“Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary”

~ Margaret Cousins

Do you feel appreciated in your life? And are you an appreciator? Whether we’re getting or giving recognition, it feels good, and it makes a difference. When someone appreciates you, accept the recognition graciously. When you have the chance, recognize others with kind words or gestures.

Plus, it’s Valentine’s Day which is the perfect day to go forth and spread a little love through recognition. It can make a day, even change a life.


In this week’s Work-Life Recharge I share a conversation I had with Recognition Expert Sarah McVanel where we talk about the power of appreciation, learn about her F.R.O.G. Factor, and hear her take on how recognition can help us recharge our work and life.

Watch the video interview below, or read the transcript that follows! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hey, Michelle Cederberg here with a Valentine’s Day Work-Life Recharge, and I have been off the video for a while, but I’m super excited to get back on with my friend Sarah McVanel, talking about recognition.

Sarah McVanel is a good friend of mine from St. Catharines, Ontario. She is a recognition expert that is passionate about guiding each of us to rediscover our own greatness (I mean who couldn’t use more of that), and recognize the greatness in others.

Michelle: I’m so excited to have you here Sarah. Thank you for being here.

Sarah: Thank you Michelle. I absolutely love your work-life recharges and I share them with my folks all the time.

Michelle: Awesome! So, I’ve known Sarah for a few years now and her energy is absolutely contagious. And this whole recognition thing just connects with work-life recharge. (To me it does.) So I want to ask you Sarah, I talk about recharging work and life, and helping people get higher success-energy, so how does rediscovering your own greatness factor into that?

Sarah: Well, I don’t know about you Michelle, but when I’m not feeling the love for myself, when I’m not able to see what my greatness is, however it’s showing up, whether it’s in my family life, whether it’s in my contributions to the things that I’m most passionate about, in my community and causes, and certainly if I’m not feeling it in my career and business, I don’t really offer the best version of myself. Part of this is I love the concept that you offer with the success-energy. I think this is part of what fuels success-energy, is seeing our greatness, and standing in that power.

Michelle: All of us want to go to work and have “atta girls,” and “atta boys.” “You’ve done a great job Sarah,” “You’ve done a fantastic job Michelle.”  But that doesn’t always happen, does it?

Sarah: Well part of it, is not all of us work in environments where we actually see people to do that. I mean, you and I…

Michelle: …we’re both self-employed, we’ve got to sit in our own offices, and say “I’ve done so great.”

Sarah: Actually, but I will tell you, when I first started my business, (because I had originally no intention of starting my business), I all of a sudden completely re-shifted my life, and I realized very quickly I actually did need to be that “atta girl” for myself. And I actually created a beautiful spot in my office where I would write myself (painfully some days), one acknowledgement every single day until it became a habit. And it took about 6 months. Even though I was a recognition expert, it still took about 6 months.

Michelle: 6 Months?

Sarah: 6 months sister!

Michelle: So if you’re in a workplace environment, you do look for it from your co-workers, from your managers, and bosses, and you don’t always get it. So you’re saying, find it within.

Sarah: Totally! I mean why would you want to give over control of any aspect of your life to other people for one thing, if you don’t absolutely have to? I mean, I’m sure there are some circumstances in our life where it makes perfect sense that you’re not the one who’s responsible, but when it comes to your own happiness, your own managing of stress, your own health, why would you want to put that in anybody else’s hands if you don’t absolutely have to?  Self recognition is one way to do that.

Michelle: Because deep down, and I know every single one of my viewers know this, deep down you know what you’re awesome at. Deep down you know that you’re a good person, you know that you’ve got successes. So why wait till somebody tells you that? Just own it!

Sarah: Yeah own it! And a lot of the groups that I speak for (and you and I speak for similar audiences), a lot of healthcare people, and people who are sometimes compassion-fatigued, that can be burnt out, that they give so much of themselves to other people, that that’s part of what reduces their energy or their desire to do it. They feel that “my job is to give to other people,”  but then when you add on being a mom and a dad, and an aunt and an uncle, and a volunteer, and a board member, and all the other things that you’ve got to do in life, it’s just depleting as opposed to it being an empowering thing. So part of what I hope your viewers get (because you have so many rock stars who are giving so much to other people) is to remember it’s actually the least selfish thing that you can do by recognizing your own greatness because you actually can see and have the energy to recognize the greatness in other people who really depend on you.

Michelle: So what you’re saying, is that if you’re good at recognizing the greatness in yourself, you’re going to have more to give to others.

Sarah: It’s an absolute, indisputable fact, it’s validated in research and literature, and I write it out in my books…

Michelle: The F.R.O.G. factor!

Sarah: The F.R.O.G. factor. Exactly. My frog. This dude reminds me all the time to forever recognize others’ greatness, that’s my brand, but it’s also forever recognizing our greatness because that’s where it starts. We’ve got to frog ourselves. You haven’t lived until you’ve gone up to a perfect stranger and said “I need to frog you” and see their reaction. But we could do that for ourselves. When we’re having a bad day, you can whimsically look at yourself and go “girl, you’d best be frogging yourself right now.”

Michelle: What are some of the things that you do to frog yourself?

Sarah: Well you just have to pull down those humble pants some days. Walk around being humble, and shirking off compliments, it’s like a badge of honor. Sometimes it’s like, “yeah, you’re right.” “Yes you’re welcome,” “yes, I’m happy that you enjoyed that conversation.” “I’m glad it was helpful.”  Really own it. Right? When you do something for somebody that was generous, and that’s great, really own it. Accept compliments when they’re given to you because it happens all the time. You don’t have to…

Michelle: “Oh gosh, it was nothing.”

Sarah: “It was nothing!”  It was something!

Michelle: It was something! I always say this about praise: If people give it to you, they might be seeing something in you that they don’t possess in themselves and when we dismiss it, it’s like we’re saying “your gift isn’t worthwhile to me.”

Sarah: You’re also role modeling that being acknowledging of yourself is a bad thing. So if they’re struggling, the gift you give them is showing them that you can stand in that comfort of acknowledgement, so that they can then acknowledge themselves once they’re a little bit farther over their hump that they have come to to get some support from you.

Michelle: Ok, so if I’m having an “I don’t feel so great about myself day,” a couple of ways I can recognize my own greatness beyond looking in the mirror and saying: “Oh my gosh you rock” (which is a good thing.)…

Sarah: …look in the mirror for sure. I know some people put post- it notes on. Just a reminder you’re awesome! My kids would just take down my post-it notes so I don’t practice that, but you could. But hey, have your Michelle that you could phone up for support and encouragement. I actually I had that conversation with another speaker yesterday. She’s saying, “I know I’m beating myself up,” “I don’t know what’s going on with me today, but I’m just totally doubting everything” … Ok. Let’s talk about it for 15 minutes. So have the people who are on your team, and I know all your listeners have that. We’ve all got our team.

Michelle: We’ve all got our supports, our people to rally us.

Sarah: Right, right, exactly! And if somebody is not doing that for you, another choice that you have is you can defacto them from your life. You don’t have to actually have them in your life or as much in your life as they currently are. Some people I even see, they really dial back or change their social media habits, and what they choose to look at, and what they choose to put out there. That’s a reality that some people choose to manifest.

Michelle: Just so they feel better. I call it the “soul sucking, social media comparison trap.”

Sarah: Exactly. Or the opposite is that if you’re sitting there going like… (And I’m not saying you shouldn’t do that.) Hey, definitely check the soul sucking. (Anything that’s soul sucking.) Definitely check it. But why are you resentful that they’re putting something positive out there? Why don’t you share something positive? Like randomly sometimes I’ll be like, “you know what, I have the best husband in the world.”  Done. Nobody likes it? I don’t care because I know…

Michelle: And it makes you feel great. I have the best husband in the world too, so we’re lucky.

Sarah: I love that we’re in competition. That is a good competition to be in.

Michelle: So if there’s anything that you would want to share with my viewers as a final thought around recognizing your own greatness or recognizing the greatness in others, what would you say?

Sarah: I would just say, notice when you do it already. The number one thing is having a solution oriented approach, which is the approach that I use in life.  And again, it’s evidence-based, for those of you who have a very evidence-based practice to your profession. A solution-focused approach is looking at what’s already working first as opposed to trying to fix and change things that aren’t working. And look at where you are recognizing. Is it that you’re able to do that for your kids even when you’re not feeling resilient? Is it that, you give acknowledgement in your fitness class so people can keep on going with their fitness milestones? Notice when you aren’t so hard on yourself. Maybe you’re hard on yourself most of the time, but you weren’t hard on yourself with that one thing. Notice the things that are working for you

Michelle: That you’re already doing well because we tend to look at “I’m not very good at this,” “I’m not very good at that,” instead of “oh my god I already do rock in so many ways. “

Sarah: Exactly. So that can be on the big picture of “What I rock at in general”, or if people are really wanting to focus in on how they rock at recognition, you can even start there. Start at the smallest possible denomination of success, notice the success, and then scale out from there. You pick your medium. If you want to go big first, small first, medium first, whatever works for you.

Michelle: Small steps are good steps! And here’s the thing, it’s recognition, it’s good feelings, it’s happy thoughts, so why wouldn’t you want to spend more time in your day to recognizing your own greatness and recognizing the greatness in others? Where can people find you I they want more information?

Sarah: Well, of course, like you, I have a YouTube channel, so am thrilled for folks to be able to get a dose of recognition best practices every week ,and that’s what I’m all about is sharing those…  and interviews with rock stars like you (because you and I are going to do an interview too.) So that’s one thing.

My website’s greatnessmagnified.com so I’m thrilled for you to come and check out our community there.

And hey, I’m on lots of social media too so I’d love to have conversations with people who are all about your success-energy. (Find Sarah on Twitter here and on Instagram here.)

Michelle: Sarah McVanel, Greatness Magnified, it’s always great to chat with you. You can see why I like her. Her energy is infectious. Until next time, I’m Michelle Cederberg, helping you transform your work and life, one success-energy recharge at a time.

Michelle Cederberg, MKin, BA Psyc

Certified Speaking Professional (CSP)
Certified Exercise Physiologist (CEP)
Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC)
ORSC Trained Team Coach

Live Energetically ~ Do Work You Love ~ Get the Most Out of Life


Twitter: @4worklifeenergy
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LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/michelle-cederberg-21013b3/