I believe one thing people want in life is respect. We want to feel valued, listened to, and called upon to do ordinary and extraordinary things. It is about self-worth, and it is about using our talents.
Respect is such a simple thing in concept. In practice, since other people are involved, respect gets more complicated. Self-interests are mixed in, so emotions and actions impact us in unexpected or adverse ways.
We cannot get distracted from who we really are and who we really want to be. After all, respect begins with self-respect, and this is the starting point in how to get and keep respect.
Practice 1: Engage self-respect.
We need to take care of ourselves first, meaning we need to:
- Expand our mind through learning and reading
- Improve our bodies through exercise and healthy eating
- Refresh our spirit through practices to center our soul and keep us on a purpose-filled path
Self-respect puts substance on our presence. It is not a one-time activity. It is a continuous flow of self-enhancement, self-awareness, and self-empowerment.
The point is self-respect needs to be at the core of how we gain respect in our community, workplace, family, and other places of interaction. Self-respect, however, is not arrogance. Arrogance rarely, if ever, inspires respect.
Practice 2: Exhibit strong humility.
Humility denotes self-confidence coupled with an understanding of place. By place, I mean we are not above others or certain standards. We hold ourselves accountable to a higher calling.
Humility is strength in who we are and what we are called to do while always being aware of how we fit into the world and support others around us. Yes, a long way to simply say “If you want respect, don’t put yourself above others in an inappropriate or superior way.”
Even better, as Kate Nasser recently pointed out in a blog post:
“Consider replacing the weak image of humility with a picture of its authentic strengths. Tapping others’ talents shows your confidence. Hearing others’ opinions expands your view. Celebrating the whole instead of yourself extends your reach.”
Practice 3: Be active in our real life community.
To gain and retain respect, we need to act. Respect is about doing good works and inspiring others. It is not about recognition; it is about helping out and lifting up others. Our actions will really determine what level of respect we have.
Our actions may include:
- Mentoring others in the workplace or mentor kids who don’t have a father (see The Mentoring Project)
- Volunteering at school
- Getting involved in a community project
- Starting a leadership group to raise insights
- Smiling and engaging people in conversations
- Doing something positive often!
Being active translates into doing more than the minimum at home, work, and community. Respect gains more traction and staying power when our work is demonstrated more fully in more places.
Practice 4: Make good, reputable choices in what we say and do.
Our choices reflect an image, and the image is truly us. It may be like a shadow as described by Lolly Daskal, which “lead us back to our purpose…” Our choices need to align with our purpose in living and leading.
The choices we make include the ones illustrating how we approach life and the ones made in the heat of a moment. In both, people will see our character in our life-long and split-second choices. Integrity in our choices will generate deeper respect.
A way to think of these four practices for getting and keeping respect can center on four core questions:
- Who are we? Leads to self-respect.
- How do we do things? Embraces humility.
- What do we do? Incorporates purpose-filled actions.
- Why do we do things? Inspires solid, positive big and small choices.
Each practice is intertwined. Good choices lead to stronger self-respect. Humility leads to strength in service and a more engaged community. The web of respect begins to extend, capturing the attention of others to weave their own threads of respect.
What practices do you embrace to get and keep respect?