Coach’s Corner:  “And The Award Goes To…”

JD Fox - Coach's CornerJ.D. “Jim” Fox, Head Coach, Next Act Coaching

I avoid most awards shows, but tuned into the Golden Globes just to see how it would play out in our hyper-charged political climate.   I stayed through the whole thing, including commercials — and I’m a total DVR guy!

I’ll admit, as someone with a TV news, government, and political background, I was fascinated by the immediate “Oprah for President!” talk.  We are a nation and a culture in search of a unifying leader — though everyone forgets this country has always been pretty much divided (just check historical voting records).

The more interesting thing, for me as a coach, is our collective practice of bequeathing awards and accolades.   Not just in the entertainment business, but in EVERYTHING.

We now give kids ribbons when they graduate kindergarten.  We keep trophy companies in business all the way through adulthood (full disclosure:  my little trophy for “Outstanding Actor” at my north central Wisconsin high school is still in my bathroom cabinet, next to the toothbrush holder).

Be honest.  Who doesn’t have “award-winning” somewhere on their LinkedIn profile?  I do.

I think it’s all about acknowledgement and validation — we crave it, and we can never get enough of it.   Those who dismiss it probably have a full trophy room in the basement.

It does get a little weird when the acknowledgment is connected to whichever direction the cool wind is blowing (and the #MeToo movement is starting to feel blowback — from France, from major Democratic political donors, and I’ll bet more to come — so keep an eye on that).

But here’s the thing about acknowledgement that I think always holds up:  life has lots of rough spots, and we need to celebrate the good when we can.   That could mean a trophy, a plaque, a proclamation, or maybe just a sincere “wow, great job” when you see someone making even a little progress at whatever they’re trying to do.

As Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “no one gets out of here alive.”   While we are here, a little affirmation goes a long way — probably even more so at the workplace than on the stage or screen.