Recognition is as important as integrity

It doesn’t matter how seasoned a professional you are, or how much respect or national acclaim one gets; sometimes the most important recognition is from those that you are surrounded by or work with on a day-to-day basis.

Yet that can often be the same feedback that we allow ourselves to easily overlook. That old saying familiarity breeds contempt takes on new meaning when friends and close colleagues give us compliments and recognition.  It’s much easier to blow the words off when it’s from people we know. Perhaps it’s because we expect our friends and close colleagues to say them. Maybe there is a sense of “it’s not valid” unless it’s a stranger recognizing me. It is hard to say.

But in a world when criticisms, intolerance, lack of integrity, and hate is so abundant. It is crucial that we as a people, as professionals, and as human beings learn to allow those that we respect to share their feelings of love, admiration, and appreciation. Those moments have value to us and to them. The time it takes someone to mention or write you is an expression of sentiment, but also time. It is another opportunity to reflect on who we are and what we bring to the table.

Last week, I had a lovely reminder of this when longtime friend and colleague David Ortmann posted these words in reference to my work here in MentorSF

“MentorSF is really one-stop shopping for improving or growing any facet of your life. I must give a shout out to a man doing some amazing education, coaching, writing and life-focusing work in San Francisco. I have worked with, and learned from, Frank Strona, the founder of MentorSF for years. Check out the video if there are things in your life that need polishing or retooling. I highly recommend Frank. He’s a revolutionary thinker and guide.”

Every day, every one of us. no matter career role come into contact with an abundance of people and personalities. We often speak without thinking, think without speaking and sometimes we do neither. The biggest challenge we face is that we sometimes aren’t “hearing” what we’re “listening” too.

Next time you’re in a conversation and you find yourself thinking about the next thing to say or what to buy for dinner.  STOP for a moment and really hear what the person is saying. You may find yourself on the receiving end of a complement, a genuine heartfelt sentiment, a constructive criticism that could be of benefit you personally or professionally, or just a random moment that becomes an “AHA” moment for you.


On the flipside of that we often also ignore the power that we have in what we say. That casual stray coment or critical observation or even an honest reaction that to a listener or the person who overhears it may have lasting effects. These effects are ones you may never aware of. It’s important to honor to remember that the power of voice and storytelling is a gift for potential and gain, but also yields a sharp edge when handled badly.