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Trojan Today: “Compliment to Change: A Thirty Day Trial” by Jodie Pearson

“Love and respect you so!” is how the email ended. It was completely unexpected but certainly not surprising when an email from a longtime colleague and friend ended this way.

What happened to me in that very moment? My world stopped while I was overcome with a flood of wonderful feelings. Then in a quick flash, I began reflecting on all that I have worked so hard to accomplish in my career. I reflected on the person who said that to me, thinking of her unmatched leadership in our industry, her role as the springboard to my learning everything dental. And then I came back to the present. Wow. This person had these five words on her mind and didn’t keep her message a secret. What a gift!

The assignment, Psych 1:

  1. Extend three genuine compliments a day for 30 days. That makes 90 compliments.
  2. Record the compliments.
  3. Record to whom compliments were extended.
  4. Record their reactions.

The professor warned us: “It can change lives.”

Of the several people I targeted, one was a co-worker. As far as I was concerned, this co-worker was always making mistakes, which made coming to work kind of miserable. But today was the day to follow the directions of the assignment. However hard this would be, I was going to ace this assignment!

Since I needed to extend three genuine compliments a day.  I began to search for things the co-worker was doing right. I would then mention them, thank her, and pull out my little journal to record. The professor warned us this could change lives, and boy was he right. I was shocked!

Looking back, I’m a little ashamed at how I felt about this person; I was truly hard-pressed to think positively about her. Until I was given this assignment, I never imagined that a relationship could so radically change. What happened? My co-worker began asking me how she could help with this and that, asking me if this was right or wrong. I remember feeling like this assignment turned into a gift for both of us. Our working relationship literally transformed into a great collaborative effort, and I could not wait to report back to the class!

Imagine what could happen in the workplace and in our personal worlds. Complimenting someone is certainly not a new concept, but what if we were intentional about it? What if we applied this to our clients and team members or friends and family members?

And what about our patients? Don’t they deserve to be complimented for a job well done? Let’s say the patient is waiting to see the dentist and out of the blue, you walk into the room, sit down, look your patient in the eye, and say something like, “You know John, I’ve been meaning to tell you something. We know coming to the dentist isn’t the most favorite thing people do, but you really contribute to making our jobs enjoyable here. You’re always on time, you’re always kind to everyone, and you always come prepared to take care of any necessary business. I just wanted you to know that you are one of our favorite family members.” Perhaps John understands the importance of presenting himself to the world in this way, which is why he does it, but no one has ever acknowledged him for it.

Let’s not be so busy that we can’t say something nice to someone or even pass along a message that someone told you something nice about another person.

“Love and respect you so!” Treasured words. Treasured memories. You’ll never know how sharing your thoughts can affect someone else if you’re not keeping secrets. Go ahead. I challenge you to pick someone today.

Jodie Pearson is a member of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants


Click the links below to read more from Jodie:

Perception is 9/10 of the Law 

Converting New Patients to Patients of Record




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