handles it with a lot of gratitude and appreciation and he makes sure that there's the big smile that goes with it. As well as a giant, thank you. And the appreciation for this person to go out of their way to give him a compliment.
You have to understand the true thankfulness does not give off an appearance of vanity or excessive pride. What you are doing is you are appreciating that person's compliments and giving them recognition. Now I'm going to guess that if you're listening, you probably don't go overly crazy on self praise. It's just a guess. I'm also going to guess that you might go way on the other end and you might deflect or even feel uncomfortable but what's even worse is if you reject it. But when you reject the compliment, you are not only downplaying yourself, but you're downplaying them as well. And without meaning it you're downplaying their intelligence because if they truly believe in what you did and they've truly given you a great compliment, and you tell them that it wasn't any good or it really wasn't worth it, Basically what you're telling them is that their opinion is an accurate.
It's an insult to the person giving you the compliment. So when you reject or deflect a compliment, what you're really doing is you're projecting the idea that you have low self esteem. I'm sure you've had it where you've given a compliment and it's been blown off. It's happened to me. And I don't know about you, but I feel that way. I feel like I gave a compliment, I believed in them and they didn't believe in themselves. And it made me feel like maybe I was wrong in thinking that way.
Somebody else we might want to avoid when you're in that spot is to get into a compliment comparison. Have you ever done it? When somebody gives you a compliment and you have to give them a compliment right back.
Someone says, 'Your hair looks great! And you immediately respond with 'Oh, your hair looks great too!'. And they're like, I'm wearing a hat. And you might think, why couldn't I just accept their compliment? Instead, I needed to give it right back. And now it seems phony because what will happen is you'll come across insincere. So to begin with you're deflecting, you're getting it away from yourself, which goes back to what we talked about earlier. But you have to think about this- were you really going to compliment that person on what you did compliment them on?
Would you have just walked up to that person and said, 'Your hair looks great today' when they're wearing a hat? No, of course you wouldn't. It's got to be sincere. It's got to be meaningful. And it's got. to be honest. So stop doing that. Instead, take the compliment, appreciate it, smile, and be grateful and say, thank you. And the next time you feel that way about somebody, whether it's their hair or something they did or work they created, give them the compliment and do it with sincerity and don't do it because you want to get into a compliment comparison.