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by fivesimplethings on May 17th, 2010

I just got off the phone with a recruiter who was checking references for one of my former employees. The recruiter set up the appointment in advance so I had a few minutes to write down all of the good things I wanted to say about him. I ticked off the three things that distinguished him and waited for the call.

As I wrote, I thought about the fact that while he worked for me, I didn’t do a good enough job of recognizing his accomplishments. Most days, I could write out the three things I needed him to do or the three projects that seemed to be lagging. However, I didn’t tell him the three things he did really well that week.

Why do we focus on the negatives so often? Why do we wait until people aren’t around anymore to celebrate successes and the positive attributes that endear them to us?

Here’s my question. Who is the person you see every day but fail to give your “references”? Is it your spouse? Is it a coworker? I wonder if it is even your child? Let me know in the comments section or on twitter with the hashtag #fivesimplethings.

Go ahead. Find them. Tell them what makes them stand out.

-John Tolsma

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