The Greatest Compliment of My Life and Compliments to Give Your Co-workers

My wife and I were discussing the need for people to compliment each other at work. Not enough of us do it. With Thanksgiving coming along in a few days, I’m reminded of the importance of showing gratitude to our co-workers with a simple and honest compliment.

My favorite compliment of all time came from my senior year high school English teacher. My friend and I were leaving school after our last final when we took a quick peek into our English class to say goodbye. She looked up and smiled. We told her thanks for everything.

She looked at both of us then said to me,

“Karl, I’m never going to forget you.”

I struck a chord with her and she let me know. That one compliment has stuck with me fourteen years after it happened. It also shows me what I value – connections. I love connecting with people, so they don’t forget me.

Grab Your Chances

We have so many opportunities to give great compliments, but we rarely seize them.

We all love compliments, but don’t actively practice giving them. We get too caught up in our own crap and forget to thank the people who help make our job easier, fun or more creative. All we have to do is stay aware of a moment when someone deserves a compliment and seize the opportunity.

I’ve put together a list of 5 compliments that you could use at your job. They are:

  1. “Thank you for helping me with (insert project here). I couldn’t have done it without you.”
  2. “You are awesome because (insert thing they do well here).”
  3. “I never would have thought of that. Thank you.”
  4. “If I could buy you a full page ad in the newspaper touting your skills I would.” (might be a bit much, but I know that I would love to hear that one from my boss.”
  5. “Thanks for chipping in on the (insert task here).”

What is the greatest compliment anyone has ever given you and why? Let us know in the comment section.

Shout-Outs to Other Awesome Bloggers

I want to send three shout-outs to some fellow bloggers. The first compliment that I want to shout out right now goes to Lance of The Jungle of Life. He is awesome because he has been leaving a comment on many of my recent posts and gave me a LinkedIn recommendation. The second compliment that I want to give is to Marelisa of Abundance Blog – one of my favorite bloggers who has been leaving comments on this blog and answered my email question quickly. The third goes out to Barbara of Blogging Without a Blog. I love the community she has created. I wouldn’t have the following I have if it wasn’t for her.

My homework to you is to give a compliment to three people tomorrow. Let me know how it makes you feel. Does it brighten your day? Was it too much of a pain?

Articles Related to the Importance of Appreciation:

Image courtesy of Caro Wallis


  1. Hi Karl!
    What an honor – thank you very much for the compliment! I come here, and I comment because I want to add to the conversation – I’m not looking for a “thank you”. But, you know what, it felt great to come here tonight and really feel appreciated by the words you wrote – thank you Karl!

    And this reminds me of a time a little over a year ago. The company I work for had just moved into a new building – and coordinating and organizing the move of much of our equipment fell on my shoulders. It was a very big job, and consumed almost all of my time for the better part of six months, from planning to the actual move. Once we were moved in, we held a company-wide celebration. As part of that, and completely unexpected on my part – four people who were instrumental in the move were publicly recognized and presented with a plaque, myself included. And it felt really good to know that the time and effort I had put in were appreciated. That’s not something that happens everyday. That’s not something that happens enough. It doesn’t even have to be elaborate – it can be simple. It should happen much more!

    So, this is a great reminder for us all, Karl – to compliment those who do make a difference. And that’s my plan for tomorrow! You’ve inspired me!

    You’re awesome Karl!

    Lance’s last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

  2. Hi Karl: I see that you added the e-mail form 🙂 You’re right that it’s so important to show gratitude and complement others, and it makes both the complementor and the complementee (just made up two words) feel better. When I worked for the Panama Canal Commission there was something called “on the spot” awards, where your supervisor would hold a meeting in the morning out of the blue and give you an award (it could be a watch, $100, etc.) in front of the whole office without any prior warning when you had done something he/she wanted to commend you for. I loved getting those! Thanks for the shout out and for the link.

    Marelisa’s last blog post..30 Creativity Cards: A Gift I Made For You

  3. I think the greatest compliment you can give someone is your undivided attention. Too many times we forget to give compliments in our busy lives. A true compliment can go a long way!


    Miss MatchMaker’s last blog post..Getting what you want?

  4. Hi Karl – You’re way too kind. You most definitely would be have a great following with or without me. You’re work is what brings people here, as well as the gratefulness you show.

    My biggest compliment came when I worked for a Japanese company. I wrote the speeches and for the Vice President who couldn’t speak English very well. When the time came for his retirement, he asked me if I could write his “farewell” letter. I was honored, and did. Several weeks later, my boss (who was an Assistant Vice President)called me into his office. He told me that several of the “higher ups” had received the letter from the V.P.. They said they knew “he” didn’t write it, wanted to know who did, and wondered if they could save it and use it for when they retired. I was shocked and humbled.

    Complimenting others is very important. Too many times we get too busy and forget to think about others and what they might need. Often a smile or kind word can change their day.

    This post is a great reminder to show our gratefulness to others. Great job Karl. 🙂

    Barbara Swafford – Blogging Without A Blog’s last blog post..Twitter – Do You REALLY Care What I’m Doing

  5. Hi Karl,
    When I need assistance with a project at work, I go to the person with the expertise to answer my questions or provide direction. And I let them I went to them because of their knowledge. I’ll even mention it if someone else recommended him or her based on reputation, i.e. “Mary said you were really good at using this software.”

    When someone really makes an effort to help me with a problem, I have on occasion sent a follow-up email to the employee signed something like:

    President and CEO of the John Smith Fan Club

    (The guy beamed the next time he saw me and said “WOW – I didn’t even know I had fan club!”

    Marissa’s last blog post..YouTube – 1970s Levi’s commercial

  6. Karl,

    Too often at work we’re quick to critique and slow to praise. I have always followed the opposite model. As you pour good things into others, you receive good things in return. I always look for something nice to say even to strangers. It is a joy to watch someone’s face light up when you give them a compliment. I don’t hand our false platitudes but rather am always on the look out to find something good to say. At work, people are far more willing to work with you to solve problems and listen when there’s room for improvement when you have taken time to point out the good things. By the way, you do a fantastic job here of presenting strategies for people to lead a fulfilling life at work and home. I really appreciate what you do.

  7. Hi Marelisa, I love being recognized at work. A little appreciation goes a long way.

    Hi Lance, the simple compliments are usually my favorite.

    Hi Miss, a good listener will always have friends.

    Hi Barbara, that’s really cool that the other “higher ups” liked it too. It must have been a really good “farewell” letter.

    Hi Marissa, that’s a creative way of showing appreciation. I’m going to try that.

    Hi Karen, I love watching a person’s face light up from a compliment. It’s the cherry on top. And thanks for the compliment. This blog is my baby, watching it grow up has been awesome.