Sunday, May 31, 2009

The “Bravo Zulu” File – For a Job “Well Done”

One of the real treats in working at a large Port is the diversity of the vocational environment. The Harbour Master not only controls shipping in and out of the port, he’s also an inspiration behind sea terms. This is one I learned recently:

“Bravo Zulu is a naval signal, conveyed by flaghoist or voice radio, meaning ‘Well Done’... It can be combined with the “negative” signal, spoken or written NEGAT, to say ‘NEGAT Bravo Zulu,’ or ‘not well done.’”[1]
Now, here’s the rub. I heard Western Australian Baptist Ministries director, Ps. Mark Wilson, mention a few years ago that he kept an ‘encouragement file’ for all those times in his ministry when he felt discouraged--he could simply delve in there and be reminded pretty quickly of the times he had been appreciated. It was a confidence boost when he struggled for hope, as we all tend to do from time to time.

He encouraged everyone there that day to employ a similar thing for those times when we might need a boost. Even the award-winning Port at which I work gets a lot of complaints; employees can often become disheartened. The Harbour Master’s area has a “Bravo Zulu” file to balance the ledger.

Since Ps. Wilson’s talk, I’ve keep my own encouragement file within my MS Outlook at the office, which I now call the “Bravo Zulu” file. Being one to FAD[2] my email, they’re quickly filed in the right area, as recognition is made that this email, particularly, is special in nature. I’ll also often send a prayer of thanks for them in that moment.

I was going through my “Bravo Zulu” file during some spare time recently and I discovered that now I have over one hundred encouraging messages of feedback and thanks in there. That’s overwhelming.

In fact, this is now so overwhelming to me that it’s unlikely I’ll even need to go into it when required; just the thought that it exists will often be enough.

But it also beckons the thought... if I have this file, why would I not go through it every now and then and recharge the praise batteries; especially regarding both thanks to the people who’ve brought joy to my life, and for the joy and assistance I’ve brought to others’ lives.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
[1] “Bravo Zulu.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopaedia. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
[2] “FAD” stands for instantly File, Act on, or Delete emails as they come in.

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