Growing up, I received a trophy for every sporting season I participated in. As an athlete, it quickly adds up. The trophy I remember most was one I earned in 5th grade when I played in a summer 5 a-side soccer tournament with my older sisters soccer team. All those players were two or three years older then me. My dad told me that I would most likely be a substitute but I was soooooo excited to be asked to play with the big kids! I was also very nervous because all I wanted to do was play my best to impress them. I didn't want to be Karli Saathoff's little sister that couldn't keep up! So I played my very hardest and to everyone's surprise, even my own, we won the tournament. I was our teams leading scorer!
For winning the tournament we earned a team trophy verses individual trophies and I still remember the details clear as day. I assumed that like most teams, the coach would keep the trophy as memorabilia of the teams success. To my surprise, at the end of the tournament when all of the players were shedding their gear, the coach asked the teams permission to award the trophy to the teams MVP....he then looked at me and handed me the trophy; I was speechless!!! To this day, I remember the exact feeling that I felt when he handed it to me. I felt honored. I was proud of myself and the team.
I no longer have that trophy but the feeling I felt when I earned it will last a lifetime. As leaders or coaches we need to remind ourselves that it isn't about the gift or reward but how they feel when they receive it.
My challenge to you this week is for you to publicly recognize someone you know or work with for the value they add to the team. Help them feel special and vocalize how much you appreciate them. Remember, it isn't the gift or reward they will remember in 10 or 20 years but the feeling they had when they receiving it.