Leadership, acceptance, & appreciation: I accept you the way you are, and I appreciate you for who you become

I accept you the way you are, and I appreciate you for who you become. This is the title of a speech I will present today at VOICE Toastmasters club in Fort-Lauderdale, Florida. I have the pleasure to share with you the content of my upcoming speech. Enjoy.

Last Thursday, I went to the dentist. I entered the office, put my name on the waiting list. The secretary, with a nice smile, asked me for my insurance information and ID card. I pulled them from my wallet and handed them to her. She made copies, handed them back to me, and invited me to have a sit while waiting for my turn.

I shared the space with other 8 people.  Some were watching TV, others were skimming at magazine pictures. I prefer reading my own book.  I usually carry a book with me wherever I go.

I had Les Giblin’s book “How to have confidence and power in dealing with people¨. I discovered his triple-A formula for making and keeping friends. This is my pleasure to share with you this triple-A formula which is resumed as follow:

1.- Accept

2.- Approve

3.- Appreciate

Acceptance is lesson # 1 learned from Les Giblin. You are who are. I  accept you the way you are. I want you to continue to be yourself around me. I accept you as a human being with your mistakes, flaws, and your shortcomings.

Reading this reminds me a story reported by best selling author Orrin Woodward in his book “Resolved: 13 resolutions for LIFE” which displays the power of acceptance.

A water bearer in China had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole, which he carried across his neck. One of the pot had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot was only half-full. For a full two years, this went on daily with the bearer delivering  only one and a half pots of water to his house.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect for what it was made to do. The poor cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection. It was miserable to accomplish only half of what it was made to do.

After two years of feeling a bitter failure, the poor cracked pot spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. Ï am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you. I have been able to deliver only half of my load because this crack on my side causes water to leak as you walk the way back to your house. Because of my flaw, you have to do all this work, and you don’t get the full value of your efforts”, the pot said.

The bearer said to the pot , ” Did you notice there are only flowers on the side of your path, but not on the other side? That’s because I have always known your flaw. So, I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day, when we walk back, you water them.  for two years, I have been able to pick up these beautiful flowers, to decorate the table. Without you being, just the way you are , there will not be this beauty to grace the house¨.

Thinking about this story while I was reading Giblin’s book brought a bright smile in my face in the dentist room. My neighbor look at me wondering what am I wondering about.

I continued my self-directed education to lesson 2 which is approval. Acceptance doesn’t mean approval. I accept you the way you are doesn’t mean I approve everything you do. If acceptance is withholding criticisms, then approval is releasing compliments.  Approval moves beyond acceptance and extends to acclaim for your specific gifts, talents, abilities, and actions. I invest the time to look for your good qualities, your positive attributes, and I approve you by sharing what I admire about you.

Orrin Woodward said “regretfully , many times, these good words are spoken only at a deceased friend’s funeral, but why wait for the funeral to tell a friend what is admirable about him?”

“Approval is the shining of one’s light into another’s darkness; although the words cost little, their value to others is priceless¨, the leadership guru wrote.

Lesson # 3 is Appreciation. This triple-A formula is like a buffet. Acceptance is the appetizer, approval is the main dish, and appreciation is the dessert.

I accept you the way you are, I approve you for your special talents, and I appreciate you for who you can become. You are unique, not just another face in the crowd. I appreciate you. I value you.

When something depreciates, it loses value; but when something appreciates, it gains value. What gives value to you is your rarity, your uniqueness. My appreciation for you helps you gain value.

I learned to really appreciate you, I should share all the good I can find in you with others. I should help you to turn up your positive voice  while simultaneously reducing your negative voice. I want you to believe in yourself and live the life you’ve always wanted.

The secretary called my name. I got into the dentist room, laid on the dental chair, opened my mouth for the cleaning session, with this poem I just read on my mind:

“A friend is someone who knows you as you are, understand where you have been, accepts who you have become, and still gently invites you to grow”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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