The difference is on the inside

On the surface a Gala Apple and a Fuji Apple are somewhat similar too. They both have red coloring with some yellow areas, and vague striping. However, underneath the skin these two apples are considerably different.

Gala apples are softer and smaller than Fuji’s, they are great for baking and eating, and have the thinnest skin of all apples along with a fairly short shelf life. Fuji’s on the other hand are a spin-off from the American Red Delicious and have been the runaway favorite in Japan for many years. They have a far more crisp texture and and a thicker skin and they last much longer than Gala’s – up to 5 months.

Such are the distinctions between praise and affirmation. They seem similar on the surface but are radically different beneath.

Praise is what we do to thank someone for a job well done. Singers get hand clapping, secretary’s get “Thank you” and “Good Job”. It is like taking a breath of Helium. When you try to speak, your voice sounds goofy and it is fun while it lasts, but it’s over quickly and then life resumes.

Affirmation on the other hand, isn’t just recognition for action, but is recognition for MY brand of action. It rewards me along with the job I did. It is like long chain carbohydrates, they are good for you and bring energy for a long time. It speaks to the core of WHO we are and pours value into that.

The affects of Praise and affirmation.

The indirect affect of only praising someone is that they begin to feel like, only what they do is worth recognition. Phrases like:“What have you done for me lately” come from that kind of approach. In this camp, only action gets a reward, and this reward does not build trust or a sense of stability in the mind of the receiver.

By contrast, affirmation inherently ties who they are, with what they do, and speaks value to the combination. Leaving the hearer feeling like they are personally valued, as well as what they contribute. This approach develops stronger people with a better sense of security, who are willing to give more because they know that they matter, not just what they do.

Seems like a subtle difference and just like the Apples, they are difficult to tell apart at first, but in the end one lasts a whole lot longer than the other.

Two questions then:

  • What kind of recognition are you giving out?
  • Do you have a way to discover true Identity in people, so that you can affirm them ?