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Motivational speaker Jason Womack's 3-A formula

Here's a gift that's okay to give yourself. In fact, you should. It's the gift of accomplishment. Motivational speaker and author Jason Womack says this is a perfect week to remind yourself what you accomplished this year.

Make a list. Pat yourself on the back. But don't stop there.

Womack says that kind of self-inventory is just one of three gifts to give yourself. He suggests two more:

Acknowledgment.

Appreciation.

You might think, as I did when I interviewed Womack, that means getting praise from others. Not so. These, too, are gifts you can give yourself.

Acknowledgment, according to Womack, is recognizing the contributions that others make — your work team, your family, anyone who helps add value to what you do.

Recognizing your support structure reminds you that you're not completely alone.

Womack's gift of appreciation means that you extend expressions of gratitude, not that you wait for high-fives from someone else.

His is a classic motivational concept. Most people truly feel better when they stop obsessing about themselves and turn their hearts and minds to others.

Womack said he's well aware that his three-A formula is a bit Pollyannaish — a bit more "look on the bright side" than the norm.

But here's his justification:

"Self-talk occurs all the time. It's a matter of being positive instead of negative. Do you see yourself in a position of abundance or lack?"

Womack, who takes his show on the road and speaks to high-level work groups such as the Institute for Management Studies, admits that this kind of "directed thinking" runs afoul of many Americans' "Puritan ethic — 'Who am I to congratulate myself?' "

But the need for affirmation, for pats on the back, is fairly universal. So if the backslaps you crave aren't coming from others, give yourself permission to "replace default thinking with directed thinking," Womack said.

Even if you have to tie the ribbon yourself.

Motivational speaker Jason Womack's 3-A formula 12/30/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 5:32pm]

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