Beyond the Build


Look for the Positive, Then Verbalize It

A long time ago, I made the decision to vocalize the good I see by giving genuine compliments as often as possible. I don’t mean, “You look nice today,” compliments. While those are valuable, they are at surface level. I means something more like, “I watched you in that meeting and you have a real talent for customer relations,” or “Your insight brought something unique to that proposal and we knocked it out of the park.”

Giving a compliment makes me feel good, but it makes the receiver feel even better. I recently read that receiving a genuine compliment hits the same brain receptors that would be triggered if you received a cash gift. It’s nice to have someone acknowledge your solid work, talents and success…So nice that it might even incentivize you to work harder in the future. The other side of the coin is that constantly hearing negativity is extremely discouraging. In a time when many of us are surrounded by stress and negativity, the power of a compliment can make a real difference. 

Taking this thought one step further, over the years I have written many a short note of encouragement. One would be amazed at how many people come up to me years later and comment about the note and that they still have it tucked away. Try it sometime.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.