Productivity Tips from Dr. Melissa Gratias
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I am so proud of myself! I’m not sorry.

By Melissa Gratias, Ph.D. 

I was on a call with a client yesterday, and she was trying to tell me that she almost doubled her sales over quota last month.


But she didn’t just say, “I made 190% of quota last month!”


She stammered the following sentence fragments first:

  • “I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging, but…”
  • “I mean, I’m really good at what I do, but…”
  • “You know, it’s just the first month of my new job and all, but…”


I am her coach. I am the person to whom it is safe to say almost anything. Yet, she still felt the need to temper the news of her success.


Although this is the most recent example, my conversation with her is not at all unique or infrequent in my work with clients.


Are there gender norms, religious beliefs, and socio-economic forces at work here? Most likely, but that’s not what this post is about.


Part of being productive is the ability to recognize when you have done well! How are you going to repeat the good behaviors when you are scared to talk about them?


I am beyond proud of myself right now.


I was hired to participate in a documentary called, Dear {first_name}: A business case against digital pollution. The film was released on YouTube. It is amazing! It looks like a Netflix documentary.


A digital communication disruptor, BombBomb, engaged experts, salespeople, and executives to talk about the effects of unwanted emails. Please watch it! It illustrates a point I have been trying to make for the past 15 years – email is out of control.


Not only did they beautifully edit my contributions into the final documentary, but they also released a separate video of my interview – just me and my thoughts on the email problem.



Watching my full interview, I had to take deep breaths. I wanted to criticize my appearance – like really, really wanted to. In fact, it is hard NOT to outline my physical flaws as I write this post. This is yet another way we try to diminish our successes.




I was awesome. I was engaging, insightful, and I knew my stuff. I was a total rock star in this video. Yay, me!


What is this so hard, though???


Appreciative Inquiry


In a prior blog post, I mentioned an organizational development methodology called Appreciative Inquiry. I learned about it in the late ‘90s. To summarize and oversimplify the approach, you…


  1. Look for, value, and appreciate what works in your organization
  2. Envision the possibilities that can emerge from these best practices
  3. Innovate the organization by building on these good things


Contrast Appreciative Inquiry with the traditional problem-solving approach in organizations where you…


  1. Identify a flaw
  2. Analyze its causes
  3. Brainstorm solutions
  4. Implement a plan to fix it


Appreciative Inquiry is not mind blowing to you, I’m sure. Strengths-based development is huge right now. Gratitude is huge right now. Positive Psychology is huge right now. These are all wonderful approaches that remind us we are not simply “flaws in need of fixing.”


However, the fact that we humans need to be continually reminded that we are not sludge is annoying.


I completely agree with:

  • Continuous improvement…
  • Physician, heal thyself…
  • When you know better, do better…


But we must also give ourselves permission to say things like: “I am doing better!”, “I am fantastic!”, “I totally ROCKED that.”


And we can say those things to other people. Without caveats. Without apologies.


So, people, for the record, “I totally rocked this documentary.”

The post I am so proud of myself! I’m not sorry. appeared first on Melissa Gratias.

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In today's world, kids are often as over committed as adults. They feel pressured to participate in every activity from sports to dance to social clubs. Seraphina Does Everything! helps children understand that life isn't all about doing. It's also about being! 

The Crazy Productive eBook series is designed to help you prioritize, address time challenges, and master your information. It is available by PDF download and on Kindle. Buy the series and you will receive all six books (120+ pages of content) at a discounted price.

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