DOES BRAGGING SHOW BAD FORM? MICHAEL RIEGEL
In the last few weeks, we hear a lot about notable deaths for the past year. It happens every year. There is great emphasis and sadness over those who passed away. At the time, there is some celebration of their life and contributions. The entire country of England shut down over the summer to mourn the death of Queen Elizabeth. I too watched the pomp associated with the royal send off and marveling at people waiting for hours to walk past her casket as she lay in state. In the retrospective, there always seem to be people on the list for whom we either forgot about, were unaware of, or surprised to learn about because we thought they passed years before. It struck me as odd that we so easily focus on the loss. The passing allows us to, if only briefly, acknowledge and celebrate the persons accomplishment and positive attributes. In construction, we regularly talk about the importance of capturing the “lessons learned” as a project is completed. Do we do it consistently, willingly, or effectively? Why is it so hard? We would all agree that it is important to document what went well and what went poorly (or not as well as hoped for). That way we can make sure we promote the approaches that led to positive results and avoid what caused challenges to success. Generally, we get to the end of a project and are so tired and worn down that we don’t want to have one more meeting or conversation – even if there is some celebration or opportunity to show pride in the success. For some, they don’t want to come across as boastful. In many cases, that has been replaced by the “humble brag” – praising someone else though the intent is to draw attention back to you. In the context of not waiting until a death to celebrate a life of contribution and, perhaps, shying away from self- promotion, I think we should re-define a brag. BRAG – belonging, recognition, acceptance, and gratitude. Belonging Though we might naturally focus on the losses we experience, there is great value in considering the people who have come into our lives in the past year. Recent reports indicate that world population has now exceeded 8 billion and continued growth is projected. There is always an opportunity to add to the communities we belong to and to find additional communities to join. The willingness to take a step back and look at community is important from a few perspectives.
Have I made my community as inviting as possible? How can I attract more people to my group? What would it mean to have a greater sense of belonging?
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